Demands of Cerebellum and Cortex to Change Movement Pattern

motor learning motor pattern Jun 21, 2022

Why do I have to do my PT exercises every day?

Here’s why:

Squatting 2 times a week can get you bigger, stronger muscles because the process of muscle growth involves:⁣

  1. Causing micro-tears in muscle fibers (specifically myosin heads)⁣
  2. Eating protein, which will break down into amino acids⁣
  3. Turning amino acids into new myosin (structural muscle proteins) ⁣

Cool, now your muscle contains more structural proteins making it bigger and stronger.

Now, if, for one reason or another, you are loading a joint funky and need to change a movement pattern to get yourself out of pain, the process looks a little different, perhaps something like this:⁣

  1. Provide your brain with more and/or different information⁣
  2. Increase movement variability to allow the desired movement to be successful a greater % of the time⁣
  3. Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat⁣

I’m all for strength training in rehab, but we have to appreciate that, especially early in the process, the programming is often going to look different. Typically, higher volume, lower load (Ex: 3 sets of 20 every day). ⁣

Your cerebellum and cortex don't care about load nearly as much as your muscles do. The brain cares about feedback and repetition.

Practical Application

This is extremely important to communicate to the patient or client because very few people understand why they need to do exercises every day, leading to low compliance and the classic “The exercises didn’t work” situation. ⁣


Rehab is complex and case-specific. To get out of pain, someone may need to monitor training load better, improve tolerance to an existing movement pattern, improve alignment with an MET, etc. This is a general framework for understanding the need for repetition in some rehab cases.

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