Alessandro Del Vecchio

Sensing and decoding the neural drive to muscles: implications for strength and conditioning

Spinal motor units interface the human body with the environment. Changes in motor behaviour are ultimately reflected in the discharge characteristics of spinal motor units. Therefore, acute and longitudinal changes in spinal motor unit behaviour represent a window in the neural and muscular mechanisms underlying sensorimotor adaptations. I will discuss how motor units respond to sustained fatiguing contractions and how the behaviour of these neural ensembles is changed with weeks of strength training. Moreover, the discussion will include recent results on the study of common synaptic inputs and force control. These results show that synergistic motor units receive a few dominant common inputs which are responsible for the coordination of multiple number of muscles. The results indicate that the motor unit pools constitute a highly dynamic neural substrate where alterations in firing behaviour closely match the behavioural output.

Alessandro Del Vecchio - Biosketch

Prof. Del Vecchio received bachelor and master’s in human Movement Science and Exercise Physiology from the University of Parma and Loughborough University. Successively, he completed Doctoral and Post-doctoral training at the University of Rome “Foro Italico” and Imperial College London. He is now leading the laboratory of Neuromuscular Physiology and Neural interfacing at the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU). He is interested in the neural control of movement and how these changes with acute and longitudinal interventions. He is involved in a number of projects with translational activities for both human/machine interfaces and exercise physiology.

Assistant Professor

Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg

Henkestraße 91, 91052 Erlangen, Germany