Central Governor Theory

I’ve read a few books in recent years that talk quite a bit about Taylor’s Central Governor Theory in terms of athletic ability/results. I’ve found it quite interesting in that it seems to explain a lot of the relatively well documented placebo effects of things like carb rinsing but also how the MTP can potentially affect performance.

Just intrigued to know what the Suf Science crew think about the theory and whether it was used in building any of the MTP elements?

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I’m not sure who Taylor is, but some of the earliest mentions come from famed physiologist & Nobel prize winner AV Hill in the early 1920s. A more contemporary researcher into the Central Governor Theory is Timothy Noakes, author of “The Lore of Running”.

There are some aspects of this theory that seem to be fairly representative of situations that occur during exercise, but it’s not a completely proven theory as there are counterpoints that occur which do not jive with the theory. Some heavyweights in exercise physiology (PO Atrand & B Saltin) definitely had great reservations regarding the central governor theory and did not support it.

Here’s a paper with some discussion and a net not supportive take on central governor theory: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00656/full

Overall, we very much support the beneficial effects of MTP, but it’s not specifically associated with central governor theory.

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D’oh, it is Noakes that I meant :slight_smile: Taylor did studies on how to treat employees lol

Cheers for the link, I’ll have a read!! Have to say I’ve never read his actual theory, it’s just cropped up in a few different books so it got me intrigued. I quite like reading about the mental aspect of training.

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There’s mention of the Central Governor Model in Matt Fitzgerald’s very useful book ‘How Bad Do You Want It?’. There’s a preview of the introduction which includes that information available here: https://www.velopress.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/preview_BAD.pdf

I’d strongly recommend the book to anyone looking to improve endurance sport performance as it contains real life examples of people overcoming pretty amazing odd/difficulties and more to achieve their goals, and what helped them do so. I have a copy on Audible and have listened to it several times. In case you don’t know, Audible give you 1 free credit each month, and each credit gets you a book, so worth signing up and grabbing free books!

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Yes that is a great book!

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That is an interesting read, thank you Coach Neal

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There are a couple of things I have not got my head around. When I ride to a standstills, I m never aware of making a decision to stop, my legs just stop moving via some unknown mechanism. 2nd, I seem to fatigue quickly and struggle with sub threshold stuff at the moment. I cannot understand why riding at 30-40 watts below FTP is so hard. The hydration is there, carbs are there, oxygen is there, everything is there to provide energy yet it doesn’t.

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There is a good discussion of Central Governor Theory in an easily digestible format in the excellent book “Endure” by Alex Hutchinson. It covers off a lot of topics that would be interesting to most endurance athletes, and is pretty easily readable.

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This is a great book! Lots of theories and practices in there… some great stories as well!

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Another interesting read is The Chimp Paradox. It’s helped me through many stressful periods, helped with self talk on the bike and has even helped me realise when I’m talking to ‘a chimp’ or an human.’ Take a read and that will made sense!

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That book made me look at myself totally differently! Learned quite a lot about myself and actually helped me with a few things in my work life.

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Yeah that’s a cracking read. I think that may have been the first time I came across the CGM actuay.

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Chimp Paradox is excellent - really changed the way that I interact with people and understand their behaviour.

A couple of other sciencey books I’ve enjoyed around endurance training and the science of sport:

Faster, by Michael Hutchinson - former GB TT rider, and now journalist. An excellent read.

The Science of the Tour de France - James Witts.

And if you have never read it - every cyclist should own a copy of Carmichael’s Time Crunched Cyclist.

And something by Joe Friel - this is a handy and useful guide to your Power Meter. The number of people I know with a 1000 USD power meter, and no idea how to use it!

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The chimp paradox must be the most widely read book in cycling.How often you ride behind cyclists who have their back pockets full of bananas

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Thanks Chris @chartley1974 - I’ve downloaded it & look forward to a good read!

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I have got the Power Meter handbook and confirm that it is a great read.

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I think the assumption behind CGT that it is possible to make a connection between a psychological articulation of fatigue (mental) and a physiological articulation of fatigue (physical) is probably the underlying philosophical problem with CGT. It becomes another metaphysical band-aid theory like muscle-memory (physical-psychological) which creates meaning by combining two ways to articulate the same thing. Personally, I think a paradigm shift is necessary that moves away from fatigue as presenting a series of problems (lack of motivation, muscle soreness etc…) and for it to be articulated positively. Then it becomes a question of ‘articulating fatigue itself’ which is a more difficult task but ultimately more illuminating…

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