How to Increase Explosive Strength

In the Spotlight: Plyometrics

Plyometric exercises are essential for any athlete looking to enhance their explosive strength, and overall speed of movement. They increase your body’s ability to release and absorb forces and, as an added bonus, they help to facilitate weight loss and increase muscle tone.

How Do They Work?

So how do plyometrics work? Let’s take a deeper look.

Plyometric exercises help program your muscles to produce maximum force in a minimum amount of time. This is accomplished by utilizing the Strength-Shortening Cycle (SSC). The SSC is an active stretching of muscles (relaxation phase), followed immediately by a shortening of muscles (contraction phase). Try to imagine the muscle functioning like a rubber band; when the muscle is stretched it will produce additional force. This takes place because of the elastic properties being a source of stored energy.

Examples of Plyometric Exercises

Let’s take a look at a few types of plyometric exercises:

The most important muscles for any athlete to focus on are the legs and hips. All power and stability are deeply rooted in the earth. Exercises like broad jumps, box jumps, knee tuck jumps, and lateral jumps will provide a great base for explosive lower body enhancement. Now for the upper body: exercises such as clapping push-ups and lateral push-ups go a long way toward increasing explosive strength.

On to the last group of exercises we will be going over today: medicine ball throws. With this exercise we are now combining the movements of the lower and upper body together, which will increase full-body coordination and elevate explosive speed while performing synergistic movements. Variations on medicine ball throws are as follows: overhead slams, rotational throws, run and release, and scoop and throw.

Important Tips for Explosive Strength and Maximum Endurance

It’s important to remember to keep plyometrics exercise to 2-4 sets of approximately 5 reps when training for explosive strength. When training for maximum endurance, the ideal format would be 2-4 sets of 10-20 reps. Only add plyometrics in to your training protocol if you are already conditioned – these exercises are not for beginners! If you’re inexperienced with plyometrics, talk to your trainer about getting started with some basic movements that can be easily incorporated into your regular regimen and gradually increased as your level of conditioning improves.

Keeping Your Head in the Game

Before we wrap up our discussion, I’d like to remind you about one of the most important factors in success – your mind! If you want to be faster, stronger, more flexible, or meet any type of goal, you must first visualize yourself doing it. The mind is our strongest muscle, so use it to project your new reality.