'I want to become stronger'
'I want to burn body fat'
These are a couple of terms that are often thrown around for individual goals in the weight room. Yet, it is often seen that people are not utilizing all technical aspects of an exercise before increasing time, volume, or loading more weight on an exercise.
Foot placement, driving through the heels, keeping the core braced, and having a strong grip; these are just a few technical aspects of an exercise.
Having a strong grip will increase your strength instantly. Without our grip, we can't pick up a heavy object or move anything for that matter.
Without diving too deep into the science of motor unit recruitment and firing frequency, the better you can utilize your motor units, the stronger your grip will be.
In our body, the central nervous system is what increases the strength or tension of a muscle contraction. By doing so, the number of motor units and firing frequency are increased.
Both the number of motor unit recruitment and firing frequency happen at the same time. As we grip an object and apply more force, more motor units are recruited while the firing frequency happens to follow and increase at the same time. Once all of our motor units are recruited in contracting a muscle, the firing frequency must increase to increase overall strength.
The size factor is a rule in motor unit recruitment. The smaller motor units are recruited first because their size and level of muscle tension output. When lifting an object, the first initial movement may be unsteady or even feel weak. Then that lift typically becomes easier because larger motor units are recruited for the task at hand. This is one aspect of why we need to make sure we are prepared mentally and physically before lifting a heavy load.
Over the last five months, I have notice a drastic improvement in my motor unit recruitment and firing frequency during exercise.
How do I know this? My forearms are constantly sore from gripping handles or objects harder than the past.
Oh, and I am #NeverBeenStronger
Ever since joining Team Franklin, I have 'refreshed' my memory bank of what I have learned in the past. Now it is really being applied more each day.
Let's try it right now
As hard as you can, take your hand and squeeze your four fingers into your palm (without your thumb!) - You feel the inside of your forearm engage? I hope so.
Now, take your hand and squeeze your four fingers into your palm WITH your thumb now. - You now should feel the elbow muscle and tendons engage with the inside and top of your forearm muscles and tendons.
So what just happened?
You allowed the increase of available motor units to be recruited. Using ALL available muscles will allow your central nervous system to recruit all motor units, with maximal firing frequency. Then the end result will be increased strength and power with possible fat loss.
As one of my coaches of Team Franklin would say...
"White knuckle that bar!!!" - WT Franklin
Or in other terms, squeeze it hard as possible.