3 ways to develop explosive power

Being strong in the weight room is a good baseline but at some point, you’re going to need to turn that strength into power. Every athlete wants to feel powerful to perform better in their sport, so how do you train for power effectively? You’re probably thinking that you need to perform a bunch of plyometrics and ballistic movement to build explosive power.

That’s part of the equation. But, training for power requires proper programming to maximize your results. You can’t just throw a bunch of exercises and do them until you get tired. The quality of your technique, the intent of your execution, and your rest time in between play an important role. Here are 3 ways to develop explosive power.

3 Ways to Develop Explosive Power

1. Ballistic Training

This type of training is when you perform a weighted movement by throwing or jumping with them in order to increase power output. You’re trying to accelerate a load from point A to B.

This can be in a form of medicine ball throw variations or jumping variations holding a weight.

2. Contrast Training

This type of training is when you pair a heavy compound exercise that is a similar movement pattern to a plyometric exercise in order to recruit more motor units to potentiate your body to jump higher.

For example, you would perform a heavy back squat (80+% of your 1rm) and immediately do a depth jump. The rep ranges would be anywhere between 1-4reps for both exercises to minimize fatigue.

Another form of contrast training is called French Contrast. This is just an advanced version of contrast training. Essentially, you’re adding 2 more exercises to the superset above. You would do a total of 4 exercises in one superset with a 20-30sec rest time in between and 3-5mins after the superset.

French Contrast – Vertical Jump Example

  • 1A. Strength Lift – Heavy Barbell Box Squat 4×3
  • 2A. Max Effort Plyometric – Depth Box Jump 4×4
  • 3A. Explosive Lift – Dumbbell Jump Squat 4×4
  • 4A. Fast Plyometric – Band Assisted Vertical Jump 4×6-8

3. Cluster Training

This is similar to contrast training except you are doing it for more sets and gradually going up in weight until you get to a percentage of your 1rm where it’s heavy but not enough to feel slow.

You would pair a low-rep strength lift with an explosive movement to get a potentiation effect in a high volume format of 8+ sets.

For example, you can do a power clean paired with alternate bounds.

Set 1 – Power Clean at 50% & Alternate Bounds for 20yards

Set 2 – Power Clean at 55% & Alternate Bounds for 25yards

Set 3 – Power Clean at 60% & Alternate Bounds for 30yards…

Set 4 – Power Clean at 65% & Alternate bounds for 35yards…

Set 8 – Power Clean at 80% & Alternate Bounds for 50 yards…

Once you’ve developed a solid strength base, these 3 methods are an effective way to build explosive power to have you performing at an elite level in your sport.

Let me know if you have any questions.