7 Explosive Workouts to Improve Power and Performance

Athletes are like sports cars. They need to be as speedy and as powerful as possible, and they need to get to their fastest and strongest in the shortest amount of time. Explosive workouts are how you get your body to behave like a Porsche 918 Spyder - that is: to get it to go from zero to sixty in 2.1 seconds or less.

What Is an Explosive Workout?

Explosive power training is any muscle action that puts the rate of force development (RFD) at its maximum. RFD is defined as how fast the contractile elements of the muscle develop force. In other words, it’s about developing larger bursts of force in shorter periods of time.

Typically, they are movements that require you to expend maximum energy to reach maximum power output in a short amount of time. During explosive exercises, there should be a relatively short work period — say, about 10 to 30 seconds — followed by a rest period of at least 15 seconds. 

What’s the point, you ask? It’s all about helping you get stronger and more powerful, with the added bonus of boosting agility and performance. Like standard bodyweight exercises, explosive workouts help build muscle, but they require a lot more energy to do so, empowering your whole body while reducing your likelihood of injury.

Here are some dynamite workouts to add to your routine to boost power and performance, including everyone’s favorite CROSSNET volleyball game.

  • Squat Jumps—If you want to improve explosiveness in the lower body, focus on squat jumps. This fundamental plyometric exercise engages the feet, legs and core, helping you crush it the next time you’re playing basketball at the court or CROSSNET at the beach or in the backyard.
  • woman doing a box squat

  • Vertical Jumps—Let’s modify squat jumps slightly with standard vertical jumps. Vertical jumps can provide the same full-body power but help you focus on getting more height. We always recommend advancing to weighted vertical jumps for an extra challenge. You can achieve this by  holding dumbbells in your hands or wearing a weighted vest.
  • Sprints and Hurdles—Take yourself back to field day in middle school and bust out a few sprints and hurdles. These basic explosive exercises provide all the same benefits of a standing vertical jump, but provide you with a running start for even more explosiveness. If you don’t have access to a track or much space, try hurdle jumps indoors by placing hurdles two to three feet apart and skipping the running start.
  • CROSSNET—Power doesn’t only come from going to bootcamp or cross-training every day. It can also be built from sports. CROSSNET, our super-engaging 4 square volleyball game is a great way to boost power and performance while having fun. Like volleyball, CROSSNET requires full-body power and agility. You need to have fast responses and the ability to jump high, relying on short bursts of energy to succeed. It’s definitely one of the funnest ways to boost power and performance!
  • Boxing and Boxing Drills—Gloving up and sparring is one of the most enjoyable and challenging agility exercises out there, and it’s perfect for building power and responsiveness in the upper body. Boxing and sparring themselves are great for enhancing sport performance, but consider integrating some popular boxing drills, too, such as jumping rope.   
  • Plyo Push-Ups—If you don’t have a ton of space and don’t want to use any special equipment, try doing some simple plyo push-ups to improve explosiveness. This full bodyweight exercise modifies a traditional push-up by incorporating a quick hand clap for extra movement. 
  • Medicine Ball Throws—If explosive strength is what you seek, consider tossing around a medicine ball (with caution and preferably a trainer, of course). This movement involves projecting a weighted ball from the front or side to help boost force in the lower body and improve stability during movement, which can help reduce injury.
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    woman doing an exercise with a heavy medicine ball

    Whether you’re a basketball player looking to boost your jump-shot or a long-distance runner who wants to reduce risk of injury, focusing on explosiveness is a great way to achieve your fitness goals. From group games to simple movements you can do in your living room, there’s an exercise here to help you get there!

     

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