Have you ever turned up to training and just felt like you couldn’t get going or power up your body? You often know when you are fatigued from a long run, hard gym session or tough track session as you just feel tired, stiff and sore. However determining that your neural system is fatigued is a little harder. You may not even feel that tired but you can’t just get your system firing. You may even be looking forward to training but when you try to get going you just can’t. You may be suffering with neural fatigue.
In a review by the University of Queensland, Neural Fatigue (NF) was defined as an involuntary reduction in voluntary activation
Neural fatigue can just sneak up on you. NF will often occur after very strenuous speed/power based work. Sprint training under 7seconds, plyometric exercises, power based gym work, (Olympic Lifts)
While the exact cause of neural fatigue is unclear, here are some potential causes:
- Insufficient recovery between hard sessions
- Lack of sleep
- Overload of complex movements;
- Dehydration and inadequate nutrition;
A good way to assess and combat neural fatigue is to keep a training diary. If patterns start to occur you probably need to re-assess your training program with your coach and if symptoms persist a visit to your sports doctor may be needed.