CNS Versus Muscular Fatigue - Are You Planning Your Workouts Correctly?

More and more people are starting to really understand the concept of overtraining when it comes to their workout programs and are realizing that if they don’t give their muscles enough time to rest in between each workout session, they aren’t going to progress.

If you work a muscle hard in the gym, then proceed to go in there again before it’s had a chance to recover and hammer it again with heavy weights, rather than that muscle getting stronger, it’s going to get weaker.

You are literally breaking down muscle tissues when you are lifting weights, so if they are fully repaired and you lift again, they break down further and you get weaker. Definitely not what you’re going for.

So, for that reason, you’re now making sure that you have at least 48 hours of rest before you work each body part once again to ensure that you’re only getting stronger in the gym. That is, why you’re there, of course.

Now, one factor that many people overlook in all of this though is CNS fatigue.

CNS Fatigue

CNS fatigue can be just as detrimental to your results and muscular fatigue.
Essentially, each and every time you hoist a weight into the air, you are putting stress on your CNS. How much stress will be directly related to the intensity of the session - with weight lifting, total sets, total reps, and length of rest periods all being factored into the equation.

Some workouts will be incredibly demanding on the CNS while others won’t be nearly as so.

That said, big problems start to occur when you are putting demanding workouts back to back to back. Too many in a row and it’s not going to matter if you’ve had those 48 hours of rest in between your workout sessions, you aren’t going to feel strong and you certainly aren’t going to be making any personal bests.

This is one big reason why some individuals who choose to do body part splits (chest on Monday, legs on Tuesday, shoulders on Wednesday, and so on) aren’t seeing the process they should be.

Even though they are getting that 48 hours of rest between sessions for each muscle group, they are not allowing that CNS time to recover, hence they’re still in a state of overtraining.

Building muscle mass while you are overtrained is going to be virtually impossible.

Warning Signs

How can you tell if you’re overtraining or on the verge of overtraining your CNS?

Look out for these symptoms:

  • decreased desire to train

  • decreased libido

  • change in appetite levels

  • increased frequency of colds or other illnesses

  • high injury rate

  • difficulty concentrating

  • lack of workout progress

  • intolerance to high stress loads

  • frequent headaches

  • feeling ‘fuzzy brained

So, if you’re finding yourself experiencing any of these symptoms, it might be time to have a good look at your overall training plan. Are you allowing enough total rest (and by that I mean staying out of the gym entirely) in your program?

If not, it might be time you did. Always keep in mind that your making the most gains when you’re actually out of the gym - that’s when the body is rebuilding and growing stronger.