Whenever you have a goal in mind, you have to work hard to get the most from everything you put in.

Ultimately, the ends justify the means, such as training for great technique in Olympic lifts – tough to master at the best of times. Athletes in traditional sports looking to gain explosive power don’t have that kind of time to waste bouncing up and down.

Fortunately, here are four ways to increase explosive power, minus the learning curve.


1. Increase relative strength

This refers to your strength to bodyweight ratio. Set a goal of a minimum of 2.2 times your body weight in the full squat and deadlift; then as high as 2.5 times your body weight. Up until the 2.5 times threshold, you will run faster and jump higher.

That’s why experts correlate low body fat with sprint speed. For every 10lb of body weight gained, you must up these lifts by 25lb to maintain max speed.


2. Compensatory acceleration training (CAT)

Any lift can be explosive if you focus on moving the barbell from point A to point B as fast as you can without sacrificing technique. This is CAT, the brainchild Dr. Fred Hatfield. Think about it: you can half squat more than you can full squat. As leverage improves, you can hit the brakes or accelerate.

If you want to be explosive, you must accelerate. CAT means you compensate for improved leverage by accelerating weight.


3. Embrace plyometrics

Plyometrics bridges the gap between the weight room and the field of play. To maximize sprinting ability, train horizontal jumps. For increased jumping ability, train vertical jumps. For extreme shock methods like depth jumps, you should be healthy and able to squat twice your bodyweight.

Heavier or weaker athletes should stick to compensatory acceleration training and medicine ball throws.


4. Weighted triple extensions

A movement that locks out the ankles, knees and hips is called a triple extension. Without the triple extension, max sprinting and jumping cannot be accomplished. Triple extension is paramount to an explosive athlete.

Here are three ways to accomplish triple extension with a simple learning curve:

  1. Trap bar jumps
  2. Tire flips
  3. Strongman-loading events such as yoke walks or farmer’s walks.


Josh Bryant is a Master for Fitness Sciences and ISSA director of Applied Strength and Power Development.


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