Optimum Firing Patterns- Do they exist?


Are there optimal firing patterns for various muscle groups? According to many gurus there are. They can put someone on a plinth and do some manual muscle testing and tell if the hamstring I firing before the glute or vice versa. Personally I feel that the body is much smarter and more adaptable than this. The body is a genius at solving whatever movement problems that are presented to it. Being a big fan of Richard Lieber, I think the fallowing quote sum it up quite nicely. On page 40 of his book Skeltetal Muscle Structure, Function & Plasticity – The Physiological Basis of Rehabilitation, he sums it up quite well: “the nervous system provides the signal for the muscle ”to do its thing” but that does not necessarily specify the details of the action. It is as if the nervous system acts as the central control while the muscle interprets the control signal into an external action by virtue of its intrinsic design.”

Roger Enoka in an even more concise statement states it quite well: “… the function of a muscle depends critically on the context in which it is activated.” Think logically, this is the way the body works; it must be adaptable just to survive. If there were optimum or even preferred firing patterns the body would continually be short circuiting. My friend Steve Myrland sums it up quite eloquently. “We want bodies that are adaptable rather than simply adapted.”
Discuss entry

Vern Gambetta

Vern Gambetta

Director at Gambetta Sports Training Systems
Vern is the Director of Gambetta Sports Training Systems. He has been the a conditioning coach for several MLS teams as well as the conditioning consultant to the US Men's World Cup Soccer team. Vern is the former Director of Conditioning for the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets. He has lectured and conducted clinics in Canada, Japan, Australia and Europe and has authored six books and over one hundred articles related to coaching and sport performance in a variety of sports. He has a BA in teaching with a coaching minor and an MA in Education with an emphasis in physical education from Stanford University.
Vern Gambetta


Athletic Development Coach & Consultant. Founder of GAIN Network. Proud dad. Love to read everything.
RT @GreatestQuotes: Your aspirations are your possibilities. - Samuel Johnson - 4 years ago
Vern Gambetta

Latest posts by Vern Gambetta (see all)