Muscle Memory!

Categories: Fitness & Wellness

muscle memoryWhat is muscle memory? It’s your body’s ability to turn a skilled movement from conscious to unconscious. This process decreases the need for attention and creates maximum efficiency within the motor and memory systems. Think about the first time you threw a ball. Your movement patterns were probably awkward and uncoordinated. But throw, after throw, your body began learning how to throw more naturally and precisely. These repetitions created a neurological pathway that made the recruitment of motor units in your muscles more efficient.

Muscle memory also has effects on your workout routine, forcing production increases when motor unit recruitment is highest. If you want to get stronger, you must activate more motor units. In order to activate more motor units, you must perform the task with high repetition.

As you get stronger, faster and more efficient at an exercise, your body requires less conscious effort and becomes more efficient. Take that exercise and make it more complex by adding weights, using unstable surfaces and you’ll continually be stimulating your body by creating more neurological pathways.

Try changing your push-up routine to continue to challenge your body. Perform 20 repetitions 3–4 times per week for 6 weeks then move to the next progression:

Progression 1

Push-ups from your knees

Progression 2

Push-ups from your toes

Progression 3

Push-ups with hands on BOSU ball

Progression 4

Push-ups with feet on stability ball

By changing up of your fitness routine, you’ll stimulate your motor and memory systems and in result maximize your physical and mental fitness.

For more workout guidance, contact Tony Pearsall at 757-321-2321 or to schedule a fitness session. For information about group exercise classes, contact our Group Exercise Director, Sharon Giannelli, at 757-321-2310 or

(Note: The information presented here is not a substitute for medical advice. Consult a physician before starting any exercise. We suggest that you discontinue exercise immediately if you feel you’re exercising beyond your current abilities.)