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How Does Central Nervous System Monitoring Fatigue Impact Performance?

Updated: Mar 28

"Hey, coach I feel soo drained lately what can I do to fix this?"

The first misconception is that it doesn’t really matter if an athlete is fatigued. Fatigue is fatigue and it is frustrating seeing coaches have this misconception that because the muscle group is fine and the fatigue is all in the nervous system you can still train it. Just because a muscle is not sore doesn’t mean it’s fine.

Believe it or not, the Central Nervous System more commonly known as the CNS takes a battering when you train.

Why is this?

CNS fatigue results in a decrease in motor unit recruitment, firing rates and synchronisation. Although it is not clear where this break down occurs, it could be somewhere between the CNS or in the PNS (Peripheral Nervous System).

The ability to experience this or not is down to the individual, based on a number of factors such as frequency of training, load intensity and the physical

demands placed on the body. Example: Heavy weight lifting places a higher demand of motor unit recruitment vs cardiovascular medium intensity cycling. This does not mean you will not experience any fatigue just different levels of it.

What do I do?

The best way to overcome fatigue is to monitor the following areas;



Two key factors that if controlled correctly will enable your recovery to speed up and reduce the stressed placed on the CNS.

How do I apply this to my training?

To reduce the effects of CNS fatigue, we can do a number of things but the most important is to use longer rest periods between sets and prioritize the most important exercises by placing them first in a workout.

The importance of doing this is because CNS fatigue will occur after each set in the workout, and it will accumulate gradually with each additional set.

For further information on other areas related to this topic feel free to send me a message.

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