The Significance of Muscle Memory

I mentioned in an earlier post that I recently participated in live fire drills with my militia company. One of the things our CO kept talking about was developing ‘muscle memory’. My husband and I had discussed this concept before, so I was familiar with the term. Muscle memory refers to the training of your brain to remember actions or a series of actions, performed the same way time after time. It’s much like forming a habit of accomplishing the same goal, the same way every time you set out to do it. Utilizing this natural ability will allow us to make less errors in execution and perform our tasks efficiently and as quickly as possible.
So how do we develop ‘muscle memory’? It’s simple-we practice. One of the drills we worked on this past weekend was swapping magazines. We repeatedly ran through the motions of firing two shots, dropping our empty magazine, replacing the magazine and resumed firing another two shots. Our CO timed us for the first round, then we ran it through five times, then he timed us again. Everyone on the team showed marked time improvement. Because we were repeating the same motions over and over again, the next time we did it, our brain was working more efficiently and quickly because it remembered the lessons from the times before. That, my friends is muscle memory.
Our CO showed us several other drills with slight variations and most of the team found that initially when we changed the sequence slightly, our automatic method, aka muscle memory wanted to revert back to the original method. We had to consciously make a decision to perform the task in a different way. Our CO reiterated that we needed to practice the drills repeatedly until our brains recognized without second thought or hesitation, which method we were using and performed the task needed for the desired result.
It was a fun day at the range and we learned so much that we could take away and put into action at home. I plan on practicing the drills, as my CO suggested, until my range of motions are automatic and running like a well oiled machine.
Pew. Pew.


2 responses

  1. Muscle memory is something I use a lot except not quite as you might expect it.
    I learned to pick locks. Initially for fun then worked out that come the collapse of everything it might be a good idea to learn how to get into things. Different locks need a different touch and endlessly repeating the process has allowed me to literally pick “blind” in no light scenarios.
    Like I said, an unusual use for muscle memory aka “the touch”.

    1. ha ha, excellent skill that I agree, will prove useful once shtf.

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