5 Ways to Develop Explosive Power

Today I’m going to highlight some specific areas you should focus on in your training to develop EXPLOSIVE POWER! I’m also going to provide you with all of the exercises that my athletes have had the best results with over the past few years.

1. Strengthen Your Core

A strong midsection is the FOUNDATION of some of the most powerful and explosive athletes in sports today! When’s the last time you saw a powerful/explosive athlete that had a weak stomach? NEVER. Here’s some of my favorite exercises to improve core strength:
  • Loaded Carries, Side-Planks
  • Chops, Lifts, Pallof Presses
  • Planks, Rollouts, Deadbugs

2. Get Ballistic!

What we know about power is that it tends to be very plane specific. Simply put, you’re going to develop more baseball specific power by training in the planes that are required by the sport. Medicine ball throws and tornado ball “swings”  are some of my favorite drills to utilize with my athletes as it simulates them in positions they are often in when playing their sport/position. Here’s some of my favorite ballistic exercises:
  • Tornado Ball Swings (Back to Wall, Facing the Wall Swing, Shuffle to Swing)
  • Medicine Ball Rotational Throws (Facing the Wall Scoop Toss, Shot-Put Throw, Split-Stance Anti-Rotation Scoop Toss, 1-Leg Scoop Toss)
  • Medicine Ball Overhead Stomps (Recoiled, Rollover, Side-to-Side, Overhead Throw for Distance)
  • Medicine Ball Backwards Overhead Throw for Distance
Kansas City Royals RHP Scott Blewett performs a medicine ball figure 8 rollover stomp.
Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Nick Sinay performs an advanced tornado ball variation.

3. Incorporate Jump Training and Plyometrics

If you want to become more explosive and powerful you NEED to be performing some kind of jumps and plyometrics in your training. I like to focus on jumps and plyos that challenge the athlete in multiple planes of motion because they need to be powerful in all these different planes (frontal, sagittal, transverse) while playing their sport Here’s some of my favorite jump training and plyometric drills:
  • Repeated Heiden “Skater” Jumps
  • Box Jump Variations
  • Broad Jump Variations
  • Pogo Hops
  • Jump Tucks
  • Reactive Hurdle Hops
  • Reactive Lateral Hurdle Hops
Repeated Heiden “skater” jumps performed by former Washington Nationals Pitcher, Matt Pirro

4. Utilize the Dynamic Effort Method

When utilized properly the dynamic-effort method can be a great way to develop explosive power! When utilizing this method of training, bar speed becomes crucial. Weight being used needs to be sub-maximal (Generally 50-75% of athletes 1 RM) and bar speed needs to be at 0.7-0.9 meters per second (via Louie Simmons – Westside Barbell). Dynamic-Effort Method General Programming Guidelines: SETS: 8-12 or until output drops (when output or speed of the bar drops cut the set) REPS: 2-4 Here’s some of my favorite ways to utilize the dynamic-effort method:
  1. Squat Variations (Front Squat, Box Squat)
  2. Deadlift Variations (Sumo, Trap Bar, Conventional)
  3. Barbell Rear-Foot Elevated Bulgarian Split Squat
  4. Barbell Reverse Lunge
Miami Marlins Outfielder, Matt Brooks performs a chain-loaded trap bar deadlift for speed (dynamic-effort method)

5. Implement Contrast Training

I’ve had some pretty awesome results utilizing contrast training with my athletes over the past few years. I really like using this method of training as the athlete peaks for an event (gets closer to the competitive season). How to Implement Contrast Training:With contrast training you’re going to perform a strength exercise supersetted with a jump, sprint, medicine ball throw, or explosive push-up variation (example shown below). Programming Example for Contrast Training: A1. Inertia (Pin) Squat 1 RM Rest 15-30 seconds A2. Box Jump x 2 reps Rest 3-5 min following each set Here’s some of my favorite contrast training protocols with the baseball guys:
  • Lateral Crossover Step Sled Drags paired with Heiden “Skater” Jumps
  • Rear-Foot Elevated Bulgarian Split Squat paired with a Rear-Foot Elevated Single-Leg Jump
  • Heavy Sled Drags/Pushes paired with sprint start variations (push-up, falling, mountain climber starts)
  • Heavy Chain Loaded Push-Up paired with power push-up

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