Power: Often considered the holy grail of athletic prowess.
Yet, most of us casual gym goers (and even high level athletes) don’t spend all that much time training to be more explosive and powerful. Instead, we devote much of our time in the to training gain strength, and we assume gaining strength will translate into being more explosive.
Power, however, is as dependent upon speed as it is upon strength. Remember the whole power equation thing you learned in high school?
- Force x Distance/Time = Power
In other words:
This past year, I have devoted some time to working on becoming more explosive—and as grounded and pathetic as I sometimes feel when I work on explosive drills like bounding, I have noticed it has made a big difference in helping me rekindle some of that natural explosiveness I had as a kid.
Below are five of the exercises I have used to improve explosive power in both my upper body and lower body.
Note: Before you start bounding, take 5 to 10 minutes to warm up your ankles. Give your Achilles a good stretch and throw in some slow ankles rotations and calf raises, especially if you suffer from any previous foot injuries.
1. Plyometric Course
I like this course because you can start small with lower boxes, and as you become more comfortable and confident, you can slowly work toward higher boxes. Check out the videos for two courses—one baby course and one bigger course.
See if you can rebound quickly between boxes instead of landing loudly with a thump. Then quickly gather yourself for another jump.
2. Broad Jumps
The two biggest mistakes I see during board jumps is forgetting to use your arms and forgetting to jump vertically as well as horizontally.
Picture an Olympic long jumper for a second—though their sport is all about how long they can jump, they also jump pretty high. The height on your jump will also give you more distance.
Note: These can be hard on the joints, so I suggest using a mat for landing.
3. Single Leg Bounding
Once you start to feel more confident jumping and bounding via the plyometric course and broad jumps, start to dabble with some single leg bounding.
4. Single Leg Box Jumps
Similarly, once you feel confident jumping on one leg, play around with some single leg box jumps. The goal here is for an immediate rebound from one box to the next.
5. Plyo Push-Ups
Speed and power isn’t just for your lower body. These plyometric push-ups have gone a long way in improving my upper body power, as well. Try these with just your arms first, and then add the legs.