Explosive power: it sounds cool, but what is it, and how do you develop it? Explosive power is the ability to achieve maximum effort in minimal time. When a sprinter lunges off the blocks, within the blink of an eye, they’ve activated muscles in their legs, core, and arms in order to accelerate towards the finish line.
Of course, sprinters aren’t the only ones who need explosive power. Athletes in sports as seemingly different as basketball, soccer, and golf rely on explosive power to swing, jump, or stop on a dime. It’s an essential attribute for anyone who wants to take their game to the next level.
And that brings us to the how. Explosive power is a combination of two things: strength and speed. Athletes who combine them both can make the sudden movements that catch the opposition off guard. So anyone who wants to make those same movements must work on building both strength and speed. Usually, beginners need to focus on strength before worrying about speed.
Here are 7 Vertimax exercises designed to improve explosive power in any athlete.
1. Lateral High-Step
While this drill was originally created with the movements of a running back in mind, it’s a great way to build strength in any sport that relies on quick lateral movement, including tennis and volleyball. To prepare, attach resistance bands at the waist and place three barriers on the ground about 12” away from each other. The barriers should be roughly 12” high and 18” wide – a football agility dummy will do, but so will a cardboard box. The athlete faces their side to the barriers and steps over each of them as quickly as possible while lifting their knees to hip level. After passing over the barriers, they sprint 10 meters.
2. Repetitive Long Jumps
This hip-flexor loaded drill builds hip flexion while improving triple extension power. The athlete bends down with their knees aligned with their ankles. They then explode forward and jump as far as they can – then immediately jump again, and again, until they’ve covered 10-15 yards. This drill should be varied from 6-12 repetitions.
3. Paused Squat Jump
The Paused Squat Jump builds an athlete’s ability to start with power from a motionless position. It can be done in 10-12 reps. The drill is loaded at the waist and sees the athlete standing on the platform. They begin in a parallel squat position with their hands on the back of their head and their elbows out. Then, in one sudden exertion, they jump up. On landing, the athlete should try to pause and remain completely still for one second, then jump again.
4. Three-Point Start
The 3-Point Start is a great way to build speed. For this exercise, the athlete is loaded at the thighs and the hands. They start with three points – one hand and both feet – on the ground in a sprint start position. The athlete drives forward into an all-out sprint followed by a quick deceleration after 10 meters. This drill builds coordination and speed in support of explosive starts. Take a look at how NFL Linebacker, Bobby Carpenter trains.
5. Palm-Loaded Standing Vertical
This drill highlights the Vertimax’s ability to add resistance to a full-body explosive jump. The palm-loaded standing vertical drill has the athlete take on resistance at the waist as well as a palm. The athlete must practice proper jump mechanics, including knee alignment and toe placement. During the drill, they jump as high as possible, pause for a moment to recover proper form, and jump again. It’s a great way to improve vertical jump performance as well as synergistic movement between the upper and lower body.
6. Single Response Max Vertical Jump
This jump drill integrates both of the vertical cords and has resistance loaded at the waist. The athlete stands on the platform and in one sudden and explosive motion, crouches down before shooting up as high as possible. His hands should stretch over his head as high as possible to increase arm velocity in sprinting movements.
7. Two Leg Single-Response Long Jump
The 2-Leg Single-Response Long Jump is a long jump exercise with a special focus on form. The drill requires the athlete to start out in front of the platform with resistance loaded at the waist. It begins with a crouch, followed by a maximum-effort jump forward.