26 Jun How To Get Physically Stronger (A Scientific Approach To Strength)

Motor UnitHow do you get stronger?

The answer is a little scientific, but it’s the real answer the question.

The simple explanation is that we recruit more muscle fibers through deliberate “practice.”

You have to understand that the central nervous system (CNS) is critical in strength development.

We get stronger by increasing the firing potential of our motor neurons and motor units.

A motor neuron is essentially a nerve from the CNS that connects or innervates a muscle.

A single motor neuron may innervate many muscle fibers and there’s a cellular mechanism that occurs to activate the muscle (which makes the muscle contract).

The motor neuron and all the muscle fibers that are innervated are called the motor unit.

If we can influence the firing of the motor unit, we get stronger.

The real question is, how do we do that?

This answer is relatively simple, as well.

First, we train with heavier loads.

To get strong, we train strong.

There’s a little more science to it, of course.

But, if you understand the motor unit, the key here is to optimally recruit the motor unit firing.

Here’s how that works.

Strong athletes appropriately activate their muscular systems to increase the firing patterns through neural adaptation.

This is saying that strength truly is a skill.

It’s a skill that can be trained and developed by anyone with proper training.

This is really important to understand because strength can be acquired through practice, just like anything else.

The more we “practice” our techniques and the skills of strength, the stronger we will become.

Specifically, the more we can recruit our muscular system with techniques such as increased muscular tension, we will be increasing our motor unit activation, which will build strength over time by neural adaptation (increasing the efficiency of our nervous system).

This is a really amazing concept, to tell you the truth.


Because we are literally “programming” our bodies to get stronger.

There is no doubt that strength training can be considered a neuromuscular program to enhance our gross motor activities.

We are conditioning our nervous and muscular systems for strength development over time.

If we want to get stronger, we must generate large numbers of motor unit activation and have them fire at an optimal level.

If you understand this concept, you are your way to superior strength.

Using the concept of neural adaptation is how we get stronger and can produce an output that approaches our maximal strength potential.

Another important point is that with increased force and power production, the firing rate of the motor units are increased.

So, not only does the number of motor units increase, but the rate at which they fire increases, which also contributes to maximal force production.

And, finally, there is some evidence that if the motor units fire in synchronization, this can contribute to maximal strength development.

In simple terms, the bottom line to all this is that strength enhancement is a result of conditioning our central nervous system (CNS) to develop the improved firing and communication between our muscular systems.

The practical application to this is to recognize that strength truly is a skill that can be developed and improved by practice.

Use proper technique, apply the principles of muscular tension, and consciously condition your body to generate more muscle fiber recruitment.

These are some of the ways to “practice” the skill of strength.

Recognizing this skill is the single biggest step you can take in getting stronger.

Again, the “take away” message is this.

If we want to get stronger, we need to recruit more of the muscle fibers with optimal firing patterns.

This is the simple science of how we become physically strong.

Hope this helps and if you like this, please share it.

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