What Unpredictable Performance Really Means
Have you ever had weeks where you seem to lift flawlessly one day yet struggle to get even one good rep just a few days later?
You probably chock it up to fatigue (CNS or otherwise), but that may not be the only explanation. I’m taking Motor Development this semester and we’ve recently been discussing how motor learning isn’t a linear process at all. Skill acquisition typically occurs in steps with multiple periods of regression, and performance can therefore vary greatly from one day to the next. Perhaps this explains Christina Aguilera’s butchering of our national anthem at the Super Bowl…
In infants, heightened variability in performance actually reflects periods of development. Whether the same can be said for Ms. Aguilera, I don’t know…But there are parts of our nervous system that don’t fully develop until we are well into our 30s; SO, it just might be the case that the variability we sometimes witness in our training signifies improvements soon to come.
What does this mean? Well, we could actually reap the most benefits during the times when we think we should walk away. But if we can avoid getting frustrated and recognize when our brains are prime for learning movement, we can use this information to our advantage.
The simple solution: Keep at it, but lighten your load so you can perform your lifts exactly how you want them ingrained. Then, practice, practice, practice until you become a master of technique. Your ego might take a hit in the interim, but you just might speed up your progress in the long run.
Filed under: strength training