How Activating the Central Nervous System Before a Workout Improves Performance

A correct warm-up earlier than you start a weight lifting session can set the stage for enhanced efficiency, scale back dangers of damage, and show you how to mentally and bodily transition from prior actions to your exercise.

One important issue of any well-designed warm-up can also be usually ignored—priming your central nervous system (CNS) for motion. Your central nervous system sends messages to your muscle mass to organize them for desired actions. The higher you’ll be able to talk the intentions you’ve got to your coaching along with your physique, the higher you’ll really feel and carry out throughout your exercise.

Whereas this will appear to be a high-level technique meant for high-performing athletes, it most definitely is just not. Activating your CNS is an easy course of that may be achieved from anyplace, no matter whether or not you’re a newbie performing body weight workouts or a complicated lifter hoping to take your progress to the following degree.

Actions of The Central Nervous System

Your CNS consists of your mind and spinal twine. This central communication system makes use of one other a part of your nervous system known as the peripheral nervous system (PNS) to ship and obtain messages all through your physique.

Raquel Harris, Coach and Gold Medal Winner

When figuring out, it regulates our respiration, motion, and muscle contraction.

— Raquel Harris, Coach and Gold Medal Winner

The PNS is related to your complete physique and the mind and spinal twine (CNS). Nerves run by your physique, receiving indicators out of your CNS to your muscle mass, fibers, and organs and sending precious info again to your mind.

There are two forms of programs throughout the PNS—somatic and autonomic. Somatic nervous system actions are these you management by voluntary efforts similar to deciding to select one thing up. The autonomic system is involuntary and consists of actions similar to respiration or your coronary heart beating.

To correctly put together your physique for the extreme work of a energy coaching session, or one other bodily exercise, sending the right messages by your autonomic nervous system is important. This might sound complicated as a result of this side of your nervous system is involuntary, however you’ll be able to nonetheless talk your intentions so your physique is ready for work and able to carry out.

“The central nervous system is chargeable for processing info and influencing bodily exercise,” says Raquel Harris, FightCamp coach and Group USA Gold Medal World Championship winner. “When figuring out, it regulates our respiration, motion, and muscle contraction.”

Parasympathetic and Sympathetic States

Your autonomic nervous system has two subcategories—parasympathetic and sympathetic. The sympathetic nervous system helps your physique get able to face stress together with bodily stress.

You have got seemingly heard of “combat, flight, or freeze.” This description of your nervous system response is the sympathetic side. Likewise, the parasympathetic nervous system is chargeable for leisure and de-stressing, additionally described as “relaxation and digest.”

It’s sensible to carry out some calming actions and actions after your exercise to return your physique to a parasympathetic state.

This will embody stretching, mendacity along with your legs elevated, stress-free yoga poses like corpse pose, and field respiration. You may as well take a heat bathe or tub, foam roll, or get a therapeutic massage. Returning to a relaxed state will help in restoration and scale back stress hormone manufacturing.

Why Activating Your CNS Is Essential

Activating your CNS can enhance your efficiency and stop accidents. Consider the method as a method of waking up and alerting your complete physique to what you might be about to do.

Earlier than you start a coaching session, speaking to your physique that you’re going right into a bodily irritating scenario will assist your complete physique and mind put together for the work forward. This idea is called post-activation potentiation (PAP). PAP helps enhance power and energy manufacturing, which in flip enhances your weight lifting efficiency.

Waking up and activating your nervous system can assist enhance the variety of motor items you recruit. Motor items produce the power behind any voluntary or involuntary motion within the physique and supply the power essential to elevate weights.

Everytime you practice, your mind is attempting to adapt and be taught what you might be doing and the aim for it. The time period “muscle reminiscence” describes this interplay.

In case you have ever began up a brand new energy coaching routine for the primary time or after an prolonged break, you could have felt awkward for the primary few classes, and even weeks, relying in your prior expertise.

Nonetheless, after getting accomplished a number of classes, you seemingly have felt more proficient at performing the actions and may considerably enhance your weights, repetitions, or each. This phenomenon has extra to do along with your neural drive and “muscle reminiscence” than it has to do along with your true potential bodily talents.

