Tip: Activate Your CNS, Then Lift Heavy

Do this first and you'll lift more weight and have fewer injuries.

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Is Your Body's Computer Turned On?

All the drills you may do to "fire your glutes" or "wake up your rotator cuff" won't be nearly as effective if you didn't activate the computer – your central nervous system – first. Specific activation makes a muscle (neuromuscular junction) more sensitive to the neural drive. But if your CNS isn't efficient at sending the signal you won't get much out of the specific work.

According to Dr. Philippe Croisetiere, who specializes in the nervous system, you can't properly activate a specific muscle or region if the central nervous system isn't already activated. So how do you activate the CNS?

Get Explosive

The first thing to do, after a general warm-up to elevate body temperature, is to use an explosive drill to fire up the CNS. Any type of explosive activity will do. For example, I prefer either a jump variation or Prowler sprints before bench pressing. We don't want to use the upper body too much at this point.

Prowler Sprint


Do 2-3 sets of 5 jumps (box jumps, vertical jump, jumping with a kettlebell, hurdle jump, etc.) or two or three 20-30 meter sprints with a light load on the Prowler or sled.

Christian Thibaudeau specializes in building bodies that perform as well as they look. He is one of the most sought-after coaches by the world's top athletes and bodybuilders. Check out the Christian Thibaudeau Coaching Forum.