5 Explosive Moves for a Better Warmup

Use these five explosive moves to prime your CNS to enhance your workouts.

Use these five exercises to prime your CNS to enhance your workouts.

By Andrew Gutman, Muscle & Fitness

To get warm and loose, a light jog on the treadmill and a dynamic warmup are must-dos before any training session. But it turns out that there’s a third piece to the pretraining puzzle that you’re probably missing: CNS priming.

Short for “central nervous system,” your CNS is your body’s control center. It acts as the middleman between your brain and your muscles. For example: Let’s say you’re deadlifting—your feet are in place, your hands are gripping the bar, and you’re ready to drop your hips and pull. To initiate any of these actions, your brain shoots off a signal to your CNS, which then causes your muscles and joints to react accordingly.

Like your muscles—which can underperform if they’re not well rested or you didn’t warm up properly—your CNS can be fatigued. As a result, you’ll feel tired and slow, and weight that may normally be easy for you will start to feel like a grind, according to Andrew Triana, a trainer to elite-level Strongman competitors and the co-owner of the Performance Vibe (, a fitness community that offers nutrition and performance coaching.

“Luckily, we have the power to prepare our CNS to train,” Triana says. “When your CNS is excited, or primed, you feel you can flex hard and focus deeply. Imagine it as paving the way for your middleman to hit less traffic and make all the green lights on the way from your brain to the muscular contraction.”

To achieve this, Triana recommends performing any of the plyometric moves, or primers, outlined on the following pages. They’ll wake up your CNS without burning you out to get you ready for big lifts.


Start out by performing just one or two of the moves you see here before a training session, and be sure to keep track of how many reps it takes for you to feel “turned on.”

“When you’re ready to go, it’s very noticeable,” Triana says. “You’ll be sweating slightly, you’ll feel mentally in the zone, the reps will feel easier, and you should feel lighter and more nimble.” All five of these moves are similar in terms of how they prime you to lift, so feel free to pick a few favorites and stick with them or cycle through them. “Think of them as tools to have in your toolbox,” Triana adds.


  • Do them before your typical warmup and mobility work.
  • Before each rep, take a deep breath. Make sure you’re focused before initiating the movement.
  • Adhere to the set prescription listed for each move. For reps, don’t exceed four per set. Each rep should feel better than the last. However, if you’re doing these on a nonlifting or easy day, you can go two to three reps past when you feel “awake” to help increase your power output.
  • Use a light weight. “My World’s Strongest Man competitors use between eight- and 12-pound medicine balls for all of these,” Triana says. “So pick a light weight, between four and eight pounds, and be as explosive as possible. Speed is king.”
  • Rest 45 to 90 seconds between sets if you perform one or two reps; rest two minutes between sets for any number of reps beyond that.

Double or Single) Chest Pass Broad Jump

SETS: 6 to 15

HOW: Stand tall with your toes pointing forward, holding a medicine ball at sternum level. Load your hips by driving them back, as if you were performing a deadlift, and then drive them forward to propel yourself off the balls of your feet. (You can choose to jump once or twice.) Follow through with your arms and let the ball go. The goal is to generate force from the legs and transfer it into your arms.

TRIANA SAYS: “Gaze into the distance and aim to toss the ball in a straight line.”

Reactive Scoop Toss

SETS: 3 to 6 per side

HOW: You’ll want a ball that bounces back for this primer. Set up about two to three feet from a wall, facing perpendicular to it, and holding a ball at hip level. Swing it back and then, keeping the arc of the ball at hip level, rotate your trunk and release it forward. Let the ball bounce back and then fluidly begin the next rep.

TRIANA SAYS: “Aim for repeatability first, then force production. Also, squeeze the hell out of the ball to better activate your arms.”

Rotational Slam

SETS: 4 to 8

HOW: Cup both of your hands closely together around the bottom of a medicine ball. If slamming to the left, start with the ball loaded on your left hip. Then forcefully rotate your trunk, pushing and pivoting off your right foot, to bring the ball up and around the right side of your body until you slam the ball to the left of your body. If you’re performing multiple reps, then catch the ball and immediately begin the next rep.

TRIANA SAYS: “The key for this one is to perform the move as violently as possible and to exaggerate the range of motion as you twist with your upper body. For a smooth finish, be sure to look at where you want the ball to land.”

Step To Scoop Toss

SETS: 3 to 6 per side

HOW: Hold a medicine ball at hip level. Brace your core and take a belly breath. Take a lateral step, crossing your back leg behind your front leg. Once your front foot is planted, rotate your torso, bringing the ball across your hips, until your arms are fully extended. Release the medicine ball, scooping the ball up from hip level, and send it soaring in a straight line.

TRIANA SAYS: “Step slowly and load your back leg like a slingshot, then twist and throw the ball violently. Also, be sure to keep your hands soft on the ball. This lets you better transfer force from your trunk, as your arms aren’t as stiff.”

Drop Vertical Jump

SETS: 5 to 10

HOW: Stand on a six-to-12-inch box. Step off the box with one foot, and when your second foot touches the ground, immediately swing your arms up and jump as high as you can. You should land with both arms reaching forward and your body stable. Also, at no point should your hips dip lower than a quarter-squat.

TRIANA SAYS: “Drop off the box like dead weight. Then explode quickly and with intent, and be sure to use your arms to help you rebound and jump faster.”

See more at: Muscle & Fitness


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Men's Magazine: 5 Explosive Moves for a Better Warmup
5 Explosive Moves for a Better Warmup
Use these five explosive moves to prime your CNS to enhance your workouts.
Men's Magazine
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