Top 5 Explosive Bodyweight Exercises For Athletes | AT HOME WORKOUT
No access to the gym? Quarantine and business closures trying to put the gainz on hold? But still trying to be more explosive? Can it happen? How? What movements need to be done? Help!!!
It is important to understand that weight and strength training can help increase explosiveness dramatically. It is important to also understand that there are a myriad of bodyweight movements and exercises that can increase explosiveness as well through utilizing ideas around body positions, technique and movements. No matter what, it is important to be able to coordinate muscles as rapidly as possible to accelerate as quickly as possible to be more explosive.
Being able to move one’s body or opposing object as quickly as possible in a short time frame, the athlete will be more explosive. To really start to harness explosiveness, one needs to understand how everything is intertwined.
Let’s take a look at five exercises that teach muscular coordination and greatly assist in harnessing one’s inner explosiveness.
5. Double Leg Bounds
This is a pretty standard exercise. We love having athletes do this movement. Understand, this can be a pretty complicated movement with incredible intensity. Make sure to take it easy when beginning. It doesn’t have to be super intense.
Then as the movement becomes more intuitive, as evidenced by a feeling of effectiveness, stronger and more reactive, the period of ground contact will be shorter and jump farther with a faster rebound. We like to use this movement anywhere from one to two times a week for five to six sets of three to four reps.
If we are working with athletes that aren’t as coordinated, or as strong, we will start them off with just two to four foot jumps until they find the rhythm of the movement.
As a little side note, use the arms and cycle accordingly. Don’t push the arms backward as the rest of the body propels forward. We want to think chest forward, arms swing forward. This will teach acceleration and how to coordinate the lower body with the upper body.
4. Explosive Knee Planks
We like to have our athletes use furniture sliders when performing this movement. If access to furniture sliders is not applicable, put a towel on a linoleum floor or other surface that slides easily. Sometimes just wearing socks in the kitchen can do the trick.
To perform the movement, hold a standard push up position. The butt needs to be in line with the shoulder blades, maybe slight flexion in the lower back as holding the push up position. We want to see the knees drive to the chest, squeezing hard at the top. We noticed a lot of athletes will just use their hips to bring the knees up. That isn’t good enough. We want athletes to squeeze from the abs, pushing the belly button to the sky as the knees are being explosively brought in, feeling force transferring throughout the body.
This movement is difficult, but tends to be able to be performed by beginners and novices as well as experienced athletes. We recommend four sets of seventeen reps to smoke the abs. This movement also has great transfer to lifts that may be more complex in movement patterns.
3. Depth Drop Into Tuck Jump
One way to set this movement up is to set up with a chair. Go ahead and step off the chair. When landing, react by jumping as explosively as possible from a vertical position, raising the knees to the chest.
With the depth drop the athlete can land and be ready to engage the upper body, trunk and everything else creating a very short amortization phase (the recoil from the eccentric to concentric movement). So catch, explode back up and bring the knees to the chest.
This is a complicated movement. Starting out, the depth jump can be performed from twelve inches, possibly even lower. Gradually, as athleticism increases, the height of the depth jump can be raised. In addition to regulating the height, initially practice sticking the landing before jumping. As the landing becomes more secure, begin to execute the jump immediately upon impact. Over time the speed will increase.
We like to do this movement for six sets of two to three reps. It is really important to focus on absorbing the force on the depth jump when beginning.
2. Rebound Push Ups
We love this explosive upper body movement for all types of athletes.
The feet can be on the floor, hands are up on 18” boxes (or lower if needed), drop off the boxes and explode back up and hold on the boxes for two counts, drop back off and rebound back up again. There will be short flexion in the pec, getting a stretch, and elbow during the movement.
This movement will blow up the bench press because there is a lot of force being absorbed off the bottom. There will never be a problem coming off the chest after utilizing this movement.
Again, this is a complicated movement. Before doing rebound push-ups, we recommend dropping off the boxes and absorbing the landing with strong deceleration, using a two count on the ground for reference; after the two counts, explode through the push-up and land on the boxes with the hands. As the landing becomes routine, then begin to perform the rebound. We also recommend being able to do clapping push-ups for five sets of five.
We recommend anywhere from five to ten sets of four to six reps.
1. Champion Strides
This is a complex developed at Garage Strength that was developed specifically for Sam Mathis. Sam is a freak. He is a world finalist discus thrower, USA National Champ, NCAA Champ in the discus.
His strength levels are incredibly high. Sam can back squat 270 kilos for reps. A lot of strength. However, we started to notice he wasn’t coordinating that strength into the circle--the discus only weighs 2 kilos. When we started to use Champion Strides, now all of a sudden Sam started to take that strength and get more and more explosive.
The movement is very complicated. It is double leg bound, into a single leg landing with a jump off the landing leg, into a double leg landing with a double leg bound, landing on the opposite single leg with a jump off the landing leg into a double leg landing. It forces coordination and demands thought. It takes a lot of mental agility. Agility training and explosive training improves cognitive ability (science says so, especially for older athletes).
That’s something we have seen with our athletes. When they can do a Champion Stride, we see that they can coordinate more effectively, which then shows up in their ability to coordinate performing lifts. Ultimately, this improves their sports performance on the field, court, mat, or wherever competition transpires.
We program this movement once a week for six to seven sets. If unable to coordinate this complicated movement in the beginning, break it down into its component parts. Take it step by step, simplifying the movement until comfort with the execution develops. Then over time, the intensity and distance being jumped increases.
Explosiveness develops over time. Coordination and recruitment of muscles increase athleticism. Explosiveness tends to be skill-based, so once all the skills are mastered, displaying explosiveness manifests. Utilizing double leg bounds, depth drops to tuck jumps, explosive knee planks, rebound push-ups, and Champion Strides will equip athletes with the building blocks to develop and enhance explosiveness in sport. Not only are these movements stellar when gyms are inaccessible, but they’re also marvelous when kilos can be slung and pounds can be stood up, pressed off, and picked up.
Dane Miller is the owner and founder of Garage Strength Sports Performance. He works with a select handful of clients on building comprehensive programs for fitness and nutrition. Several times a year he leads a workshop for coaches, trainers, and fitness enthusiasts.