We all know that warming up is important before exercising. It is one of the most important keys in preventing injuries and it helps us to perform even better. Learn how and why to fire up your central nervous system before a workout and how this will improve your performance.
A proper warm up increases our breathing and heart rate; it increases energy-releasing reactions in our muscles and stimulates blood flow to the muscles to supply them with more oxygen and to remove waste products. The same attention that goes towards a good warm up should go towards some exercises that fire up the Central Nervous System before a workout.
What is the Central Nervous System (CNS)? What does it do and how does it improve our performance?
The CNS is part of our nervous system that integrates the information that it receives from, and coordinates the activity of all parts of our body. In other words it controls all our motor functions.
The better we prepare our CNS before a workout, the better our performance will be.
Plyometric and other explosive movements are the ideal way to activate the CNS. Plyometric exercises, also called ‘plyos’ are based around muscles exerting a maximum force in the shortest possible time.
Plyometric movements are known for an eccentric muscle contraction immediately followed by a concentric contraction. The main goal of plyometric training is to increase speed and power but it also fires up our CNS.
Whether you’re trying to run at top speed or trying to lift or press maximum weights, always know that stimulating your CNS will improve your performance.
Have you ever seen sprinters do a few explosive knee-to-chest jumps just before the actually race? This is all about CNS stimulation.
Which exercises can I do to activate my Central Nervous System?
After performing a dynamic proper warm up, try a few plyometric movements and/or drills. It is important that these exercises mimic the specific movement drills or exercises that you’re planning to do in your workout. It doesn’t need to be the exact same movement but an approximation is fine.
Before doing a squat set, perform a few explosive jump squats, kettlebell swings or box jumps.
To get the most from a bench press, perform a few plyometric push-ups or do some medicine ball chest passes against a wall or to a partner.
Tuck jumps or an explosive high knee run, works really well before sprinting.
Make sure you don’t overdo it and don’t tire those muscles out. A few reps should be enough to fully wake up the muscles and fire up your central nervous system.
Give those fast twitch muscle fibers a signal to wake up and get ready for action!