Tag Archives: power exercises

7 Ways to Build Explosive Strength

17 Jul

Explosive strength is the key to performance in most sports. It’s the ability to move things—including your own body—really fast.

Whether you’re running, jumping, hitting or throwing, you need to apply maximum force as quickly as possible. This is power. There may be people out there who are stronger than professional athletes, but they aren’t on the field or on the court for one reason. They can’t apply their strength quickly enough.

So how you do you develop power? It all starts with your core—and I don’t mean just your abs. Explosive force is produced from your torso and hips.

To improve this ability, you must perform exercises explosively and emphasize hip extension. Your goal isn’t to max out but to perform each rep with maximum strength and speed.

Some of my favorite exercises for building explosive power include:

  • Squats
  • Trap Bar Deadlift and Romanian Deadlift
  • Step-Ups and Lunges
  • Hang Clean (my favorite) and Push Press
  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Plyo Push-Ups
  • Sled Drives, Hill Runs, and Parachute Runs

Perform your power exercises towards the beginning of your workout, directly after your dynamic warm-up. Since you won’t be fatigued from other exercise, you’ll be able to do each rep with max intensity.

For any weightlifting power exercise, aim for three to five sets of three to five reps at 75 to 85 percent of your max and rest for two to three minutes between sets. For plyometrics and sprinting drills, make sure to recover fully between sets, resting three to five times longer than the duration of the exercise.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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Strength Training Improves Change-of-Direction Speed

7 Jun

Regardless of the sport you play, strength and speed are “difference makers.”  And, although linear sprint speed is important, most athletes will need to change direction while moving at high-speed.

This is another area where strength training becomes important to an athlete’s development.

The development of strength and power through the core, hips, and lower extremities has a positive effect on change-of-direction (COD) performance.  Research shows a high correlation between 1-repetition maximum/body mass and COD in exercises like squats and deadlifts.

In addition to the squat and deadlift exercises, the leg press and split squat are also beneficial to the development of hip and leg drive.

Single-leg exercises, like the single-leg squat, step-up, and Bulgarian split squat, add an element of balance and stability to your lower-extremity strength development.

Plyometric exercises, like box jumps and depth jumps, can help you build explosive power, improving the amount of force you are able to generate against the ground.

Since long-term (>2 years) strength training improves COD performance, it is recommended as early as childhood and adolescence.  Consult with a knowledgeable, experienced strength and conditioning professional for guidance regarding an age-appropriate, well-designed, and well-supervised program.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

7 Ways to Build Explosive Strength

3 Mar

Dumbbell-Squat[1]Explosive strength is the key to performance in most sports. It’s the ability to move things—including your own body—really fast.

Whether you’re running, jumping, hitting or throwing, you need to apply maximum force as quickly as possible. This is power. There may be people out there who are stronger than professional athletes, but they aren’t on the field or on the court for one reason. They can’t apply their strength quickly enough.

So how you do you develop power? It all starts with your core—and I don’t mean just your abs. Explosive force is produced from your torso and hips.

To improve this ability, you must perform exercises explosively and emphasize hip extension. Your goal isn’t to max out but to perform each rep with maximum strength and speed.

Some of my favorite exercises for building explosive power include:

  • Squats
  • Trap Bar Deadlift and Romanian Deadlift
  • Step-Ups and Lunges
  • Hang Clean (my favorite) and Push Press
  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Plyo Push-Ups
  • Sled Drives, Hill Runs, and Parachute Runs

Perform your power exercises towards the beginning of your workout, directly after your dynamic warm-up. Since you won’t be fatigued from other exercise, you’ll be able to do each rep with max intensity.

For any weightlifting power exercise, aim for three to five sets of three to five reps at 75 to 85 percent of your max and rest for two to three minutes between sets. For plyometrics and sprinting drills, make sure to recover fully between sets, resting three to five times longer than the duration of the exercise.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Strength Training Improves Change-of-Direction Speed

29 Jan

thCA0WWFVVRegardless of the sport you play, strength and speed are “difference makers.”  And, although linear sprint speed is important, most athletes will need to change direction while moving at high-speed.

This is another area where strength training becomes important to the athlete’s development.

The development of strength and power through the core, hips, and lower extremities has a positive effect on change-of-direction (COD) performance.  Research shows a high correlation between 1-repetition maximum/body mass and COD in exercises like squats and deadlifts.

In addition to the squat and deadlift exercises, the leg press and split squat are also beneficial to the development of hip and leg drive.

