Priming the CNS for Maximal Performance

Jun 15th, 2015

Category: Zone Tips

Priming the CNS for Maximal Performance

What You Need to Know

-The Central Nervous System (CNS) controls the speed of muscular contraction, the number of muscle fibers that get recruited, and coordinates muscular effort between muscle groups.
-Simply performing a global warm up for the muscles and joints is not enough if you’re trying to display maximal levels of power and strength.
-Preparing your body to produce maximal force and move at high velocities can be achieved by including explosive/ballistic exercises prior to heavy maximal effort strength exercises.
-Loading with heavy strength exercises prior to athletic events can improve sprinting and jumping performance.

 

How to Prime the CNS

            The human body is a complex high performance machine, capable of producing tremendous amounts of force and displaying incredible feats of strength and power. Yet many of us fall victim to expecting high performance on demand, and that if we perform a few stretches and a couple warm up sets we are ready for the big show. If you want to achieve your highest level of performance potential, you must prime your CNS.
            The CNS receives and transmits signals to control and coordinate muscular action. It controls speed of muscular contraction, the number of muscle fibers that get recruited, and coordinates muscular effort between muscle groups for complex movements. For basic everyday muscular functions the CNS does not need to be primed to get the job done, but if your trying to set a new record for your bench press or vertical jump, your CNS must be on full throttle.
            Simply performing a global warm up for the muscles and joints is not enough to prime the CNS. Priming the CNS can be achieved by performing a few sets of explosive/ballistic exercises or heavy strength exercises prior to the exercise/event you’ll be performing at maximal effort.  If you’re testing your max in a strength exercise (bench press, squat, deadlift, etc.) perform 3 sets of 3-5 reps of an explosive exercise that mimics the exercise you’re testing (clap push up, box jumps, broad jumps). If you’re attempting a new record in an athletic event (vertical jump, broad jump, sprint, etc.) perform 3 sets of 3-5 reps of a strength exercise that mimics the exercise your testing (squat, deadlift, power clean). Remember your using these exercises to prime your CNS, so don’t go overboard with your reps and fatigue your muscles prior to testing.

 

Summary

-Priming the CNS prior to testing a maximal effort in strength or power, will lead to improved performance.
-Prime your CNS after performing your basic warm up.
-Perform 3 sets of 3-5 reps of explosive/ballistic exercises (med-ball throws, box jumps, kettlebell swings) to prime the CNS for maximal effort strength exercises (bench press, squats, deadlifts).
-Perform 3 sets of 3-5 reps of heavy strength exercises (squats, deadlifts, power cleans) to prime the CNS for testing in athletic events (vertical jump, broad jump, sprints).
-Remember not to build up fatigue with your CNS priming exercises, keep your set and rep volume low and allow adequate recovery time between sets.