How to Learn Skills Faster

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In this episode, Dr. Huberman discusses the science and practice of learning physical skills: what it involves at a biological level and what to focus on during skill learning at each stage to maximize learning speed and depth. He also describes what to do immediately after a training session (note: this is different than the optimal protocol for cognitive skill training) and as you progress to more advanced levels of performance. He also covers the science of skill-based visualization, which does have benefits, but only if done correctly and at the correct times. Dr. Huberman discusses auto-replay of skill learning in the brain during sleep and the value of adding in post-training ‘deliberately idle’ sessions. He covers how to immediately improve limb-range-of-motion by leveraging cerebellum function, error generation, optimal repetition numbers for learning and more. As always, scientific mechanisms, peer-reviewed studies and science-based protocols are discussed.


  • 00:00:00 Introduction
  • 00:06:28 Skill Acquisition: Mental & Physical
  • 00:08:40 Clarification About Cold, Heat & Caffeine
  • 00:12:45 Tool: How To Quickly Eliminate the Side-Stitch ‘Cramp’ & Boost HRV Entrainment
  • 00:16:08 Physical Skills: Open-Loop Versus Closed-Loop
  • 00:18:50 Three Key Components To Any Skill
  • 00:21:00 Sources of Control for Movement: 1) CPGs Govern Rhythmic Learned Behavior
  • 00:23:30 Upper Motor Neurons for Deliberate Movement & Learning
  • 00:25:00 Lower Motor Neurons Control Action Execution
  • 00:25:26 What To Focus On While Learning
  • 00:27:10 The Reality of Skill Learning & the 10,000 Hours Myth
  • 00:28:30 Repetitions & The Super Mario Effect: Error Signals vs. Error Signals + Punishment
  • 00:34:00 Learning To Win, Every Time
  • 00:39:26 Errors Solve the Problem of What Focus On While Trying to Learn Skills
  • 00:43:00 Why Increasing Baseline Levels of Dopamine Prior To Learning Is Bad
  • 00:44:40 The Framing Effect (& Protocol Defined)
  • 00:46:10 A Note & Warning To Coaches
  • 00:48:30 What To Do Immediately After Your Physical Skill Learning Practice
  • 00:53:48 Leveraging Uncertainty
  • 00:56:59 What to Pay Attention To While Striving To Improve
  • 01:04:45 Protocol Synthesis Part One
  • 01:07:10 Super-Slow-Motion Learning Training: Only Useful After Some Proficiency Is Attained
  • 01:11:06 How To Move From Intermediate To Advanced Skill Execution faster: Metronomes
  • 01:16:44 Increasing Speed Even If It Means More Errors: Training Central Pattern Generators
  • 01:19:12 Integrated Learning: Leveraging Your Cerebellum (“Mini-Brain”)
  • 01:22:02 Protocol For Increasing Limb Range of Motion, Immediately
  • 01:28:30 Visualization/ Mental Rehearsal: How To Do It Correctly
  • 01:33:50 Results From 15 Minutes Per Day, 5 Days Per Week Visualization (vs. Actual Training)
  • 01:35:34 Imagining Something Is Very Different Than Actually Experiencing It
  • 01:37:58 Cadence Training & Learning “Carryover”
  • 01:39:00 Ingestible Compounds That Support Skill Learning: Motivation, Repetitions, Alpha-GPC
  • 01:43:39 Summary & Sequencing Tools: Reps, Fails, Idle Time, Sleep, Metronome, Visualization
  • 01:46:20 Density Training: Comparing Ultradian- & Non-Ultradian Training Sessions
  • 01:49:24 Cost-Free Ways to Support Us, Sponsors & Alternate Channels, Closing Remarks