The Top 4 Ways to Build Explosive Power

There is benefit to being more explosive and powerful.  Being more powerful directly translates to being more athletic.  Speed and power diminish when we age, foot speed and balance are two important factors to live a long and healthy life.  This is because foot speed will help catch your fall when you’re older and you’re less likely to fall and break a bone or hip.

Being more powerful and explosive directly effects athletic performance by allowing you to display force quickly.  Whether that’s jumping higher, running faster or throwing a kick or punch.  


This blog is going to show you 4 of the most effective ways to increase your explosive power.  Whether you want to be more athletic, jump higher, run faster, perform better in everyday life or and throw a more power kick or punch.  I’m going to show you the most effective ways to do so.


Before we start it’s important to note that a base level of strength is paramount . A base level of strength directly or indirectly improves agility, speed, power and endurance.  Muscular strength allows you to display force quickly which increases power output.  Read my blog on how you can improve your strength.   Once you understand the principles of building strength then core must also be addressed.  


Building core strength is highly important and is arguably the first step, before any strength training should be under taken.  The role of the core is to stabilise and support the spine while the extremities are in motion.  Joe De franco talks about a sprinter.  When you watch the slow motion videos you see how rigid and stable the core is while the arms and legs are moving rapidly.  This is true core stabilisation.  Have a read of my blog on the function of the core and how to train it properly.  Once the core and your strength are on point then these strategies to build explosive power will be much more effective.


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Plyometrics 

Is a very effective (and popular) way to develop power.  If you want to become more explosive then it’s important you incorporate them into your training.  For true plyometric training to occur then the intensity of the movement must be high enough. (ground contact 0.2 secs or less) The forces produced between each ground contact must be high enough while spending minimal time on the ground.

Examples of plyometric training would be hurdle hops, bounding, skipping, and plyo push up variations.


Ballistics

These are exercises where you throw or release an object such as a medicine ball throw/slam.  This is veery effective at building power as there is no deceleration phase like when using barbells. 

Medicine balls throws are probably the most simple and effective ways to improve upper body power helping you throw faster or punch harder. A medicine ball shot put throw is a great example.  


The Dynamic Effort Method

This type of training was popularised by power lifting coach Louie Simmons.  The Dynamic Effort Method is performed by using 50-75% of your 1RM with the aim of moving the bar as fast as possible with good form throughout.  It is important to have complete control of the bar through the entire movement so this method should be used with more experienced lifters to receive full benefit.  You also want to find the right weight for you where it’s not too light or too heavy and you cant generate enough speed so the 50-75% range is generally the sweet spot.  

Train for multiple sets in a lower rep range with full recovery between sets as this ensures optimal speed and quality of movement when performing the movement.

The problem with using barbells to develop speed and power is that there is a declaration phase.  One way to over come this is to use bands or chains which decreases the time spent at the end range of a lift.  This also makes the bar is lighter in the bottom position and increases the tension as you move the bar through the full range of motion.  As the leverage increases so does the resistance on the barbell which makes you push harder to account for the added resistance. This reduces the amount of time you spend decelerating the bar because you have to push harder for longer.  This technique works great for bench pressing, squatting and deadlifting. 


Contrast Training

Contrast training is very effective way at developing power. Contrast training refers to performing a heavy strength set followed by an explosive movement in a common movement pattern.

An example would be performing a heavy set of bench press followed by a plyo push up, or med ball chest pass variation.  The idea is to excite the Type IIB type muscle fibres (fast twitch) while performing the strength based movement and transfer this heightened state into the same movement pattern at higher speeds.

Performing a muscle contraction through a heavy set before an explosive movement causes post activation potentiation (PAP) which enhances muscular performance helping you become more powerful and explosive. Have a look at a Lower Body example here. 


If you’re an athlete looking to improve your explosive power for your sport then get in touch.  Or if you know anyone then let me know.  I am starting to work with combat athletes while still helping everyday people become the best version of themselves.  Even if you’re not an athlete you can benefit from these strategies and is a nice way to mix up your training.