If you’re looking to get more explosive the five complexes in this workout are a great place to start.
And… BOOOM Goes the Dynamite!
Whether you’re a sprinter or a scratch golfer, being explosive is a part of every game. Your muscles must fire with maximum effort throughout a competition. That means that when you’re in the weight room, your focus has to be on anaerobic exercises that increase your explosiveness, or for the scientists out there, your rate of force production.
The toughest part of this article is citing just 5 exercises, so I’m going to cheat and introduce complexes. Complexes are a heavy, standard weight lifting exercise paired with a light, quick movement. Here are a couple of examples:
Ex. #1: Hang clean x 3reps @ 85%1RM followed by 3 rapid fire tuck jumps.
Ex. #2: Back Squat x 3-4reps @ 80-85% 1RM followed by 3-5 rapid fire squat jumps.
Now that you know what complexes are, here are the 5 best exercises (or in this case, complexes) that I use to improve explosiveness:
Our first choice, hang cleans, is an explosive, total body exercise, that when paired with some tuck jumps, will light up your CNS. Next is the back squat, a phenomenal lower-body exercise that strengthens the quads, hips, glutes and low back. Having assaulted the quads with back squat and squat jumps, it’s time to get your hamstrings, glutes and adductors/abductors involved too. That’s why I’ve included DB lunges and Cycled Split-Squat Jumps. Add a little bench press for your chest, and chin-ups for your back, and you have a complete, full-body, complex workout with 5 exercises.
Ok, but why pair these lifts with these movements? Well, the goal of each complex is to get the most from each muscle group, so you’ll always find 2 exercises mimicking each other in what’s being trained, and/or the biomechanics of the strength exercise. For example back squat & squat jumps, are both a squatting movement, etc.
All 5 of the major lifts on this list (hang clean, back squat, etc) train the muscles that move the body explosively. The key component however is adding the rapid fire movement that immediately follows the standard lift.
Now, before I send you on your way, I figured I’d include some video along with quick tips to ensure that you’re doing the exercises correctly, and avoid killing yourself in the weight room in your quest to build muscle and gain strength. Give these a look and then get after it!
1. Hang Clean + tuck jump
Quick Tip: Use this complex with the hang clean, hang snatch, etc. Therefore, if you don’t have bumper plates and/or a platform to pull from, the hang clean will substitute very well. Perform 3 sets of 3 reps on the clean followed by 3 tuck jumps on every set.
2. Back squat + squat jump
Quick Tip: As you progress with this exercise complex, you can hold DB’s in your hands during the squat jumps; however, I don’t recommend going any heavier than 10% of your bodyweight. For example, I’m 225 lbs, the heaviest DB’s I will hold is 22.5lb, etc. Any heavier and you’ll lose the heavy-to-light training effect. On these you’ll want to perform 5 sets of 3-4 reps on the squat followed by 3-5 squat jumps.
3. Bench Press + clap push-up
Quick Tip: We’ve done this exercise with DB’s instead of barbell bench and have seen the same improvement. An advanced version would be to complex Incline Bench Press with inverted push-ups where your feet are propped up on a 12-15inch box or step. Again perform 5 sets of 3-4 reps on the bench with 3 clap pushups mixed in.
4. DB Lunge + Cycled Split-Squat Jumps
Quick Tip: A very taxing exercise, so keep the volume low until you have a good base of training. For first-timers, 2-3 sets of 3-4 reps on each leg for lunges and squat jumps are plenty. I don’t recommend trying to use DB’s with the Cycled Split-Squat Jumps because I like my athletes to use their arms in a quick, explosive manner to mimic the arm swing during sprinting.
5. Chin-ups + MB slam
Quick Tip: The chin-up is the best upper-back exercise so it has to be on the list, and the MB slam is a staple in training programs when working with overhead-dominant athletes (baseball, softball, volleyball, tennis, etc). Focus on using your lats/arms to throw the ball into the ground, and not the core. Remember the focus is on isolating the latissimus dorsi, and not the abs. On these you’ll want to do 5 sets of 3-7 chinups followed by 5-10 MB slams on each set.
To maximize your muscle and strength gains when using this workout 1R would recommend the following supplements: