Explosive Strength Workout Program
The following are some of the benefits of working on your explosive strength:
Increased muscle mass and strength. Increased endurance. Improved flexibility and mobility. Improved cardiovascular fitness. Better athletic performance (especially at high speeds).
Greater mental focus and concentration. More energy during physical activity, especially when performing strenuous activities such as running or jumping rope. Increased self-confidence and confidence in others.
What Is Explosive Training?
Explosive training is defined as any exercise that involves the use of momentum, force, or speed to produce a result other than simply moving weight from one place to another. The term “explosives” refers specifically to explosives such as dynamite, but it could also include things like bullets fired from firearms or even a person’s own bodyweight when doing pushups.
How Does Explosive Training Work?
Explosive training works by increasing the amount of stress placed upon the muscles and tendons involved in producing force. By using momentum, force, or speed to produce a result other than simply moving weight from one place to another, an athlete increases their muscular endurance and improves their ability to perform at higher intensities. It also helps improve flexibility and mobility because it forces the joints to adapt more quickly so they don’t get injured. The result is an increase in an athlete’s ability to perform under pressure when their energy stores start running low.
Benefits Of Working On Your Explosive Strength
There are many benefits of working on your explosive strength:
Greater Muscle Mass And Strength:
One of the main reasons why athletes use explosive training methods is because they help increase muscular strength and hypertrophy (muscle growth) more quickly than traditional weight lifting or bodyweight exercise alone. This is especially beneficial for sports such as wrestling, football, rugby, soccer, and sprinting where gaining a competitive edge in terms of size and strength is important.
Higher Anaerobic Threshold:
Anaerobic training improves the body’s ability to tap into its energy reserves more quickly during periods of intense exercise. This enables an athlete to perform at higher intensity for longer periods of time. Most explosive exercises are high-intensity, so performing them regularly helps to increase the body’s anaerobic threshold. This is why explosive training is often used by sprinters, football players, and other athletes whose events require short but extremely intense bursts of energy.
Greater Speed And Quickness:
Explosive training methods are also used to increase speed and quickness. It is much easier to increase the speed at which a muscle contracts than it is to increase the speed at which a nerve sends a signal to that muscle telling it to contract. This is one of the reasons why explosive training is more beneficial for sports like football or rugby where speed and power are important, rather than sports like running or swimming where endurance is key.
Increased Jumping Ability:
Explosive training is particularly effective for improving jumping ability. In the same way that it’s easier to increase the speed of a muscle contraction than it is to increase the speed at which a nerve sends a signal, it’s also easier to increase how high a muscle can propel your body rather than the speed at which you can propel your body into the air.
Decreased Impact On Joints:
One of the main reasons why explosive training is becoming more popular with athletes is because it places much less stress on the joints than traditional weight training. This is particularly important for sports like running, swimming, and cycling which can put a heavy burden on the knees, hips, and ankles. By developing your power without adding bulk you can increase strength and power without increasing the force that your joints must bear.
While explosive training is great for sports and fitness in general, it can also be used to spice up a stale routine. Even if you’re an athlete who doesn’t need to worry about adding weight or stress to your joints, explosive training methods can be a fun way to add variety to your normal routine. By performing traditional weight lifts faster or adding a few jumps here and there you can keep your muscles guessing and your training program from becoming stagnant. This helps to prevent the onset of burnout and can even help you to continue making progress long after you thought your plateau had set in.
Explosive training is also a great way to rehabilitate an injury. If you’ve been working through the pain for a while and have finally succumbed to the need to take time off, adding a bit of explosive training to your regimen can help you to recover more quickly. It can also be used as an effective warm-up for your larger, more intense workouts.
Explosive Training Methods:
In order to perform explosive training you’ll need to incorporate a few specialized exercises into your program. While these exercises are not mandatory and you can certainly get strong and fit without ever performing them, they’re great tools to have in your toolbox when the time comes to spice up your routine. We’ll go over a few of the most common types below.
