how lifting weights affects the nervous system



You see, even though you may be able to lift more after a few weeks at the gym, you might not see any visible muscle growth at the same time. However, do not be discouraged. Your body simply strengthens the connections between the brain and the motor neurons of our muscles above all else. The better the brain can activate motor neurons, the more the muscle contracts and the more strength you will see. Once these pathways are strong enough, you’ll start to see that muscle growth that so many weightlifters crave.

Interestingly, the study showed that it is actually the evolutionary pathway of the spinal cord, usually associated with maintaining posture, rather than the primary pathway, which we generally think of as the driving force behind complex movements, that becomes stronger. What this means in real life is that a few months of weight training will strengthen the specific systems responsible for preparing and controlling our bodies. This will have benefits both in and out of the gym in terms of balance and posture.

Woman in gym holding kettlebell
Strength training: “the idea that strength training slows your growth retains very little weight”

“These results are not only relevant for bodybuilders who apply for a new PB,” says Dr. Glover. If we understand the neural mechanisms of force, then we can begin to think about how to help people with loss of strength, such as a stroke.

Overall, this shows that the benefits of strength training don’t really end. It can make our brains, bodies, and spirits stronger and more resilient, so if you’re impatient to see visible results, remember: your body is doing magic behind the scenes.

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Image credit: Getty


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