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Nervous, Nervous, Nervous

Every wondered why exercise routines have planned rest breaks or why those rest days are a good idea?

The culprit isn't muscles in need of repair; studies show that muscles are ready to be worked again within 36 hours of a training session. Look inside and consider the central nervous system (CNS).

When you get under that bar, grab that pulley or lift that dumbbell, your CNS signals your muscles to fire. Single joint movements like bicep curls and leg extensions are pretty light on the CNS. Complex movements like deadlifts, squats and barbell rows make much larger inroads into the CNS reserves. In a surprising twist, new trainees don't tax their nervous systems as much, regardless of the weight used. Why? Their bodies haven't learned to fire its muscles efficiently. The more efficient your CNS works, the greater the level of excitability.

Stimulants (caffiene, yohimbine & ephedrine to name a few) and psychological arousal techniques (yelling, slapping, etc.) increase CNS stimulation as well.

How do you work around CNS overload?

Schedule rest days after compound leg exercises like leg press, squats or deadlifts.

Consider placing upper body exercises before any lower body work

Cycle your use of stimulants; take 2-3 days off for every 5 days of use.