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July 14, 2021

What Is Muscle Memory And Is It Real?

Muscle Memory is a lot more complicated than the term implies.

Before we dive in, let’s first define muscle memory – “the ability to reproduce a particular movement without conscious thought, acquired as a result of frequent repetition of that movement.”

Even this post will be a bit oversimplified. There are just lots of aspects missing in the ACTUAL communication between brain and muscle – like what actually causes the muscle to contract and relax.

But, for the sake of explaining “muscle memory,” I want you to imagine two analogies:

1️⃣ First: Old school telephone – Brain is one phone (from the motor cortex). Neurons/nervous system is the telephone line. Muscle is on the other line (single muscle fiber). Easy enough? Great this is the communication between your brain and muscles (very broadly speaking).

2️⃣ Second: Taking ONE route from a given location to another given location. The first time you drive this route, you’re very aware, it takes conscious effort. Yes? Yes. The more times you take that route, the less conscious thought and awareness is needed. You just “take the route.” This is your neural pathway being engrained by your body.

The combination of these gives you what is referred to as “muscle memory.”

Typing, brushing your teeth, walking, running, bending down, sitting to standing, squatting, benching, push ups, pull ups whatever. You’ve built these motor patterns to the point of not needing to consciously think about them through using neuromuscular communications. Google ain’t wrong. It can just be a misleading term.

Review these slides for the full illustration:

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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.

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