The Synapse: The Power of Contraction

In order to get more stimulation and growth out of a muscle it is important to establish more capallaries. Increasing the number of capallaries within a muscle will ultimately provide more energy and improved synaptic transmission. Through exercise it is possible to increase new capillaries with a muscle. A neuron cannot activate more than the total number of muscle fibers it innervates. In some cases the the stimulation is not strong enough to activate all of the muscle fibers. However, if the stimulation is powerful enough and constant, the neurons are capable of shooting a domino effect stimulation.

Here’s how it works.

When the nerve is activated the impulse travels from the brain to the central nervous system and out to the nerve cells attached to the muscles. Think of this like a long fuse attached to a stick of dynomite. When the fuse is lit it travels down to the TNT. Then there is an explosion! This is much like a snyapse, when the nerve impulse travels down the line it ends up igniting a powerful reaction to the muscle fibers.  In electrical terms this is known as arcing. How neurons are activated is by their axons and dendrites. The electrical charge from one nerve ends up at the axon and transfers to adjancent axons that are close in proximity. The impulse goes from the axon to the dentrites of another neuron. The greater the synaspe the more arcing is established. Think of it like this. Have you ever been to a fair and you took a huge hammer and hit the lever to make the ball go up onto a pole. The higher the ball went the more points you would get. If you swing the hammer down on the lever without much force then impulse (ball) would only go a few feet up on the pole. The harder you hit it, the higher the ball would travel. This is how activation of muscle tissue occurs. If the impulse (synaspe) is weak then the activation of its muscle fiber innervation is weak. If the impulse is strong, from lifting more intensely, then the innervation of muscle fibers is great. By gaining control of your neuro-muscular system and controlling the rep and intensity cycles you will make gains faster.

In order to gain control of the synapse you must be able to contract the muscle. If you cannot flex a particular muscle chances are you will not be able to develop that area. Flex your arm, most people can make a bicep muscle tight. Now contract the right lower part of your latissimus dorsi (back). Can you make it hard? or does it remain soft? If you can contract it you can build it. The synapse to the area is weak if the area is soft during contraction. You must think of this every time you train. Every time you lift weights and make a contraction you have to think of the synapse and make it as intense as possible. If you are in a full contraction and the muscle is soft then you are not getting enough stimulation, therefore, you are not getting anything out of the exercise. In order to build the muscle you must establish a powerful contraction. This powerful contraction is stimulated by an electrical charge derived by the brain to deliver a huge synaptic signal to the muscle. If the transmission is weak then the contraction will be weak. This is why lifting too light of weight will not produce anything. You are working way below threshold. You must increase the intensity to activate greater stimulation. Every time you train, every rep, think of the muscle as a stick of dynomite and you are trying to blow up the area with an intense surge of electricity. This is how I train. I think of every rep as my last and work the hell out of the muscle. I leave nothing left behind. I get as much stimulation as I possibly can.

Try this. Next time you do a bicep curl have someone touch your bicep when you are in peak contraction. Is it soft? If so you have lost the synapse and are not getting anything out of the exercise. But if it is hard then you are getting it done, and are blasting new growth patterns.

Remember, we want to create new growth patterns to develop more muscle tissue. Powerful synaptic impulses are crucial for increasing the neurons. The more muscle fibers that are innervated, the more capallaries that are present. The more capallaries the more nutrients can be delivered to feed the newly acquired muscle. My mouth waters just thinking about how I am going to attack today’s workout. I am ready to make my chest explode with delight. I love creating as much stimulation as possible.

Daryl Conant, M.Ed

tags: building muscle, synapse, nutrition, diet earth, Vince Gironda, Ron Kosloff, Daryl Conant, Patriots, Jets, DOlphins, Colts, strength and conditioning.