Last Thursday I addressed the topic of deloading for the inaugural issue of #AskChallengerStrength. After explaining what a deload is and how to properly perform one, I also briefly discussed what to do before your first workout coming off a deload and how you can properly reactivate your Central Nervous System following a week designed to let it rest and recoup. Well, in light of that, today I will give you my three favorite Nervous System activating exercises that can not only be useful following a deload week, but can also be implemented as finishers to both your warm-up and training session. As a Certified Physical Preparation Specialist who comes from the training schooling of Joe DeFranco and Jim Smith, I will briefly explain their definition of what a CNS activating exercise entails. Basically Joe and Jim classify any jump, sprint, throw, or power intensive activity as one that will kick the CNS into high gear and properly activate it to allow for peak performance throughout your training or sporting event. So, here are my three favorite exercises!
Partner Tire Pushes
This is a great tire variation that can be used for partner and group training. Basically, you stand the tire up on its side and have one person on one side and one on the other. The two then proceed to push the tire back and forth as powerfully and quickly as possible hoping that they can drive the other off balance and essentially “win” the exercise. The short bursts and power intensive nature of the exercise make it a great way to fire up the CNS and prepare an athlete for their training. Also, it is a great way to capitalize on competitive nature to increase performance!
Overhead Medicine Ball Slams
I like this variation of a medicine ball throw because I feel that it not only activates the CNS but it also targets the core. Activating the core is also extremely important prior to a workout. In addition to this, this type of slam requires proper bracing (which is great to practice) and also does a nice job of working on the transfer of power throughout the body. You are loading upwards and then exploding back down in the opposite direction.
Box jumps are a great plyometric exercise to fire the CNS and also prepare for a lower body workout. There are a variety of ways to perform box jumps and they all focus on specific aspects of training. Start the exercise on your knees to make it more reactive (this is great for athletes), perform a depth jump prior to the box jump to help develop eccentric strength and acclimate the CNS to proper shock absorption, or add a weighted vest to make things even more challenging.
So, in the most cut and dry way for me to explain this, these exercises or jumps, sprints and throws in particular are great to implement in a number of situations. Following a deload week they are almost mandatory to do prior to a training session. Also, they are great to use at the end of any warm up prior to either training or sports specific activity. Furthermore, you can also utilize these movements as “finishers” or the ending to your workouts and training sessions.
Now, go ignite your nervous systems and reap the benefits in your training sessions!
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Gerry DeFilippo: ISSA CPT- CPPS, AAPS. Founder/Owner: Challenger Strength.