I’ve heard the phrase “Muscle Memory” a thousand times and never really paid much attention to it.   There are phrases and sayings that come to mind such as “You never forget how to ride a bike.”

My son once looked at a newly erect toddler moving erratically across the floor and commented:  “Her gyroscope isn’t calibrated yet.”  Insightful – how true.

In doing new exercises, I default to very light weights and high repetitions.  I acknowledge that I want to get the form right.  When I attempt a heavier lift, I will start with an empty bar to warm up and “make sure my muscles know what is expected.”

I am a big believer in volume – the more you do – the more you can do.

This 52 Day Challenge I have a goal of 5200 push-ups.  I hope to reach or exceed that number.  I have completed 600 in 6 days.  I am now able to do 35-50 in the first set.

The other day, my wife’s Occupational Therapist was stressing the importance of repetition.  We are not trying to build muscles – we are trying to build muscle memory.

And the light goes on!

I did a little reading – easy to do in this digital world with search engines galore and on-line information and misinformation overwhelming us all.  Although Wikipedia is not a most reliable source of information – it often sums up a concept in basic terms.

Muscle memory has been used synonymously with motor learning, which is a form of procedural memory that involves consolidating a specific motor task into memory through repetition. When a movement is repeated over time, a long-term muscle memory is created for that task, eventually allowing it to be performed without conscious effort. This process decreases the need for attention and creates maximum efficiency within the motor and memory systems. Examples of muscle memory are found in many everyday activities that become automatic and improve with practice, such as riding a bicycle, typing on a keyboard, ….

And that is what is happening.  Her muscle memory – the connections between her brain and her muscles has not become automatic.  She must think about what she must do.  That slows her down and exhausts her – just as we all experience as we learn a new task be it playing a sport or doing an exercise.

So much of her muscle memory was wiped clean.  She is spending her time calibrating her gyroscope.

The brain is an amazing creation – it is a resilient organ – if we treat it with respect.

The rule of thumb is that recovery only happens in the first 6 months.  If so – we have less than two weeks left.  I don’t buy it.  I am still observing improvements – significant improvements.

So – I repeat – the more she does – the more she can do.

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