Helping athletes increase explosive power

The goal of explosive exercise training is to build enough power to ultimately move heavy weights very quickly. It helps in improving reaction time which is vital for success.

Quick feet: An athlete working on his plyometrics with lateral box jumps. Working on plyometrics help in jumping and change of direction.   -  M. Vedhan

Explosive power is the catalyst to overall athletic development. To optimise power, we need a solid strength base as foundation. Explosive exercises at their final level are often referred to as plyometric or ballistic movements.

The types of exercises used to build quick, explosive power are movements that require a maximum or near-maximum power output from the athlete in a short amount of time. The goal of explosive exercise training is to build enough power to ultimately move heavy weights very quickly. It helps in improving reaction time which is vital for success in most sports.

However, explosive training can involve risk. To reduce your risk of injury, it's important to start with light weights and slow, controlled movements. The amount of weight used during a workout and the speed at which it is lifted should be increased over several weeks and many training sessions.

Other published reports suggest that in order to maximise strength, power, and speed of movement, a combination of heavy and light explosive exercise provides superior results. Further evidence suggests that in order to maximise power output or speed of movement, the first phase of training should focus on increasing maximum strength and building a strong foundation. The second phase is devoted to power and speed training.

Plyometrics

Plyometric exercises help to improve neural capacity and the stretch reflex.

Working on plyometrics helps in jumping and change of direction. In reality, this happens constantly during most of the games. By introducing plyometric training, the athletes’ bodies and nervous system are set to maximise the plyometric qualities and produce the most force creation and force reduction in any movement patterns.

These include multi-level box jumps, hops, lateral jumps, broad jumps, and other related exercises. The main factor is to keep the volume of the jumps low but intensity high in plyometric workouts. In a single workout, our athletes will never go over 32 jumps. Chalk out a programme according to the number of impact contacts to the ground.

There are many ways to integrate plyo workout using various tools to save time and improve effectiveness. You can use medicine ball jump throws along with assisted or resisted power chords.

Power and strength training

Strong body generates more power. Strength is the foundation for every athlete which will influence the top limit for power development. Strength and power are directly proportional to each other. Strength needs to be evaluated at regular intervals to understand power development.

Evaluating the component of strength in the weights room for whole body is critical for comprehensive power development.

Tests like squats/ deadlifts/ bench pulls/ bench press/ pull ups can be done to access strength component.

Developing explosive power

To develop power, use explosive lifts. The most valuable and safest are ancillary Olympic lifts such as the hang clean, one arm dumbbell snatch, or a dumbbell push-press. Training the total body three days a week during the off-season will provide the desired results.

Improving mobility: Foam rolling or any soft tissue work such as massage and mobility drills will make athletes less injury-prone.   -  Getty Images

 

Mobility

Mobility is by far the most disregarded part of training by coaches worldwide. It is vital to having a full range of motion through movement. If athletes doesn’t have mobility, they will not be able to develop strength or power to the highest degree. If our athletes have mobility issues and that remains unresolved while training, it will cause injury.

Activities for increasing the range of motion are done before workouts and practice. Foam rolling or any soft tissue work, such as massage and mobility drills will make athletes less injury-prone.

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