Rate CodingJul 01, 2022
Photo Credit: Pixabay
The rate of coding affects neuromuscular adaptations to resistance training in the following ways:
- Motor unit recruitment
- Nerve to-muscle conduction
- Membrane potential and the electrophysiology involved
What is Rate Coding?
Rate coding: allows us to connect the brain to the muscle more efficiently
Through training, we can send action potentials more efficiently from the brain through the spinal cord, through a nerve to the muscle. As the brain is creating a signal, our body moves ions around through gradients (also known as the membrane potential), creating an action potential when the electrical signal crosses the membrane.
When nerves are activated we are moving ions around to affect the nerve’s resting membrane potential.
A resting membrane potential is = ~ -70mv (millivots)
As this number increases (depolarizes), it reaches a threshold that signals the action potential to move down a nerve to a muscle. This process is a singular action potential, however we can look at multiple action potentials with rate coding.
- Single twitch muscles: Occurs from 1 action potential propagating (moving) down through a nerve.
- Unfused tetanus: Occurs from 1 action potential and then another action potential propagating down through a nerve which allows for higher muscle recruitment.
- Fused tetanus: Occurs from multiple action potentials continuously propagating quickly down through a nerve and not allowing the neuron to depolarize and repolarize fully. This accumulation produces the most force out of a muscle through higher motor recruitment.
Rate coding is one physiological mechanism that allows the recruitment of multiple muscle fibers to a higher extent because it increases intramuscular synchronization. Intramuscular synchronization allows the body to perform a movement pattern more efficiently.
Rate coding = the rate of action potential discharge to the muscle, which can accumulate to produce higher motor recruitment.
Rate coding increases motor cortical activity in the brain:
The primary motor cortex is where the signal is generated, therefore higher recruitment here generates greater signals to the muscle.
- It improves the motor unit activity of higher threshold motor units:
- If we train type II muscle fibers, we can recruit these fibers more efficiently to get the signal from the brain to the muscle more efficiently.
Rate coding promotes a higher rate of force development in the muscle:
This signal sending quicker will allow quicker ground contact time during depth jumps.
In summary, a higher rate of action potential discharge from improved rate coding is one of a number of variables that can improve muscle activation, jump height, vertical jump, cutting, running, and other athletic movements.
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