With pre-activation you can train more effectively

With pre-activation you can train more effectively

If you train regularly, you naturally want to get the most out of your workout. One method with which you can effectively improve your speed is the so-called pre-activation. It increases your training performance by up to 5 percent.

Pre-activation shortly explained

The name almost speaks for itself: Pre-activation is about activating, warming up, or pumping up either individual muscles or whole muscle groups before the actual training. Some trainers also use the somewhat more complicated technical term conditioning activity for this. In recent years, sports science has deciphered what happens in the body during this process. They use the term “post-activation potentiation.” I’ll try to explain this in a somewhat understandable way:

  • During pre-activation, a process called phosphorylation of myosin chains takes place. This process causes your muscles to alternately contract and relax very quickly.
  • Pre-activation also makes your muscles more responsive. The technical term for this is motoneuronal excitability.
  • Last but not least, the so-called muscle flexion angle improves. This effect means that you are then able to exert more force.

Pre-activation in practice

The question now, of course, is what pre-activation looks like in practice. Fortunately, it is quite simple. The exercises depend on the type of load that follows. So if you train your lower extremities, you have to pre-activate your leg muscles. If the muscles of the upper extremities are required, then the upper body. If you want to train the whole body, you do exercises for the lower and upper extremities. Two examples for the lower extremities:

Pre-activation of the core

An excellent exercise to reactivate the core is the so-called horizontal rotation. You attach the resistance band at about chest height, stand sideways with your knees slightly bent, grasp the bands with both hands and bend your arms a little. From this position, quickly pull the band sideways in front of your body again and again. The strength comes exclusively from your core and shoulder muscles. Three times for ten to 15 seconds on each side is ideal.

Pre-activation with resistance bands
Pre-activation with resistance bands (ⓒadpic)

Good warm-up and correct movement technique

There are three things to keep in mind when doing pre-activation:

  • You should only do it if you already have a certain level of performance.
  • It is necessary to warm up well beforehand.
  • You should have a good command of the movements for all exercises. It is best to train under supervision or with a partner to make any necessary corrections.
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