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Coaching your CNS to get up and listen can enhance the chance that you’ll develop a strong mind-muscle connection and the muscle reminiscence that can carry ahead into your future coaching.

The right way to Activate Your CNS for Resistance Coaching

After the entire scientific background behind the central nervous system’s position in coaching, it might appear daunting to place it into apply. Nonetheless, activating your CNS earlier than resistance coaching is pretty easy and is neither time-consuming nor tough.

Carry out a Normal Heat-Up

Step one is to carry out a basic warm-up. Normal warm-ups ought to use giant muscle teams and be of low depth.

You do not need to exhaust your self earlier than you’ve got begun the precise work. A basic warm-up supplies the next advantages to organize your CNS (and full physique) for work:

  • Will increase blood movement
  • Enhances nerve impulse pace
  • Will increase nutrient supply to working muscle mass
  • Removes metabolic by-products quicker
  • Facilitates the discharge of oxygen from hemoglobin and myoglobin
  • Warms muscle mass, so that they contract extra successfully, resulting in elevated power manufacturing
  • Lowers joints’ resistance to movement through elevated synovial fluid uptake (joint lubrication)
  • Will increase joint vary of movement
  • Improves joint resiliency
  • Reduces threat of damage

Performing a basic warm-up is straightforward. Any cardio exercise will work, so select something you favor. This may be the usage of a rowing machine, elliptical coach, stair climber, treadmill, or performing body weight actions similar to gentle leaping jacks or jogging in place.

Including some dynamic actions with body weight will additional show you how to ramp up in preparation for extra explosive actions. Use the ranking of perceived exertion scale (RPE) of 1 to 10 to find out your basic warm-up effort.

Persist with an exertion ranking of between 5 to six, which is akin to a moderate-paced stroll or gradual jog. It is best to be capable of converse clearly with out taking a pause throughout this quantity of effort.

“Earlier than firing up your CNS with explosive actions, lead your exercise with a dynamic warm-up,” says Harris. “After finishing your warm-up, construct up into your explosive actions to provide your muscle mass time to get acclimated to your closing motion.”

Incorporate Explosive Actions

Explosive actions can excite and put together your CNS for lifting weights, particularly if they’re heavy, use a number of muscle teams, and subsequently require quite a lot of neural exercise and power manufacturing. Most of these actions require energy and pace.

Plyometric workouts are a superb instance of this. You’ll be able to streamline your warm-up by performing explosive actions that correspond with the physique components and muscle teams you may be coaching in that session.

As an illustration, earlier than a coaching session involving barbell squats, you’ll be able to carry out leap squats, broad jumps, or field jumps. Earlier than deadlifting, you would carry out kettlebell swings, cleans, or snatches. Previous to bench urgent, strive plyometric push-ups or medication ball chest slams or presses. These actions will even serve double obligation by elevating your coronary heart charge, rising blood movement, and bettering mobility earlier than you elevate.

Ideas for Explosive Heat-Ups

Listed below are some tricks to take advantage of your explosive warm-up:

  • Select a motion that corresponds with the principle physique half being skilled.
  • Carry out the train earlier than your set and/or in between units.
  • Preserve the warm-up motion transient in order that you don’t fatigue the muscle.
  • Use maximal effort throughout the motion.
  • Strive performing two units of three to five reps per physique half being labored that session.

One other method to prime your CNS for motion is to strategy your most effort on a elevate. Nonetheless, this technique is riskier for rookies and may solely be carried out in case you have a spotter and are an skilled lifter.

To do it, carry out an train near your most depth similar to 85% 1RM. That is sometimes achieved by athletes previous to performing high-velocity actions similar to sprints, or leaping.

A Phrase From Verywell

Warming up your physique helps put together you for the work forward. Activating your central nervous system will increase your efficiency by rising motor neuron recruitment and interesting your sympathetic nervous system so you’ll be able to higher deal with the bodily stressors forward.

Though this course of could appear advanced, priming your nervous system is so simple as warming up with some gentle cardio exercise earlier than performing some explosive actions that get up the muscle mass being labored. Do that technique earlier than your subsequent exercise to see elevated efficiency and decreased damage dangers.

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