Physical Culture

CNS Stimulation – A New Direction

The Width is Getting There!

After last week’s deload week, it was time to introduce a brand new stimulus to keep the body guessing and (hopefully) progressing.  What it takes to fool your body into further progress varies.  For some, it might mean changing up your entire workout program, and for others it might mean just switching up the rep range.  One concept I took away from reading Keith Norris’ blog Theory to Practice , was the importance of CNS stimulation.  I’ve spent most of my training-life training with low reps and heavy weights, training the CNS to recruit more of the muscle to move the weight.  In this way, one can gain lots of strength with very little muscle gain.  I’ve never thought of training the CNS as a means to gain muscle, but then I’ve never trained using the protocols suggested by Christian Thibadeau in his workout program I, Bodybuilder.

The program combines fast, explosive lifting with low rep ranges and auto-regulation to cut a workout off just in time to preserve the CNS and maximize recovery.  This CNS saving allows me to train a given bodypart three times a week without feeling like I’m overtraining.  I decided to give this program a shot to see if the claims of radical hypertrophy were warranted.   I just started this week on the “Shoulder” phase, and will be sharing my results and observations on this blog.

My first few observations are:

  • The sessions are quick and intense.  I like the intensity and I love being in and out of the gym and getting home to recover.
  • Its fun and gratifying to explosively lift heavy weights.  I dont’ get to enjoy the feeling of a massive pump, but there’s something primal and caveman of tossing seriously heavy weight around.
  • At times its hard to do the many supersets and 4 exercise circuits that are called for in the program due to other gym-goers.  My solution has been bringing multiple workout towels and leaving them on the machines I”m using.  The up-side is that the workouts are so short, you aren’t hogging up half the gym for long.
  • The exercise is full of weird movements and the rep ranges are so abbreviated you WILL get odd looks.
  • The layout of my gym isn’t conducive to the exercise pairings.  I end up having to jog from machine to machine, often after only 2 reps.  This also earns some odd looks, haha.

Lastly, this first week I feel as though I haven’t dialed in the correct poundages for the exercises.  On some I’ve used too little and some too much.  I will finish out this week but consider it a wash and just repeat this cycle for three weeks instead of two.

The diet, as always, remains Paleo/Primal.  I’m sticking with the 2,000 cal range until it stops producing results.

Looking forward to seeing some results!


6 thoughts on “CNS Stimulation – A New Direction

  1. Awesome, I look forward to tracking your progress. I too am lifting in a Thibadeu/Norris type way, just not following the Thibadeu routines yet. Your progress will let me know if I should start the exact workouts he recommends.

    Great blog by the way. Always nice to see another paleo exercise enthusiast.

  2. Just found your site. It looks like there’s some pretty interesting stuff on here. I’m always looking for a new angle too. By the way… welcome to Ft. Worth. I’m a long time resident of the area.

    • Welcome to the site Clint! I haven’t updated in quite some time, but I’m going to get back into the swing of things going forward. I hope you return often.

      Thanks also for the welcome to Fort Worth. I’m definitely enjoying the area, and I’m especially glad that it’s starting to warm up here.

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