My (CNS) Fatigue…

More like my CNS fried.

I’ve been putting in a lot of work with my weightlifting program this past month. In fact I’ve been pushing the limits well enough that the past two weeks I’ve set new Personal Records (PRs) in several of my lifts. And in some cases making gains on the same lift two weeks in a row.

It’s something I’m working hard at. I’m truly enjoying it. Unfortunately I think my body finally raised the white flag this morning and pretty much said, “YO. Pay attention’.

When I started seriously pursuing weightlifting as a full time endeavor, I remember hearing about how weightlifting and the Olympic lifts will ‘fry your CNS’ if you let it. I chalked it up to just your expected training side-effects. I mean, I’ve experienced all sorts of mental and physical fatigue before, but I’ve only heard of and read about CNS fatigue….

That is until this morning.

CNS fatigue:

The idea is that your brain is constantly monitoring the physical work done by your muscles and cardiovascular system, and that monitoring process is what we experience as a sensation of effort. Your brain, says Noakes, has a safety margin which is intended to stop you from hurting yourself by pushing to true physical exhaustion. When you reach that point, the brain effectively pulls the plug on motor drive — the nerve impulses that make you go — and you experience this as a feeling of tiredness and exhaustion.  – Tim Noakes

This morning during my training session I was ‘all thumbs’. I couldn’t seem to work out the rust.. I was moving in super-slow-mo mode and the bar just kept getting heavier.

It dawned on me about mid-workout that my body was trying very desperately to tell me something… LOL. I mustered the energy and skill to finish the workout.. but it wasn’t pretty. I missed numerous lifts that I never miss.. and weight that is only 60% 1RM felt like a max lift.


Needless to say I’m taking a day or two off from picking up the barbell. Train smarter, not harder.

The poor demise of my CNS was a tad bit worth it though. I PR’d three lifts yesterday and had 2 previous PR’s the week prior.

Snatch PR: (after 1 failed attempt)

Clean & Jerk PR: (even with a lil’ arm bend)

And a long awaited Front Squat PR: (finally 300#)

I was all smiles:

On top of those 3 PR’s, last week I strung five muscle-ups together in a WOD and had hit a Snatch PR. My training lately has been all around awesome. I have two weeks left of this six week cycle I’m currently on, and it seems to be getting the job done. I’m getting faster under the bar.

I still have a TON of room to grow… I’m a work in progress.



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