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What actually is neuroathletics?

Reading time: 6 mins

Head and body are one. Our brain regulates and controls everything in the body. It takes external and internal information as input via our sensory organs, eg the eyes, processes and interprets it with our existing knowledge and creates a final result from it, the output. In sport, that key output is movement. How we move is determined by processes in the brain and nervous system. And this is exactly where neuroathletics comes in.


What is neuroathletics?
The 3 pillars of neuroathletic training
What does neuroathletic training bring me?
In which sports can neuroathletics be used?
What brings neuroathletics in everyday life?
How can I become a neuroathletic coach?
Neuroathletic Exercises

What is neuroathletics?

While neuroathletics was made famous in Germany primarily by the sports scientist Lars Lienhard, it originally comes from the USA. Here, in the early 2000s, athletic trainer Eric Cobb began to combine the two disciplines of athletic training and neuroscience. The Birth of Neuro Athletic Training .

Finally, Cobb combined the findings from neuroscience and practical experience from therapy and training to create his own training concept, the Z-Health Performance Education System .

And this is how neuroathletic training works: For every movement that we perform, the brain needs sensory information from the three movement-controlling systems eyes (visual system), balance (vestibular system) and self-perception in space (proprioceptive system). The clearer and higher quality the signals from these systems are, the better the physical performance. If there are disruptions in communication or if the information is too weak, this has a negative effect on the success of the training.

Exercises that focus on these processes and weak points of the nervous system are called neurotraining. It helps streamline these processes to improve performance and prevent injury. Since this topic also plays a major role in competitive sports, the terms neuroathletics, neuroathletic training or NAT are often used.

The 3 pillars of neuroathletic training

The three movement-controlling systems are crucial for neurotraining:

The visual system: our eyes

Almost all of our movements are controlled by our eyes. Through the input, all important information about our environment is communicated to our brain, which makes targeted movement possible at all. Even small losses of information or disturbances can lead to a suboptimal movement result. Stressed eyes can also lead to headaches, poor concentration and neck tension. They are also closely related to the sense of balance.

The visual training can be imagined as fitness training for the eye muscles and the coordination of the eyes and coordination processes in the brain. Regular training can lead to impressive results. As with any training, sufficient breaks should also be taken here. Visual training is strenuous at first. 10 minutes a day is therefore sufficient at the beginning. With different variants, the intensity of the training can be adapted to personal needs.

The vestibular system: our balance

Our balance organs are located in the inner ear. They measure the acceleration of head and body movements and thus enable us to orientate ourselves in space. They send this information to the brain and it forms the basis for our posture (muscular tension) and eye alignment. A functioning balance system is therefore the absolute basis for precise movement execution.

The vestibular system supports the visual system by stabilizing the eyes, which in turn supports balance by providing images and thus external landmarks. You have probably experienced this yourself when you have performed movements blindly, i.e. without visual support: For the inexperienced, it is almost impossible to walk even a few meters in a straight line with your eyes closed without deviating from the path.

The proprioceptive system: the motion detectors

Proprioception is self-awareness. Where are the limbs located? How are the joints related to each other? Joints and the adjacent structures should therefore have optimal mobility in order to enable good quality of movement.

What does neuroathletic training bring me?

All parts of the body have some kind of mapping in the brain. The images of the face, hands and feet take up a particularly large area. This is because a particularly large number of organs of perception – the receptors – are located here and these areas are used intensively and in a variety of ways from birth. Incorrect reports or missing reports from these areas therefore also have an enormous impact on the quality of movement and quality of life. In addition, important organs of perception such as the feet are used less and less with advancing age.

The information highways that were initially laid out have degenerated into beaten paths, over which only a few unclear pieces of information can be transported. The result: we can no longer call up certain movements, become immobile and anxious because our brain registers such movements as a danger and thus ensures that we avoid such stimuli. It first has to learn again that there is no dangerous situation with such movement sequences.

In everyday life and above all in sports, we not only move our bodies, we have to constantly check our position in space - and that of any obstacles or opponents that may be present - coordinate this with our own position and, ideally, react to unforeseeable events (uneven ground, bumps from opponents, ice, etc.) to react as best as possible. The smoother and more correct these processes are, and the less danger our brain perceives, the better the result.

In which sports can neuroathletics be used?

