Limiting Factors: Psychology of Cycling



Roadie_scum

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Originally posted by 2LAP
This is a really interesting question!!!!

This is most likely to be caused by local muscular fatigue and neurological factors (hence you can't press that hard on the pedals to raise your HR) as your nutrition and hydration is OK. At the start of the ride you will be recruiting a number of motor units (i.e. groups of muscle fibres) and as these fatigue additional units will be recruited. By the end of the ride you will have few 'fresh' motor units to recruit and so have to slow down or won't be able to lift the pace. This has muscular and neural origins and means that you can't contract the muscles forcefully even when you can still produce ATP at a good rate (i.e. not glycogen depleted).

Also, your central nervous system also fatigues, which means that it doesn't provide the same number of nerve impulses that it could at the start of the ride. You can measure this change in a lab using EMG. It is caused by changes in the neurones themselves and also by hormonal changes in the body and brain.

Could you explain these neurological and central nervous system factors a bit more, or provide some references I might be able to get on pubmed? Sounds interesting. Thanks.
 

edd

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Originally posted by Roadie_scum
Could you explain these neurological and central nervous system factors a bit more, or provide some references I might be able to get on pubmed? Sounds interesting. Thanks.

I don’t have such a science theory grip on this stuff as 2Lap has. But I thought I’d put a laymen’s spin on this.

When you train and condition your body, aerobically, anaerobically. The whole body ( yes even the brain ) adapts to the new demands. I don’t know of anyway of isolating and training the central nervous system from an endurance perspective. Though I believe the CIA does, seriously, no joke.

Sports Science ( as far as I know ) doesn’t get too focused on emotions, mainly interested in “aggression” “ fired up and focused” I think the term is..

The connection between the emotions and fatigue in the central nervous system is very real and I believe, relatively unexplored.

I’m hanging on the edge of my chair waiting to see what this question produces!
 

2LAP

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Feb 22, 2002
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Originally posted by edd
I don’t have such a science theory grip on this stuff as 2Lap has. But I thought I’d put a laymen’s spin on this.

When you train and condition your body, aerobically, anaerobically. The whole body ( yes even the brain ) adapts to the new demands. I don’t know of anyway of isolating and training the central nervous system from an endurance perspective. Though I believe the CIA does, seriously, no joke.

Sports Science ( as far as I know ) doesn’t get too focused on emotions, mainly interested in “aggression” “ fired up and focused” I think the term is..

The connection between the emotions and fatigue in the central nervous system is very real and I believe, relatively unexplored.

I’m hanging on the edge of my chair waiting to see what this question produces!
This is almost as big a can of worms as the physiology side of things and I agree with you edd... its not very well explored.

Here are some basics (as I'm not a psychologist someone might want to help me out)....

When we talk about neuromuscular factors we are generaly talking about the way the brain uses neurones (nerve cells) to control muscles. Basicaly the brain (or more correctly the central nervous system) contols the way that muscles are used, to get a muscle to contract it 'recruits' motor units (or bundles of muscle fibres controled by a single motor neurone) and tells them to contract. This is done by sending electrical impulses via the neurones from the CNS to the muscle. The brain can produce a more forceful contraction by 'recruiting' more motor units or by sending more impulses in a space of time.

Training the neural system does 3 things...
1. Increases recruitment - untrained people don't recruit all of their motor units in a muscular contraction, training increases the number of motor units recruited. Effectively with training you can use 'more' of your muscle!
2. Increases impulses - as all impulses sent by the brain are of the same intensity/strength; the strength of the impulse cannot be used to change the force of the muscle contractions. By training, the brain is able to send more impulses in a given period of time (i.e. at a greater frequency). Kind of like changing your cable modem for broadband.
3. Skill - Its all very well recruiting motor units and at a high frequency, but if this is not a coordinated action then whats the point? For example, you can't do any external work if you coordinate the tricepts and bicepts at the same time!! With more training the accuracy of the contraction of individual motor units and individual muscle improves. This is important for efficiency and for reducing coordination errors. This training effect is easily seen in a young child learning to work.

