What if I told you that building muscle through resistance training might not be enough? There are many aspects to increase your muscle strength and resistance training is just one of them. Another equally important factor in muscle force output enhancement is your brain. Your muscles are activated by your neurons, which makes your neural output significant for muscle building. Increasing your neural output from your central nervous system allows you to produce more force.
Increasing your neural output will allow you to develop muscular strength without significant hypertrophy and without accumulating excess water weight. One way to increase your neural output is to commit to repetitive strength training. This leads to increased motor unit activation and greater strength production. Proper form is a vital element for the brain to activate the right muscle fibers and strengthen to correct pathways.
4 EXERCISES TO INCREASE YOUR NEURAL OUTPUT
You can become faster, leaner, and more athletic by increasing your neural output. This will enable you to increase the amount of weight you can move while also increasing the speed at which you can move that weight. Implement the following exercises into your training program to unlock your athletic potential. Perform these exercises at least twice a week for faster results.
Sprints increase your agility and speed endurance. Sprinting not only helps you develop speed, but also muscle. Thanks to the explosive moment, you are able to define your glutes, hams, quads, and significantly reduce the fat layers over these muscles. Additionally, sprint training improves your heart and lung health, enhances blood flow, metabolism, optimal hormonal levels, and promotes better cognition.
Instructions: 4 sets x 50 yards each
- Stretch before sprinting to improve your sprint time and avoid injury.
- Start sprinting with proper form at about 70% intensity and increase your intensity by 10% with each sprint.
- Rest for 2 to 5 minutes in between sprints.
2. Clean & Press
This classic strength training exercise primarily targets your shoulder muscles. However, the movement recruits and works other muscles as well, such as our traps, triceps, abs, middle back, lower back, glutes, quads, hams, and calves. This makes the clean and press a full body exercise that can significantly impact your strength, not just hypertrophy.
Instructions: 5 sets x 4-8 reps
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and make sure your knees are inside the arms.
- Bend your knees and hips and maintaining s neutral spine, fully extend your arms to grasp a bar with a slightly wider than shoulder width pronated grip.
- Keep the bar close to your shins and point your elbows out to the sides. Make sure your back is flat and that your shoulder is slightly over the bar to ensure proper form.
- Pull the bar by extending your knees while moving your hips forward and raising your shoulders. Keep the bar close to your body at all times.
- When the bar passes your knees, explosively extend your ankles, knees, and hips, and pull the bar as high as you can.
- Pull yourself under the bar and descend into a squat position as you do it.
- Rack the bar across the front of your shoulder while keeping your torso straight and only flexing at the knees and hips.
- Stand up and from a clean position, press the bar over your head.
- Lower the bar with a controlled movement and repeat!
3. Barbell Snatch
The snatch is a great exercise to help you develop strength, improve your body composition, build explosive strength, and increase your muscle mass. Additionally, the snatch helps you improve mind-muscle coordination and enhanced connective tissue strength. Because this is a more complex exercise, make sure you follow the power-building tips in our article: MASTER THE SNATCH WITH THESE POWER-BUILDING TIPS.
Instructions: 5 sets x 4-8 reps
- Stand over your barbell with the balls of your feet under the bar at hip width or slightly wider.
- Squat down and grip the bar with a wide overhand grip.
- Position your shoulders over the bar with your back slightly arched.
- Make sure your arms are straight and your elbows are pointed along the bar.
- Pull the bar up off the floor by extending your hips and knees.
- Keep your back arched until the bar reaches your knees and maintain the same angle to the floor as in your starting position.
- Once the barbell is past the knees, vigorously raise your shoulders and keep the bar as close to your legs as possible.
- Allow the barbell to make contact with your thighs as soon as it passes your upper thighs.
- Shrug your shoulders and pull the bra upwards with your arms, allowing your elbows to pull up to your sides, but keep them over the bar as long as you can.
- Explosively pull your body under the bar and catch it at arm's length just before your knees bend to slightly lower than a 90-degree angle.
- Lock out your arms in the partial squat position and immediately stand up with the barbell over your head, so that your thighs don't ride lower than parallel to the floor.
- Slightly bend your knees and lower the barbell to mid-thigh position.
- Lower the bar slowly with a taut lower back and keep your trunk as close to a vertical position as you can.
- Once you gain some experience, you can simply unload (drop) the bar from the completed position.
4. Overhead Lunge Barbell Press
This advanced weighted lunge exercise is a great way to develop your lower body and shoulder strength. While it primarily hits your quads, the movement also recruits your shoulders, abs, and requires a good deal of core stability. If you know how to perform lunges and overhead presses, this is a great way to advance and combine the two into one effective exercise.
Instructions: 5 sets x 4-8 reps
- Stand with your feet about hip-width apart and grasp a barbell with a slightly wider than shoulder-width overhand grip. Keep the bar just above your just and below your chin.
- Press the bar upwards until your arms are fully extended and step with one foot forward to descend into a lunge position.
- Make sure you keep your torso upright as you hold the deep lunge position with the bar over your head.
- Drive through your front foot to return to the starting position.
- Switch legs and repeat!
By increasing your neural output, you accelerate the creation and coordination of neuro-muscular connections which help you develop more strength. This type of superior strength helps you excel at other supports and form of training that you are involved in, as well as decreasing the time it takes you to develop explosiveness or maximal force.
If you want to unlock your full athletic potential, focus your training on increasing your neural output and make sure you implement these exercise into your training regimen. Performing these at least twice a week will help you become faster and agiler, ultimately enabling you to smash your goals, whether they are hypertrophy or strength related goals.