Neural adaptation: Main factor is strength gain at the beginning of training!

adaptação neural

Being Responsible for the strength gain in the first weeks of resistance training, the neural adaptation noteworthy.

The neural adaptation is a concept that sometimes can be misunderstood and forgotten in the development of training programs. When an individual begins training, the preliminary adaptation that experience will be neurological. Enoka (1988) reports that can be achieved strength gains without changing the muscle area, however, impossible without neural adaptations. The initial increase in muscle strength occurs faster than muscle hypertrophy, relating to motor learning (Moritani, 1992; Carroll et al, 2001 GREATER, ALVES, 2003; OKANO et al., 2008). After these neural adaptations, gradually, muscle hypertrophy begins to exercise a greater share of contribution to muscle strength increases (Phillips, 2000). In a study conducted by Moritani and DeVries (1979), the authors concluded that the neural factors had responsibility in most strength gains in initial training phase, as later the hypertrophic factors have become the main contributors.

Second position of the ACSM (2009) based on several reviews of scientific studies, it is reported that strength gains are most important during the early stages of strength training compared to intermediate and advanced stages, because of the occurrence of neural adaptations.



Untrained 40%
Moderate 20%
Trained 16%
Advanced 10%
Elite 2%
Adapted de ACSM, 2002.

From the table above, studies conclude that the deep strength gains occur four to eight weeks, which shows strong relationship with neural adaptations (O’BRYANT et. al., 1988; HICKSON et. al., 1994).. In research by Gordon et. al. (1996), which studied 54 women aged between 18 and 35 years, with approximately the same physical characteristics. The women were subjected to strength training (knee extension) for a period of 10 weeks, and also subjected to magnetic resonance imaging before and after training, which found increases in neural activation and muscle hypertrophy. The likely increase in hypertrophy in this study is from the stabilization of neural adaptation during the beginning of training, continuing with hypertrophic factors, coming against the literature.

Learn more about other adjustments linked to weight training, they are: Intramuscular Coordination, which is the adaptation occurred in a muscle. Intermuscular coordination, which the coordination between the muscles involved in the movement. Co-activation of the antagonist muscle, and bilateral deficit, is the difference in strength exerted bilaterally, and the sum of the force exerted by each member in a unilateral activity.