Nervous System Recovery

I havent been taking too many days off lately but i usually split up my workout so i am giving each muscle group about 5 days to recover which i have found to be plenty for me. i’m not sure if this gives the nervous system enough time to recover though since it takes longer than muscular system. is there any way to tell if i am overtraining my nervous system or any signs that i should watch for?

OK- your resting your individual muscles 5 days-How many days COMPLETLY off per week-not lifting?? Many guys lift 6-7 days per week with the beleif thier muscles are being rested but forget about other systems besides muscular. Signs of over-training-- loss of strength,loss of muscle,feeling tired,catch colds easily,injuries,don’t feel like going to gym,loss of appetite,normal sleeping patterns have changed.Bigger muscle groups require more time to recover(back,quads,hams)than smaller muscle groups(bicep,tricep,calves,abs).Explosive lifting and prolonged negatives require longer rest periods. Hope this helps!!

Nic, you need to give us a little more info on your routine. In the meantime, here’s a quick summary on how the nervous system initiates a contraction of muscle fiber.

Your brain produces impulses which travel through the spinal cord, axon (a single branch off one neuron located in the spinal cord), and finally the neuromuscular junction which activates something called the sarcolemma. The result of this activation is a release of calcium. All sorts of chemical reactions take place (the breakdown of adenosine triphosphate and so forth), with the amount of calcium being the limiting factor in how close to full force contraction the “twitch” comes. If calcium is not available, the muscle relaxes.

The point here is that what specifically “fatigues” is somewhat questionable. Some would argue that “neural fatigue” is determined in the brain (less frequent impulses), while I have heard others try to convince me that what actually occurs is a reduction in the amount of available ATP, the amount of the specific enzyme which initiates the breakdown of ATP, or both.

Either way, the "replenishment" of whatever is fatigued, whether it be specifically related to the brain and spinal cord or not, takes quite a bit longer than the recovery of the actual muscle tissue.

I personally believe that fatigue occurs in all of the above areas, both at the neuromuscular junction and in the brain. And as you could guess, all sorts of bad things could happen if your BRAIN is overtrained, such as inability to concentrate, depression, disruption of your circadian rythm, etc… You
DON’T want to tamper with this. Whether or not you are specifically overtraining the nervous system depends on many many variables, the most important of which are the intensity and volume of your workouts. Get back to me with more specifics and I’ll give you some more direct feedback.