If you have spent much time in the gym or any kind of sports field, you have heard the term ‘explosive exercise’. You may wonder what it is, simple- explosive exercises use large muscle movements like squats, power cleans, vertical jumps, heavy ball throws or even hill sprinting. Explosive exercise plans are commonly implemented by the top athletes who want to improve their overall strength as well as ability to generate power.
Here’s a video on explosive training…
If you have ever played a sport, especially on a competitive level, you will see the value in being able to be strong and draw explosive power from within. Many sports require big bursts of strength and effort, something explosive exercise programs focus greatly on- these plans are meant to get the athlete to maximize power output in a very sudden and short amount of time. The bottom line goal to the explosive exercise routines is to move heavier weights more quickly. However, this has to be achieved by starting with light weights and slow controlled movement to avoid injury.
Explosive exercise training doesn’t just have to be an exclusive routine to pro athletes, anyone who wants to take their training to the next level can follow the example of their favorite football and basketball players- check out the routine below for an explosive exercise plan to help you bench more weight.
Phase 1: Weeks 1-4
Work out three times per week, alternating the upper and lower body routines each time.
Upper Body Circuit:
Bench press throw (at 50 percent of 1RM): 5 sets of 5 reps
Medicine ball chest pass: 5 sets of 5 reps
Bench press: 4 sets of 6-8 reps
Dumbbell shoulder press: 4 sets of 6-8 reps
Close-grip bench press: 3 sets of 6-8 reps
Upright rows: 3 sets of 6-8 reps
Medicine ball twist throw: 3 sets of 10 reps
Medicine ball sit-up throw: 3 sets of 10 reps
Lower Body Circuit
High pulls: 5 sets of 5 reps
Jump squats (at 50 percent of 1RM): 5 sets of 5 reps
Squats: 4 sets of 6-8 reps
Deadlifts: 4 sets of 6-8 reps
Lat pulldowns: 4 sets of 6-8 reps
Bent-over rows: 4 sets of 6-8 reps
Russian twists: 3 sets of 10 reps
Situps: 3 sets of 10 reps
Phase 3: Weeks 5-8
Work out 3 times per week, alternating the upper and lower body routines each time.
Upper Body Circuit
Bench press throw (at 60 percent of 1RM): 5 sets of 3 reps
Ballistic pushups: 5 sets of 3 reps
Bench press: 4 sets of 4-6 reps
Dumbbell shoulder press: 4 sets of 4-6 reps
Medicine ball twist throw: 4 sets of 10 reps
Medicine ball sit-up throw: 4 sets of 10 reps
Lower Body Circuit
High pulls: 5 sets of 3 reps
Jump squats (at 60 percent of 1RM): 5 sets of 3 reps
Squats: 4 sets of 4-6 reps
Bent-over rows: 4 sets of 4-6 reps
Russian twists: 4 sets of 10 reps
Situps: 4 sets of 10 reps
Not every exercise in this program is standard issue. Here’s how to do the few you might not be familiar with.
Bench press throw: On a Smith machine, perform a bench press rep, accelerating through the full range of motion and releasing (throwing) the bar at the end of each repetition. Catch the bar, reset, and repeat.
High pull: Load the barbell with a light weight (10 pounds on each side, for instance) and roll it against your shins. Grab the bar with an overhand grip that’s just beyond shoulder-width apart, and squat down, keeping your back flat and your shoulders pulled back. Keep your arms straight, and pull the bar off the floor as fast as you can by thrusting your hips forward and explosively standing up. As the bar passes your thighs, continue moving upwards onto your toes and pull the bar as high as possible by bending your elbows and raising your upper arms. Lower the bar to the floor and repeat.
Explosive pushup: Perform a normal pushup, but push as forcefully as you can so that your hands leave the floor on each rep. Land, reset, and repeat.
Barbell jump squat: Set a bar on a squat rack and step under it so the bar rests across your upper back. Pull your shoulders back as you grab the bar with an overhand grip. The bar should sit comfortably on your upper trapezius. Lift the bar off the rack and step back. Set your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, back straight, eyes focused straight ahead. Squat down quickly until your thighs are at a 45-degree angle with the floor. Immediately change directions and push from calves to straighten your body so explosively that your feet come off the floor. (Hold the barbell tightly against your upper back.) Land as softly as possible on your toes, then immediately descend back to the starting position as you shift your weight to your heels and repeat.
The plan above is an 8 week program to develop your explosive exercise training. 8 weeks is a little on the low side as many other plans we see consist of a 12 week plan to develop a good foundation. For a full 12 week plan, check out this page.
This type of conditioning is fairly simple to follow, and can be done before your weight lifting routine.
Are you already following a power plan for explosive training? Tell us about your results and favorite moves.