Single-leg exercises, like the single-leg squat, step-up, and Bulgarian split squat, add an element of balance and stability to your lower-extremity strength development.

Plyometric exercises, like box jumps and depth jumps, can help you build explosive power, improving the amount of force you are able to generate against the ground.

Since long-term (>2 years) strength training improves COD performance, it is recommended as early as childhood and adolescence.  Consult with a knowledgeable, experienced strength and conditioning professional for guidance regarding an age-appropriate, well-designed, and well-supervised program.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Resistance Training, Part 4: Exercise Order

5 Oct

Exercise order refers to a sequence of resistance exercises performed during one training session.  Exercises are usually arranged so those requiring maximal force and proper exercise technique are performed at the beginning of a workout.

Power exercises (for example, the snatch, hang clean, power clean, and push jerk) should be performed first in a training session, since they require explosive movement, extensive muscular involvement, and significant energy expenditure.  They should be followed by non-power, core (multi-joint) exercises, such as the squat and bench press.  Assistance (single-joint) exercises – those that recruit smaller muscle groups – are usually performed toward the end of a workout.

Rest and recovery, between sets, is important; especially when training with maximal or near-maximal loads.  One way for athletes to get adequate rest between sets is to use an alternated upper- and lower-body exercise strategy.  The athlete can perform an upper-body exercise, followed immediately by a lower-body exercise (The upper-body works while the lower-body rests, and vice-versa).  This arrangement is helpful for untrained individuals. or if training time is limited.

Alternated “push and “pull” exercises (also known as agonist-antagonist paired sets) improve recovery between sets by alternating pushing exercises (for example, bench press, shoulder press) with pulling exercises (bent-over row, lat pulldown).  This is our preferred exercise strategy at Athletic Performance Training Center.  The push-pull arrangement ensures that the same muscle group will not be used for two consecutive exercises, while maximizing efficiency.  It’s great for developing strength and muscle balance, and as an injury prevention strategy.

I don’t really like the term, “superset,” because it’s not very specific.  Generally, a superset is used to describe two exercises performed without rest in between.  For an overview on different (and more specific) types of superset training, please refer to my previous post, Strength Training Strategies.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Next: Training Load and Repetitions

Resistance Training, Part 2: Exercise Selection

1 Oct

Exercise selection involves choosing exercises for a resistance training program.  The Strength and Conditioning professional must understand and apply several factors to the design of a resistance training program, including types of exercises, demands of the sport, the athlete’s exercise technique proficiency, and available training resources (equipment, time, etc.).

There are literally hundreds of resistance exercises to choose from, using a variety of equipment, when designing a resistance training program:

  • Core exercises recruit large muscles (chest, shoulders, back, hip, or thigh) and involve two or more primary joints (multi-joint exercises).  Core exercises often have direct application to athletic performance.
  • Single-joint exercises usually recruit smaller muscles (arms, lower legs, etc.) and are considered less important to improving athletic performance.
  • Injury prevention exercises (for example, shoulder exercises for pitchers) are important because they develop muscles that are predisposed to injury from the unique demands of the sport.  These exercises often isolate a specific muscle or muscle group.
  • Structural exercises, which emphasize loading the spine directly (barbell back squat) involve muscular stabilization and strength.
  • Power exercises are structural exercises that are performed explosively, like Olympic lifts (power clean).
  • Sport-specific exercises correlate the training activity with the actual sport movement, increasing the likelihood that there will be a positive transfer to that sport.  For basketball and volleyball players, the power clean is a good choice because it’s specific to jumping.

Exercises chosen for the specific demands of the sport should maintain a balance of muscular strength across joints and between opposing muscle groups.  At Athletic Performance Training Center, we employ agonist-antagonist paired sets (for example, pairing a quadriceps exercise with a hamstring exercise) in our Strength training.  In addition to Strength development, this approach has been documented to help reduce the incidence of injuries.

The exercises selected for a resistance training program should reflect the demands and characteristics of the sport.  Exercises should be similar to the movement patterns and ranges of motion, and involve similar muscles (and muscle groups) as the sport.  The program design should also emphasize balance to reduce risk of injury.

Proper exercise technique should be observed and evaluated for all athletes.  If the athlete is incapable of performing an exercise with correct technique, the Strength and Conditioning professional should provide thorough instruction and demonstration.

Obviously, exercise selection will be dependent upon the availability of resistance training equipment.  Additionally, the Strength and Conditioning professional must weigh the value of certain exercises against the time it takes to perform them, given the available time for a training session.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Next: Training Frequency

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