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ForzaCavaliere

Neuromuscular strength gains vs muscle mass

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ForzaCavaliere

Strength comes from efficiency of the nervous system and cross-sectional area of the muscles involved (mass). 

 

Gymnasts, while pretty muscly, get most of their strength from neuromuscular efficiency (?). 

 

What is it in their training that makes it so they gain more efficient motor systems rather than muscle mass? Is there a way to train for one or the other (exclusively)?

 

If I am wrong in my initial statements please tell me. 

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DiTi

gymnasts train with high intensity and low volume for example they do 5 sets of 2-3 reps with 85-90% intensity this makes them stronger without adding muscle mass. if you want to gain muscle mass than you should be training with 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps this is called high volume training and this is what bodybuilders use

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Connor Davies

Although it's true that gymnasts train for maximal strength, their routines can last up to 60 seconds, which is significant time under tension.  Hence the giant shoulders.

 

Part of it is the fact that they train full body exercises as opposed to isolating muscles.  So they're very much training their entire system to work together, as opposed to artificially inflating composite pieces.  This is where the neuromuscular efficiency comes from.

 

Also, with bodyweight it's harder to fine tune the loading parameters like it is with a barbell.  Whether it's a curl or a deadlift, you can always add another small increment of weight.  With 'progressive calisthenics' you can either perform the next progression, or you cannot. 

 

And while barbell movements will always be the same (a squat is always a squat) as you get stronger in GST the movements tend to become more complex.  I'm not saying you can't build efficiency in the movement patterns of barbell training (indeed, it's a very good thing to get good at deadlifts and squats) but when you compare getting good at a handful of exercises to getting good at hundreds of exercises, you can see how gymnasts would require a much greater mind-muscle connection.

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Keilani Gutierrez

you had most of the truth in the first post you made. 

 

they use levers and create strength in certain shapes with progressively loading the levers

 

it's kind of like constrction small bricks that eventually make a very dense and sturdy wall

 

the bricks themselves are small (doing hollow holds, dips, pushups, rear leg lifts, pistol squats, handstands, bridges) but once laid and shapes that can be carried over are worked on constantly and from different dimensions(compare a handstand, front lever, planche, manna & side lever) all of them hit the trunk from various angles in various shapes.

the exact science, i don't have the numbers or studies, this is only an observation(and i'm open to being wrong or misinformed at any point in my education), you are right in observing that it's neuromuscular as much as it is structural. (which is kind of like saying, inside out and outside in.)

 

each position is pretty simple(depending on where you're level is and how you view the exercises) yet highly valuable. which sounds a lot like wishful thinking or "mystic" teaching, yet for some odd reason my L-sit has improved in leaps and bounds from working on hollow holds, basic compression skills, basic straight arm strength and some pulling strength and endurance. 

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ForzaCavaliere

Thank you for the insightful comments.

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