So what are some potential limiting factors that might impede results?
(This is not an all-inclusive list)
- Neurological coordination
- Neurological efficiency (intensity)
- Systemic Conditioning
- Local Conditioning (Mitochondrial efficiency and number per cell)
These can potentially limit maximum progress for ANY goal (fat loss, hypertrophy, strength). This brings us to an important point we touch on often; don’t ONLY do programs or training stimuli that directly relate to your goal.
Here is an example to help illustrate this concept more clearly.
If we look at the goal of hypertrophy, we can categorize the hypertrophy-specific programs by stimulus. Some will be more intensity driven, some by total volume of tension-based work, and others are more metabolically biased. Each of them can have different limiting factors.
Intensity-focused programs will most likely be limited by neurological coordination and neurological intensity (ability to recruit more and higher threshold motor units). Performing a dedicated neurological program can help potentiate your ability to maintain execution at higher intensities, allowing you to keep more tension on the target tissue without excess compensation (which can also decrease the potential risk of injury)
Volume-focused programs can most often be limited by systemic conditioning. To some degree neurological intensity and local metabolic conditioning as well, depending on how it is written. So by working on systemic conditioning, it can potentiate your ability to handle higher volumes of training and speed up recovery.
Metabolic-focused programs will most likely be limited by local conditioning and sometimes systemic conditioning depending on how many muscle groups are being trained in a single session and the format of the workouts. Usually not limited by neurological intensity, but improving that can have other benefits in this type of program that are beyond the scope of this article.
By completing programs that challenge specific qualities, even if they don’t directly relate to your long-term goal, it is possible to improve the future performance and recovery (potentiate) for other training stimuli. Thus leading to faster progress in the programs that are directly aligned with your objective.
This is why at some point you should do programs that use stimuli across all three phases of training in order to perform, recover, and adapt optimally.
So yes, powerlifters and strength/power athletes need to do some systemic and local conditioning work too. Sorry guys.