Wake up your body’s Central Nervous System
Wake up your body’s Central Nervous System (CNS) with activation drills.
Especially on days where you’re feeling tired, drained, heavy or slow, and definitely on early mornings before you’ve “woken up” - these movements will help ignite your CNS.
Benefits to CNS activation are fewer injuries and teaching your body to move with maximal force and velocity, and not only this, but it fires our neural signals. In order to activate a muscle, a neuron must fire a signal to our brain. Neuron's are nerve cells that build up our nervous system; hence why the brain is equally as important as muscle when it comes to strength.
Be explosive e.g using box jumps, broad jumps, med ball throws, slams, prowler sprints or plyometrics. (This is sub-maximal – think about developing speed, not using excess weight)
Perform an exercise near maximum intensity (eg >85% 1RM). This is called Post Activation Potentiation. (This might be a heavy deadlift for example. However, note that this is not always the safest way to ignite the CNS, given that we must lift heavy)
There are two rules to abide by when activating the CNS.
A) You must pair a similar movement to the exercise you are looking to perform.
If you are about to deadlift then think about the pattern you are using. A broad jump will have much greater carry-over to a deadlift than a clap pushup will. We are looking to activate the same muscles that will be utilized in the lift.
B) There is a short window in which this method will be effective. If you are priming your deadlift by doing broad jumps, then the deadlift should ideally occur within 3 to 12 minutes of completing the jump(s).
Here are some ideas for CNS primers to use for various exercises. The total volume of work should be kept low because we are looking to be explosive.
- Squats – Use vertical jumps or box jumps. 2 sets of 3 to 5 reps.
- Deadlift – Use a broad jump and/or ball slam (for lats). 2 sets of 3 to 5 reps.
- Bench Press – Plyometric push-ups or seal jacks (like jumping jacks but the arms meet in the front of your chest). 2 sets of 3 to 5 reps.
- Pull-ups – Banded pulldowns. 2 sets of 3 to 5 reps
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