Neuromuscular efficiency is a fundamental strength and conditioning principle that refers to one’s ability to recruit muscles to produce force. In this blog, we will cover the basics of neuromuscular efficiency and show you how to incorporate it into your training programs.
Neuromuscular efficiency or NME for short refers to your ability to activate your central nervous system and recruit muscles to complete a task.
You can measure NME on a scale from low to high. A higher NME means that you are better at activating your central nervous system to recruit muscles and generate force. If you have high NME, you are more powerful by nature. On the other hand, low NME means that you cannot activate your central nervous system as efficiently and will be more enduring by nature.
A great way to test your NME is to use the back squat. First, build up to a one-repetition maximum (1RM) of the back squat. Then rest 10 minutes and complete as many reps as possible at 85% of your 1RM.
The number of repetitions you complete will give you insight into your NME. If you can complete more than four repetitions, you likely have low NME. The higher number of repetitions shows that you are more enduring and are not able to dig as deeply into your CNS.
If you can only complete three or fewer repetitions, you are more powerful by nature and have high NME.
Your NME score gives you insight into what type of training you will respond to best.
If you have a low NME, you need more volume and at a higher relative percentage of your 1RM to get the desired dose-response. 10 reps x 3 sets back squat @ 80% of your 1RM may give you better results when training strength endurance.
If you have a high NME, you need less volume at a relatively lower percentage of your 1RM. You may be better off with 3 reps x 3 sets back squat @ 70% of your 1RM when training strength endurance.
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