The clap push-up is one of the most common types of plyometric exercises. To perform this exercise you simply do a normal push-up, then try to clap your hands before returning them to the ground. Since this is difficult to do, it forces your body to work harder.
While this exercise primarily targets your chest, shoulders, and arms, it can be good for your core as well since you need a strong center of gravity in order to keep from falling over while your hands are in the air.
Clapping Dumbbell Press:
This is similar to the clapping push-up except that you’re holding dumbbells instead. Since the weights are heavier, it’s going to be more difficult than the push-up. This exercise primarily targets your chest, shoulders, and arms, but can also be good for your core as well.
Performing this exercise will most likely fatigue your entire body, so make sure you have plenty of rest between each set.
This is another common plyometric exercise that primarily targets your calf and thigh muscles. To begin, find a fence or platform of some sort that’s roughly knee height. Stand on the box or fence then step off of it, trying to land gently on the floor. From here, try to gently jump up and off of the floor as high as you can. Each “set” will consist of several repetitions.
While this exercise primarily targets your lower body, it can also be good for your core as well. If you don’t land properly you’ll fall and risk injury.
Tip: Start with smaller jumps and make sure you’re properly warmed up before starting this routine.
How to Incorporate Explosives into Your Routine:
Since explosive training is a bit different than traditional weight lifting or other types of exercise, you don’t want to do it all the time. If you try to incorporate too much of it into your routine, you’re going to wind up getting less out of your normal exercises.
For most people, it’s recommended that you perform explosive exercises 1-2 times per week on their own separate days. This way, you can focus all of your energy into them and get the most out of them.
If you perform them too often, you’re going to get less out of them since your body is going to need time to rest in between. As long as you remember to warm up properly before each session, you shouldn’t have any problems.
Explosive Training as a Beginner:
If you’re a beginner, it’s recommended that you stay away from explosive exercises altogether. Your body is still developing in many ways and adding in explosive exercises too early on can lead to injuries and set you back. Stick with the traditional weight lifting for now, until your body has had a chance to adapt to the training and build some basic strength. Once you’ve gotten past the beginner’s stage, you can start adding in these types of exercises every now and again to mix things up a bit.
As a more experienced lifter, you’ll be better equipped to handle this style of training. Since your body is already used to heavier loads and you have more strength in general, adding in some explosive work here and there won’t be too big of a change for your body. This will help you continue making strength gains without making your routine overly complicated and difficult to stick to.
Explosive Training for the Advanced Lifter:
The more advanced you are, the more you need to be careful when incorporating explosive exercises into your routine. Since your body is already adapted to the stresses of traditional weight lifting, adding these types of exercises in can place a large amount of stress on your musculoskeletal system. This can lead to a decrease in performance if you don’t plan things out correctly.
Since your body has been lifting for a while now, it’s going to be fairly resistant to change. This means that you’re going to have to start increasing the amount of explosive work you do each week consistently in order to continue making progress. If you keep doing the same amount and only add a little bit of explosive work each week, you’re not going to see much improvement.
If you try to incorporate too much too quickly, you’re going to wind up getting less out of your normal exercises due to fatigue from the explosive work. This is why it’s recommended that you increase the amount of explosive work you do each week consistently until you’ve reached a point where your body is ready to take on more.
Along with this, you’re still going to want to make sure that you stay as healthy as possible while training in this manner. Warm up, get plenty of rest and do everything you can to keep your immune system strong.
A Sample Explosive Workout:
As a starting point, try doing some plyometrics once or twice per week after you perform your normal weight lifting routine. For example, you could do a session of jump squats or box jumps after your normal weight routine. After a while, you can experiment with adding in more explosive work to see how your body responds. You’ll have to be careful at this point since it’s very easy to overtrain while performing these types of exercises.