As edd points out emotions can be used to 'optimise' these factors. Agression or motivation, perhaps through adrenaline and other hormonal changes, will increase the stimulation of the central nervous system. Calm or relaxation, will reduce stimulation. This is easily seen as changes in HR without changes in physical activity. However the wrong emotion or level of stimulation at the wrong time can be disastorous (look for 'inverted U hypothesis' or 'catastrophy theory' on google).

Fatigue of the CNS or in the neurones (or between neurones) can result in lower stimulation of the muscles or less accurate stimulation. Good examples are when you are tired; seen as lower strength and jerky or drunken movements.

How do you train this? Well avoiding specific psychological interventions (like imagary); specific on the bike training will allow your neuromuscular side to adapt as required. Only pedaling allows you to develop pedaling and cornering at speed alows you to develop coordination while balancing at speed. Its also best to train these factors in a fresh and fatigued state.

Looking at strength as an example... much strength occurs as imporvements in muscle contraction via improved neuralmuscular control (most of the strength gains that occur in a program during the first 4 weeks are dur to this). These improvements are very specific and as a result don't transfer to cycling in a useful way. Neural adapations are often the fastest to develope and lose; yet can take many many years to perfect!!!!

How do you measure this in a lab? Using EMG the pattern and amount of electrical activity in any muscle can be meausred. This is quite a simple thing to do, simply sticking electrodes over a muscle and contracting the muscle produces an EMG signal. Although this has little practical use for the average cyclist (and is very expensive to do).
 

edd

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Jul 8, 2003
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Who’s in charge in there ?

I want to speak to the boss, you know the guy in your head that never shuts up, tells you... this chick is hot, that food is ****, TVs for the bingo set.

Well who’s his boss ? who tells him what to tell you ? how come last year he told you to buy this bike and this year he telling you to buy a different bike ?

What’s his address, we want to get right to the source, he’s ( she’s) been putting such a spin on everything I’m kinda wondering if ya still got a grip on what’s real.

Now stop reading ! be self aware for a moment.

can you hear that voice in your head now ? It is probably saying ”what the F...” yep you’ve been found out.

Affirmations are one way of get the voice to say positive event winning stuff to you, you know, like “ This is really fun, I know it hurts like hell, but passing that jerk in the spotted shirt was such a buzz, I’d suffer this any time to do that”.

Any other way ?


Don’t anyone post it’s the voice of “god” or I’ll star quoting Dr Phil
 

taras0000

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Sep 12, 2003
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Originally posted by edd
Who’s in charge in there ?

I want to speak to the boss, you know the guy in your head that never shuts up, tells you... this chick is hot, that food is ****, TVs for the bingo set.

Well who’s his boss ? who tells him what to tell you ? how come last year he told you to buy this bike and this year he telling you to buy a different bike ?

What’s his address, we want to get right to the source, he’s ( she’s) been putting such a spin on everything I’m kinda wondering if ya still got a grip on what’s real.

Now stop reading ! be self aware for a moment.

can you hear that voice in your head now ? It is probably saying ”what the F...” yep you’ve been found out.

Affirmations are one way of get the voice to say positive event winning stuff to you, you know, like “ This is really fun, I know it hurts like hell, but passing that jerk in the spotted shirt was such a buzz, I’d suffer this any time to do that”.

Any other way ?


Don’t anyone post it’s the voice of “god” or I’ll star quoting Dr Phil

Easy, that voice is Jimminy Cricket
 

edd

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Jul 8, 2003
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Originally posted by taras0000
Easy, that voice is Jimminy Cricket

really ?

Why a bike ? at what age did you get that the bike was what you wanted to spend your enjoyment times on ?

Why not a surf board or a pair of roller skates ?

Who made that decision ?