Most training approaches are very output oriented and only look at the final movement, the faulty movement pattern, the location of the pain. Information input and processing are neglected. However, only starting here means only decorating a finished cake without paying attention to the right ingredients and the type of processing. During training, we should also look at how we absorb and process information in order to achieve the best possible result. If our eyes can only see to a limited extent, if we follow a ball erratically and out of focus, if we lose our balance completely with every little bump, or if we only receive limited information about the ground via the motion detectors in our feet, this has an impact on the final movement and therefore our performance.

Neurotraining can help to restore the body's original ability to process stimuli and thus improve our quality of life and performance in almost all areas of our (sports) everyday life. Neuroathletics in football is becoming more and more important. The most important thing here is to estimate distances correctly and to bring the eye and foot into perfect harmony.

What brings neuroathletics in everyday life?

Neurotraining offers enormous potential for everyone, from small children to the elderly, from the supposedly healthy to the chronically ill. It can have positive effects on pain, fatigue and lack of energy, joint blockages and limited mobility, visual problems such as tired eyes and limited vision, performance deficits or plateaus in sports, as well as dizziness, dyslexia, ADHD and anxiety.

How can I become a neuroathletic coach?

Neuroathletic training is now finding more and more trainers and therapists who want to expand their repertoire in this way. Fortunately, the range of training opportunities in Germany continues to grow accordingly.

>> All training dates at a glance

What neuroathletic exercises are there?

The great thing about neuroathletic training is that, just like regular fitness training, you can do it almost anywhere. Classics here are also back exercises, neck exercises, exercises to relieve tension, eye exercises and balance training.

>> You can find neuro-athletic exercises for your back and more here.


"I've sustained several shoulder injuries through my Frisbee sport. Over the years, it has gotten so bad that even continuing to practice the sport was on the brink for me. I've tried countless therapies, but there hasn't been any real improvement "Then I came across the field of neuro-athletics. Two training sessions and quite a few "crazy" exercises later, my shoulder feels more stable and pain-free than it has in years. I now exercise daily with my red glasses, do head rotations and mobilize my shoulder. After two months of training, my shoulder is not only completely pain-free, but my strength and mobility are completely restored. I can continue to play successful Frisbee. The training has saved my sporting future. Thank you for everything. I can only thank everyone recommend neuroathletics training."

- Daniel., 38 years old, customer Intelligent Personal Training

"After an inflammation of the middle ear, I was then prescribed too high a dose of medication. As a result, I experienced an almost complete failure of my vestibular system. After almost 4 years of rehabilitation, I managed to move around on my legs to some extent again. But constant insecurity and falls have since made my Accompanied by life. Not to think about picking something up off the ground without an accident. Then I bumped into Andreas by chance and did a training session with him. At the end of the first training session I was able to, just by biting on a pen and at the same time exaggeratedly grinning combined with humming (which probably looked very weird), walking stably and even picking up a pen off the ground with no problems.
Since then I've been doing my exercises regularly (which have expanded) and I feel more confident than I have in years. I now hope to be able to get back into my job. This was attested to me as impossible. But with the development of the last few weeks, a return is now within reach. Thank you for the new life!"

- Frank, 47 years old, customer of Intelligent Personal-Training

"Because of a visual perception disorder that was congenital or developed in my earliest childhood, my environment was very "confused". I lacked any basic figure perception and was unable to recognize details, either near or far. My eyes were constantly on the lookout, so to speak ", my environment was shaky and blurred. This also affected my fine motor skills and my coordination. My left foot also had an extreme crooked foot position. At the beginning of elementary school, this problem then appeared in the form of severe difficulties in learning to read and write and a completely chaotic exercise book In addition, I found reading and writing extremely tiring and lost concentration very quickly.
Then my parents came across the Optological Center Dürselen in the neighboring village through an acquaintance. After just a few weeks, the world became clearer and more structured for me. My parents were amazed at how my typeface changed during this time, lines were kept and I began to paint and read as well as climb and do card games and jigsaw puzzles. After a total of 6 months of visuomotor training, I was finally able to recognize details near and far and thus continue to improve my reading and writing and much more. I was finally able to "control" my eyes and consciously "chill out". The extreme foot position has disappeared into thin air as if by magic. Today I finished my school career with my Abitur, I'm a real bookworm, active in sports and give my eyes the time-out they need! Without this training I would never have made it through school!"

- Max, 19 years old, student

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