American football players need to de-cleat players with blocks and pulverize them with tackles. Basketball competitors need to be able to lift off of the ground with enough power to navigate and sometimes go right through defenders on their way to grabbing a rebound or going up for a score. Mixed martial artists must have the explosive power to drop a man with one punch or put them on the canvas with an explosive single or double leg takedown. So what can help all of these people do their jobs?
Explosive power. In other words, the ability to gather maximum strength in a very short period of time. In fact, the gap between maximum power (developed in milliseconds) and maximum strength (a second or more) is the explosive differential gap as outlined in this article.
Just in case you want to get technical.
The good thing is that there are several ways for athletes or would be athletes to gain explosive power while training. In fact, here are 10 of them (these exercises are often done in sets-3 sets of 8, for example-check with a professional to determine what would be best for you).
Athletes are training for far more than just traditional full contact sports like MMA and football. Nowadays extreme sports such as Warrior Dash and Spartan Race as well as activities such as survival call for peak physical fitness for achieving the best odds of success. In fact, if you were going to train for survival in the wilderness, consider that this may include mountain climbing, hiking, shelter building (moving rocks, timber) and then of course endurance at a reduced calorie count... which calls for mental toughness, and the ability to keep going even when survival is wearing you down.
Though you may train hard for survival, and train for extreme running / endurance events such as Warrior Dash and Spartan Race, other people you may be competing against may be training just as hard or even harder. So, shouldn't you train smarter?
Disclaimer: Never attempt any exercise without first consulting a physician to determine if the exercises or program you are attempting are right for you. In addition, contact weight lifting professionals to determine if you are executing lifts correctly as it can be highly dangerous not to.
Barbell Quarter Jump Squats: Barbell Jump squats involve performing a quarter squat. Then the practitioner explodes up during the concentric phase of the lift to the point that his/ her hips and knees propel them into the air. In other words, they jump. Upon landing the lifter should stop downward motion as soon as possible and then jump back into the air.
At first, lifters should probably use no weight at all until they get used to the movement. During this stage, they may utilize an arm swing. Then low weight may be added.
Barbell Sub- Maximum Impact Plyometric Jump Box Squats: This exercise involves a box and one must practice it with extreme caution. In fact, if you have any spine problems or are worried about such, don't practice this exercise.
Basically, a lifter must drop to a parallel squat where they merely touch the box and then explode up when doing a Barbell Sub- Maximum Impact Plyometric Jump Box Squat. Then repeat.
Given the nature of this lift, however, practitioners might just want to try the Barbell Non- Impact Plyometric Jump Squat, which is basically the same as above but with no box.
Depth Jumps: Depth jumps involve stepping off boxes-heights can vary- and upon landing on the floor with both legs at the same time, practitioners must explode into the air. The use of arm swings adds power to this exercise.
Dumbell Jerk: Start with a shoulder width stance and point the toes straight ahead. While doing this, hold dumbbells in each hand up to your shoulders with your elbows pointing straight ahead. One end of each dumbbell will actually rest on each shoulder.
From there, one should drop straight down a few inches and then explosively jump and extend up. Then-and speed is of the essence, here-one should drop straight down into a lunge position with one leg forward and the other back. The weight should be caught with one's arms fully extended in the bottom position. Stand up with the arms extended until you are upright and be careful not to take elongated steps (these should be small). The arms should be fully extended and behind the ears in the catch position.
Finger Clean: This is an interesting take on the clean. Hold a barbell out in front of you with only your fingers (no thumbs) while standing upright. When descending keep your knees in the same place. In other words, let the bar go straight down while the legs are pushed back (the lower back should stay flat) until you reach knee level. Then extend your hips, knees, and ankles but do not lift the bar yet.
Then in an explosive movement, bend down and explosively throw your elbows forward and up, catching the weight on your shoulders. Your fingers will be under the bar in the end.
Load Release Jumps: Get a sturdy bench or something similar that can hold your weight because you will be jumping on it. It's probably appropriate to once again start with no weight until you are used to the exercise. However, when you have dumbbell weight, here's what you do.
Hold the weight in front of you and quickly drop into a squat (the weight will be between your legs). Just prior to jumping up onto the bench, release the weight. Some use a weight vest while performing this exercise.
Long Box Jumps: No weight and no small boxes. Find your self a sturdy and rather high and jump as quickly onto it as possible. This tends to be a good warm up exercise.
Ravers: This one is simple. Put a barbell across your shoulders as if you were going to execute a standard squat. The difference is that you will have one foot forward and the other back. Bend your knees slightly and then quickly switch foot positions with a small jump. Do this back and forth rather forcefully.
Standing Triple Jump: With a shoulder width stance, start with a horizontal jump. Then, landing on one leg, explode up again, this time landing on the other leg. After exploding into a jump once more, practitioners will land on both legs softly and repeat.
Uphill sprints: Remember this back in high school (for all of you former high school wrestlers and football players)? Uphill sprints. Simple and it works to build explosive strength.
Put a uniform on and it works even better, or worse, depending on your outlook.
Exercises for Explosive Athletes
Squatting –To Be Explosive, Train Explosive