Am I Overtraining? A Simple Neural Tension Test


Do you struggle to get out of bed in the morning? Or to get into the gym for an early morning class? It may not be all in the head. The mind may be willing but the body says NO. Have you ever asked yourself ” am I overtraining”? Neural tension testing is a great way to know when to rest and when to push through a workout.

Am I Overtraining?:

If you are lacking motivation it’s not because you are lazy or a bad person. It may be your nervous system is asking for a break. Tell-tale signs of nervous system fatigue include:

  • lack of motivation for the gym,
  • feeling like you are getting weaker or your progress has halted,
  • depressed mood, arm/legs feeling heavy.

When the body is placed under stress. The natural mechanism is to tighten up. This ensures you don’t injure yourself. By using this simple test. It allows you to get an objective measurement of the stress your nervous system is under, without any fancy or expensive equipment.

If any of these sound familiar then you need to use this quick and simple test to check on the health of your nervous system.

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The Neural Tension Test:

When you perform a regular objective test the answer to  Am I Overtraining becomes very simple. and makes its easy to decide when to hit snooze and when to slip into your gym gear. Doing this test on a regular basis allows you gauge a baseline of how your nervous system is functioning. It also allows you to know whether you are still fatigued from a previous workout. Or whether you are ready to get stuck into your next session. To test:


  1. Start with feet together
  2. Tuck chin into chest
  3. Slowly fold down and let your hands drape down toward the floor


*This is a passive exercise and you should not feel and tension or strain in the muscles. If you are particularly bendy you can stand on a couple of weight plates and use them as a measurement as to how far you can passively flex.


Measured over 3 days your dead hang. Your baseline will be the average distance between the floor and your fingertips. If you notice more than a 10% decrease in the hang. Your nervous system is still stressed out from the day before. And could use some extra TLC. So hit the snooze button or get out for some active recovery.

Make Sure You Are Recovering properly:

If you notice your dead hang is a little shorter than usual, don’t be afraid to hold back on your upcoming session. It is a good indicator that your body hasn’t fully recovered from your previous session, and you are still holding some extra tension or your nervous system hasn’t fully recovered. 

Think of giving a lighter session a go, you don’t need to red line every session to hit your goals. Go for an active recovery day: a brisk walk, stretch, yoga session or get cracking on some of those mobility exercises you have been putting off.

Other ways to make sure your body is recovering as efficiently as it should is making sure you are getting enough rest, and eating a well balanced diet with all the macro and micronutrients you need.

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to say “i’m going to back off this workout today” and you will actually see better and faster results. Which will hold you in better stead in the long run. 

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