Neural Performance Training Explained


Neural performance training refers to the process of identifying how your brain and body respond to different stimuli. Some call it functional applied neuroscience. To make it easy, let’s just call it brain training. Regardless, this is a way of training unlike any other you’ll find in the market today. This groundbreaking method of assessing and training the brain and body has already helped thousands of people recover from issues on which they had long ago given up.  

Since neural performance training works with the brain and nervous system, it can help with anything the nervous system does. Below, we’ve described the process we use to identify and develop training programs for our clients. To learn more about a specific complaint, please reference the Problems we Solve area of the website or schedule a 30-minute consultation today!

The Brain’s Will to Survive

Foundational Concepts of Our Brain’s Performance

Keep Us Alive

Our brain is there for our survival, not our performance. Its first priority is to keep us alive.

Assess Threats

Our brain is always asking the question, is it safe? It constantly receives data from all of our senses. Those things that our brain deems threatening go into a “threat bucket”.

Stop Threats

When the “threat bucket” reaches a level that the brain perceives to threaten survival, it applies the brakes using a variety of outputs — pain, stiffness, nausea, headaches — basically, whatever works to keep us safe.

The Threat Bucket

Our brain controls everything we do – respiration, heart rate, blood pressure, movement, etc. And it is constantly assessing our world to determine where energy needs to be allotted. The brain will dedicate any amount of energy necessary to keep us safe. If stimuli suggests that threat is near, the brain will create circumstances to reduce those threats.

Graphic: Threat Bucket graphic from Z-Health Performance Solutions

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The Brain’s Process for Survival

Input – Integration – Output


We constantly receive inputs (or signals) from all of our senses. Inputs come from our body’s movement (proprioceptive), our external environment (exteroceptive) and inside our body (interoceptive). 


The brain integrates all of these signals while answering the question “Is this safe?” and in trying to predict outcomes, decides what to do. This decision is based upon what the brain feels is best for our survival.


The outputs from the brain come in many forms and are based upon the brain’s decision in the integration stage. Therefore, while it is hard for some to grasp, pain is simply – and only – another output of the brain. 

Think for an instant that you are running over hilly terrain.  The constant up and down movement is an input to your brain.  However, let’s say you also suffer from some vertigo, or you have trouble with balance and you also had a knee injury from a fall many years ago.  What does your brain have as information: uncertainty of which way is up (vertigo) and lots of rolling terrain coming in front of you (vision). The brain then perceives falling down and possible injury as a pending threat.  The brain wants to prevent this outcome by slowing you down.  What options does it have based on our short history? It can make you feel sick or it could produce some knee pain. Do you think this would have the desired effect?


What does the process look like?






Assess. Drill. Re-Assess. Repeat. That’s the short of it. But for the curious out there, here’s how the process works:


Experiences Build Perception

Through various life experiences, every person develops unique coping skills physically, emotionally and psychologically. Experiences such as trauma and injuries can cause the brain to permanently establish coping mechanisms that impact specific areas of movement and perception.


The Brain Determines Output based upon Perception

Remember, the brain is always asking “Is this safe?” One brain may say “yes,” but another may consider the same thing as a threat. When we think of things that may cause neural ‘threat’ we must consider any area of the body (and the process) where the brain isn’t receiving good and accurate information.  We refer to this as “blurry maps.” Our brain has numerous maps of our body and its systems.  Where a map is blurry, the brain perceives threat.


We Rebuild a Proper Perception (or Brain Map)

Using the 8 Levels of Performance Model*, we systematically test different areas for threat. Then we re-train the brain that the perceived threat is not real. Most often we utilize a series of exercises and movements that help clear up the blurry spot in your brain’s map. Results can be assessed immediately. If the brain has not released the threat, we work until we find the source of the thread and the solution to it. In the end, our process is simple – Assess, Drill, Re-Assess, Repeat!

*Darrell utilizes proven neural training techniques developed by Dr. Eric Cobb of Z-Health Performance Solutions, through which he has achieved his neural performance training and certifications.

Dr. Cobb of Z-Health Explains Neurology

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