Your explosive work will also play a factor in how you periodize your training. Since plyometrics are fast and powerful movements, this means that you’ll be able to recover from them pretty quickly. You can do these on any day during the week depending on your routine and fatigue levels. Just remember that explosive exercises will make up for a smaller portion of your overall training volume so don’t forget to pay attention to the rest of it as well.
How Do I Incorporate Powerlifting Into This?
Powerlifting is a very heavy weight focused type of training. The types of exercises you do are also very slow and controlled. Because of this, explosive training isn’t usually recommended for most powerlifters. That’s not to say that it can’t be beneficial if used in the right way though.
One of the most common ways that powerlifters incorporate explosive training methods is through the use of drop sets.
A drop set is when you’ve completed a given number of reps with a given weight. Once you reach that point, you then decrease the weight and continue to do reps until failure once again. Then, you decrease the weight again and continue again until you can no longer continue.
This type of training can have many different variations but it’s usually used to push your muscles further than they would normally go with basic weight training.
A sample powerlifting drop set would be to do barbell bench press until you reach failure. Then, decrease the weight and complete another set until you fail at that weight. Continue this process until you can’t do any more repetitions.
Although this method can help you to overload your muscles and encourage growth, it can also lead to overtraining fairly quickly when used by itself. Because of this, it’s recommended that you incorporate drop sets into your normal weight training routine only occasionally.
To implement this, pick a given exercise and try to do drop sets for at least one set during the normal weight lifting routine. You can even try to do another drop set after your normal sets if you’re advanced enough.
However, keep in mind that you shouldn’t try to do too many sets or you’ll risk overtraining very quickly. This is probably best saved for days when you feel least fatigued and ready to push yourself.
As I said, drop sets aren’t the only method of explosive training out there but they’re one of the best for those looking to add some extra size to their muscles.
For those specifically looking to gain more size, I would advise that you also perform traditional weight training with heavy weights and low reps in addition to your normal training. This will ensure that you develop a good base of strength before worrying about adding more explosive work.
If you try to add in too much explosive work when you haven’t been doing much strength training, you’re going to get diminishing returns on your muscle size gains.
As you can see, explosive training isn’t anything too special. You don’t need to implement any fancy techniques and there’s no secret that elite fitness models don’t want you to know. All it takes is a solid base of general weight training and an aggressive mindset with your lifts and you’ll be on the right track to success.
Just make sure to listen to your body and keep an eye out for overtraining symptoms!
Tip 2: Stick to Complex Carbs Before and After Workouts
The second part of achieving the coveted “ripped physique” is to watch what you eat.
Carbohydrates are important because they’re one of the macronutrients your body uses for energy. The others are fats and proteins but as a bodybuilder, your main concern is carbohydrates. While there have been many debates over the roles of complex vs. simple carbohydrates and which should take priority, most people can agree that bodybuilders need plenty of carbs for maximum growth.
The reason bodybuilders need carbs is that your body uses them for fuel during workouts. If you don’t eat enough carbohydrates, your performance in the gym will suffer because your body won’t have enough energy to sustain itself during your workouts.
In addition to fueling your workout, carbohydrates also have a role in preventing muscle breakdown and promoting growth. After a workout, your body is in a “catabolic” state, meaning that your body is breaking down muscles to recover from your workout. If you don’t eat carbohydrates after a workout, your body will only use muscle for energy and this can slow down your muscle building results.
However, if you refuel with carbohydrates after a workout, your body won’t break down as much muscle and you’ll actually end up building more muscle in the long run! This is one of the reasons why many bodybuilders dedicate at least one day of the week to “deloading,” or taking a break from heavy training. On deload days, they don’t train their muscles as intensely and they make sure to eat plenty of carbohydrates to allow their muscles to recover without breaking down.
The best time to eat carbohydrates is directly before and after your workouts. This way, your body has plenty of fuel to power through a tough workout and to start repairing itself as soon as your workout is over. The more you train a muscle group, the more carbohydrates it will require since it’s in a semi-damaged state and needs extra fuel for repair.
