One of the key brain areas that controls body movement is called the motor cortex. This area is located across the top of your head, spanning from ear to ear. Your motor cortex controls your muscles by sending electrical signals from its neurons to targeted groups of muscle fibers, causing them to contract. By combining these muscle contractions, your brain causes your body to move.
Movement is complex: each time your body moves, there are tens of thousands of neurons sending electrical signals. Whether you’re training for a marathon, learning a new piano piece, or working on your vertical, your brain needs to refine how it tells your muscles to make the complex movements required. The brain’s unique ability to fine-tune itself—called plasticity—allows it to do just that. Plasticity means your brain can strengthen existing connections between neurons and even form new functional pathways. Through this process, you progress from the raw, unrefined movements of a novice to the powerful, precise movements of an expert. Optimizing your motor cortex helps your muscles perform better in a number of ways.