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What is neuroathletic training?

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What is Neuroathletics Training? How do neurocentric exercises work? And what's the point of that anyway? Find out here how you can use the trend sport for your everyday life, sport and therapy.


What is Neuroathletics Training?
How does neuroathletic training work?
What does neuroathletic training do for me?
Who is neuroathletic training suitable for?
In which sports can neuroathletics be used?
How can I become a neuroathletics trainer?
3 neuroathletics exercises to get you started

What is Neuroathletics Training?

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

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

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

How does neuroathletic training work?

For every movement we make, the brain requires 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 the information is too weak, this will have a negative impact on the success of the training.

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

The three movement-controlling systems are crucial for neurotraining:

The visual system: our eyes

Almost all of our movements are controlled by our eyes. The input tells our brain all the important information about our environment, which makes targeted movement possible. Even small losses of information or disruptions can lead to suboptimal movement results. Eye strain can also lead to headaches, difficulty concentrating and neck tension. They are also closely related to the sense of balance.

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 be taken. The visual training is initially strenuous. 10 minutes a day is enough to start with. With different variants, the intensity of the training can be adapted to your personal needs.

The vestibular system: our balance

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

The balance 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 carried out movements blindly, i.e. without visual support: it is almost impossible for inexperienced people to walk straight ahead for even a few meters with their eyes closed without veering off 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 to enable good quality of movement.

What does neuroathletic training do for me?

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

The information highways that were initially created degenerate into trails over which only a small amount of unclear information can be transported. The result: We can no longer recall certain movements and become immobile and anxious because our brain records such movements as danger and thus ensures that we avoid such stimuli. It first has to learn again that such movements do not pose a dangerous situation.

In everyday life and especially in sport, we not only move our bodies, we have to constantly control our position in space - and that of any obstacles or opponents that may be present -, coordinate this with our own position and, ideally, respond to unforeseeable events (unevenness in the ground, react as best as possible to impacts from opponents, slippery surfaces, etc.). The smoother and more correct these processes occur and the less danger our brain perceives, the better the result.

Neuroathletic training in everyday life

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

Who is neuroathletic training suitable for?

In short: for everyone! Neuroathletics training can be performed by anyone at any age and at any fitness level. You can train your eyes in everyday life to relax them or train your vision.

>> Reading tip: Neuroathletics exercises for myopia

In competitive sports, neuroathletic exercises can help to improve responsiveness and thus increase performance. Sensor technology and perception, i.e. improving the input in the brain, are becoming more and more important, for example in professional football training.

>> Reading tip: How neuroathletic training works in football

The exercises are often the same. The goal remains the same: improving the interaction between brain and body. How you want to use it is up to you.

In which sports can neuroathletics be used?

Most training approaches are strongly output-oriented and only look at the final movement, the incorrect movement pattern, the location of the pain. Information input and processing are neglected. But just starting here means just decorating a finished cake without paying attention to the right ingredients and the way they are processed. When training, we should also look at how we absorb and process information in order to get the best possible result.

If our eyes can only see to a limited extent, if we can only follow a ball erratically and out of focus, if we get completely out of balance with every little bump, or if we only receive limited information about the surface 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 everyday (sports) life. Neuroathletics is becoming more and more important in football . The most important thing here is to estimate distances correctly and to bring eye and foot into perfect harmony.

How can I become a neuroathletics trainer?

Neuroathletics training is now finding more and more trainers and therapists who want to expand their repertoire to include it. Fortunately, the range of training options in Germany continues to grow.

>> All training dates at a glance

3 neuroathletics exercises to get you started

The simplest neuroathletics exercises include those that train your eyes. You don't need much and you can do it quickly and anywhere. Especially with today's excess of screen time in everyday life, a few minutes of eye training a day can be a real blessing.

Here we show you 3 eye exercises that you can easily integrate into your everyday life:

Exercise 1: Relax your eyes with the grid glasses

Woman in the starting position of the relaxation exercise Visual system

Here's how it works: Wear the grid glasses in everyday life. At the computer, reading, cleaning or exercising. However, you should avoid driving. Initially use the pinhole glasses for approx. 5 - 10 minutes. If necessary, you can gradually intensify the training.

Tip for glasses wearers: Wear grid glasses instead of your normal glasses. You will find that after a while of getting used to the louvre glasses can compensate for your poor eyesight to some extent or even completely.

How does this help me? The louvre glasses relax your eyes by reducing the stress factor of light, but focusing the incident light more specifically (at specific points). This can be used in different ways. In cases of visual stress, such as often occurs with old head injuries or intensive computer work, glasses can help to achieve better performance.

The grid glasses also provide a clearer view. It is therefore often used in combination with other vision exercises.

Exercise 2: See clearly

Woman in the starting position of the basic exercise Visual system - accommodation / ability to focus

Here's how to do it: Hang the long-distance board on the wall and move far enough away that you can still see the letters clearly. You also hold the close-up board in your hand at a distance so that you can just see the letters clearly.

Now alternately read a letter near and far. Don't change the board until you have recognized the letter completely clearly.

How does this help me? By switching between the two panels, your eyes have to constantly refocus. This trains your ability to quickly switch between short- and long-sightedness.

Exercise 3: Object Tracking

Woman in starting position of the basic exercise Visual system - eye tracking movements / controlled object tracking

This is how it works: Relaxed position on your back on the floor. The Marsden Ball hangs approximately 60-100 cm in the middle above the face. Let the ball swing in all directions and follow it with your eyes (fixation of the letter at the bottom of the ball).

How does this help me? The exercise can help you keep moving objects in focus better. An essential skill, especially for ball athletes.

>> You can find all neuroathletics exercises here.


Is neuroathletics just a trend? The fact is that neuroathletics training is currently receiving a lot of attention, similar to fascia training back in the day. But that doesn't make the exercises any worse. And just like fascia training, neuroathletic exercises can help make your everyday life easier and less painful and improve the effectiveness of your training.

Athletes and therapists have been using individual neuroathletic exercises for a long time and will continue to do so in the future.

The success of your neurotraining depends heavily on your own physique and the goals you want to achieve. The motto here is: just try it out.