If you’re dedicated to your training, eating lots of carbs shouldn’t be an issue. Even the most ardent advocate of low-carb/Atkins type diets will admit that bodybuilders need to eat plenty of carbohydrates!
How Much Carbs Will I Need?
Determining your carbohydrate needs is fairly easy since you just have to factor in how much you weight lift and the intensity of your workouts. The more you weigh and the more intense your workouts are, the more carbs you’ll need.
For every pound you weigh, you’ll need approximately 1 gram of carbs. So if you weigh 180 pounds, you’ll need at least 180 grams of carbohydrates per day.
If you train using high intensity techniques such as HIIT or heavy weight training, you’ll need more carbohydrates than someone who just walks on a treadmill for an hour. If you’re a powerlifter or other strength athlete, you’ll need even more!
I recommend 0.75 grams of carbohydrates per pound of bodyweight if you’re an average weight lifter. If you’re a powerlifter or do high-intensity interval training, I’d go with 1 gram per pound. If you’re really heavy, you may want to stick with the lower end.
Most nutritionists and dieticians will tell you that the average person should eat between 0.5 and 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. Some say even more. Most people will need much less.
For every pound of bodyweight, you should eat approximately 0.25 grams of fat. Since most people have a little more than that, this is why many nutritionists say that the average person only needs about 0.5 to 1 gram per pound of protein (and carbs).
If you’re very active and workout a lot, you’ll need more because your body has to work harder to repair damaged muscle fibers and your energy stores get used up quicker. If you’re very lean with little body fat, you may need less.
The best way to find out is to just start keeping track of your food for a couple weeks and see how it is. You don’t need to go crazy with tracking every single thing you eat, but try to get an idea of how many grams of each macronutrient you’re consuming.
If you know you should be eating more carbs but you just aren’t hungry for them, try to get some good food in you an hour or two before you work out. A big bowl of oatmeal or other whole grain food (except wheat) is a great way to start off your day if you’re in a rush.
You can also try to take a protein shake with you and drink that immediately after your workout. According to researchers at the University of Texas, drinking a whey shake immediately after resistance training increases protein synthesis rates by 60% and this can increase muscle growth over the long term.
The amino acid Leucine is one of the main reasons for this as it stimulates the receptors in your body responsible for increasing protein synthesis. A good whey protein will already have plenty of this, but you can also get it from eggs, milk and some other foods.
If you can get a good multi-vitamin, that’s also a good idea. Some people get all the nutrients they need and then some from their food, but if you’re like me and eat whatever is cheapest in the cafeteria or go out with friends a few times a week, a multi-vitamin can help make up the difference.
These are just some guidelines of what I usually tell my clients and athletes at the gym, but everyone is different. As with anything, if you’re unsure about your diet or have serious goals, the best thing to do is talk to a professional. A registered dietician should be able to help you out.
Now get to eating right and bring out that inner athlete we all know is in there!
A Review of Dietary Protein Requirements Published by the University of Minnesota
Sources & references used in this article:
Developing explosive muscular power: Implications for a mixed methods training strategy by RU Newton, WJ Kraemer – Strength & Conditioning Journal, 1994 – hydra-gym.com
Using bands to create technique-specific resistance training for developing explosive power in wrestlers by FM Kozub, T Voorhis – Strength & Conditioning Journal, 2012 – journals.lww.com
The influence of music genre on explosive power, repetitions to failure and mood responses during resistance exercise by SL Moss, K Enright, S Cushman – Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 2018 – Elsevier
Improved stability and smart‐material functionality realized in an energetic cocrystal by O Bolton, AJ Matzger – Angewandte Chemie, 2011 – Wiley Online Library
The effect of water immersion, active recovery and passive recovery on repeated bouts of explosive exercise and blood plasma fraction by I Wilcock – 2005 – openrepository.aut.ac.nz