Everyone knows that exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health. But when it comes to exercise, most people ignore the hard stuff – such as lifting weights or resistance exercise.

According to researchers, only 6% of adults do the recommended minimum amount of at least two muscle-strengthening workouts each week. This is worrisome because neglecting resistance training or workouts that build strength and muscle is increases your risk of:

Fact is, strength training increases your metabolism, lowers body fat and protects you from some of the leading causes of early death and disability.

Most people accept the loss of muscle, bone and all the downsides that follow as a natural part of aging. But studies show you can slow and delay these processes by years or even decades with a muscle strengthening program that works your entire body. Scientists at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging found that doing just two resistance-training sessions each week can reverse the age-related cellular damage that contributes to sarcopenia and functional impairment.

And if you're getting chiropractic care and regular chiropractic adjustments, the good news is that over the last few years, a number of studies have demonstrated that when you get adjusted, it can actually help to make you stronger!

Chiropractic Adjustments Influence Strength

First, why would scientists be interested in how chiropractic adjustments can change the way your brain controls your muscles?

The answer is pretty simple.

Over the last few years, a number of studies have shown that when you get adjusted by a chiropractor it can make you stronger.

One study reported in a group of students who received chiropractic care, that they were actually able to produce 16% more force in their leg muscle after a chiropractor had gently checked and adjusted any dysfunctional spinal segments. [1]

Interestingly, the increases in strength were specific to those individuals who were actually adjusted, compared to the control group which involved moving the spine, but not manipulating it.

The same group of researchers followed up with another study involving elite Tae Kwon Do athletes, and again showed that even in a group of highly trained athletes, a single session of chiropractic care improved strength and helped to stop their muscles from getting tired. [2]

They have also studied the effects of chiropractic care in a group of patients who have had a stroke and lost the strength in their muscles. In this study they found that chiropractic adjustments helped these stroke patients to regain the strength in their muscles. [3]

Chiropractic Adjustments Improve Brain to Muscle Communication

In a new study by the same team of researchers, they wanted to see if chiropractic care resulted in an increase in the way the brain could drive the muscle in the subject’s arms. [4]

To do this, they measured the participant’s bicep’s muscle strength, and then measured something that’s called ‘central inhibition’, before and after a single session of chiropractic care, or just moving their heads around as a control intervention.

This ‘central inhibition’ measure is a bit like the brain’s handbrake to the muscle. And there are two ways the brain can increase the way your muscle contracts.

  • It can either press the gas pedal
  • Or it can release the ‘hand brake’ to that muscle

It’s a little bit more complicated than this of course, because the brain has many ‘gas pedals’ and ‘hand brakes’ to every single muscle in your body.

But the scientists wanted to know if a particular type of handbrake changed after these subjects got chiropractic adjustments.

The technical term for the method they used to record this was ‘TMS twitch interpolation technique’ and it allows them to explore the way the participants brains are driving their arm muscles… in other words it measured the degree to which their brain was pulling the handbrake to that particular muscle.

What they found was that there was a difference in the degree of central inhibition to the bicep’s muscle only after they were adjusted, compared to when they did the control movement of the neck.

There was less inhibition, suggesting the brain had released the handbrake to the muscle after they got adjusted.

So, this may be one of the reasons why the previous studies showed that chiropractic care could increase strength, because maybe chiropractic care is reducing the central inhibition to your muscles, or in other words, releasing the handbrake to your muscles making it easier for your brain to move your muscles and produce more strength.

Chiropractic Adjustments Enhance Muscle Efficiency

So, if you feel like you’ve got a handbrake in your muscles or in your brain, maybe you should go see a chiropractor and see if they can help your brain release the handbrake so that your brain can more efficiently control your muscles and perhaps even help you to get that jam jar open.