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Started By subseven (New York, NY, U.S.A.)

Started on: 1/11/2005 11:54:08 AM, viewed 6555 times
Is it true that neural gains preceede hypertrophy?


I have been reading in a variety of places that when one begins a new exercise program, he first develops neural efficiencies and gains muscle size only when those neural adaptations have slowed down or stopped. I was wondering if this is just a hypotheses or a tested scientific observation.

IMO the implications are significant. I can ramble on and on but just to give you an idea: This may be a good reason not to change workouts/exercises, since every time you switch to a new exercise you will have some new neural learning to do (and possibly put size gains on hold for a while???).

Thanks a lot

This Topic has 107 Replies: Displaying out of 107 Replies:

Analyzer (CDA, id, U.S.A.) on 1/11/2005 12:32:13 PM

Yes, it is true. Neural gains predominate for the first few weeks, then hypertrophy joins in. Neural gains never stop. Once you are coordinated with an exercise, your training methods determine the ratio of neural to hypertrophic gains after that.

We′ve talked about this idea a bit before on here also, that switching exercises could cause one to keep re-learning. It seems there would be a window though.

If one alternated exericses, they would be fine as you would still be doing them often enough to keep your coordination

If one changed very infreuqently, you′d be sticking with them long enough to make some hypertrophic gains

BUT, if one switch exercises every 3-4 weeks, you′d really slow down the gains.

People who try different routines all the time usually get stuck in this trap. Different exercises and rep ranges all the time, never sticking long enough to mount some gains up.


subseven (New York, NY, U.S.A.) on 1/11/2005 5:37:02 PM

Great, that is a wonderful piece of information, clarifies a lot of things in my mind. Do we by any chance know how much of a change would require relearning? If one switches from bench press to a chest press machine some relearning appears inevitable, but what if we only switch from one chest press machine to another? Would that still be a significantly different neural pattern?

And much more importantly… Is there a frequency beyond which we start to "forget" the movements and have to -at least to some extent- relearn them every time we do them. COuld this be the reason we don′t grow when we train each muscle only once every 2-3 weeks?

As always much appreciated Analyzer.


Analyzer (CDA, id, U.S.A.) on 1/11/2005 6:10:28 PM

Hey subseven Your welcome 🙂

I have never seen anything on time periods or variations and how much learning would need to be done. I guess all we know is the longer we go, the more our CNS ′forgets′ and the longer we train ′the more we learn′. The only thing I can say is we must not completely forget neural patterns otherwise we′d fall off a bike if we didn′t ride them all the time. But even after 20 years we can still ride and we seem to get back our coordination quicker.

From what I′ve seen though, neural gains last longer than physical gains, personally, I beleive too low of frequency causes gains to be MORE neural and less hypertrophic.

Take care!


smanjh (somewhere in, the USA, U.S.A.) on 1/11/2005 6:50:50 PM

I can say by expierience, and as you can see, my spelling = garbage:), but lemme give you my scenario:

Ok, I started doing deadlifts a while back, and I was stuck at 308 for 4 reps or so the first time I tried them. So, the whole week between I practice the movement, then, the next time, I was able to get it for ten reps! Now, this isnt a huge improvement, or as huge as it looks. I am already very strong, yet, the knowledge of the lift is what helped me. Now, within 4 weeks, no bs, I was at 485 for a single. That was totally due to learning the movement.

Another example: I forwent the nautilus chest fly for dumbell flies, and when I went back I was able to raise the weight a full ten pounds.

I belive the movements have a learning curve, and based on leverage, you tendon/muscle atatchments will equal out the effectivness of a particular excersise.

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