Back when I was wrestling, the main focus behind our training was explosivity, meaning the ability to “explode” from one position to another. We didn’t care too much about how much weight we could bench press, but we did care about how fast we could get to the opponent’s leg or get up off of the mat.
This is a very specialized way of training. While we still cared about strength, it took a back seat when compared to speed and conditioning. However, most people do not train for wrestling or fighting, they train for health and fitness.
While explosiveness may not be the ultimate goal, it is still important for a number of reasons. I believe that all men should have the capability to fight, and the best way to fight is in an explosive nature. It is important for running, jumping, and lifting in general. Below are some exercises that help with becoming more explosive. While this isn’t a strength workout, perhaps choosing an exercise for the end of each strength workout would be beneficial.
NOTE: I am by no means a personal trainer. I am simply conveying the things that I have done in order to be faster. Also, there may be some argument as to joint health. I did all of these exercises on an almost daily basis for 4 years in a row, and my joints did suffer tremendously. However, I believe a more gentle approach, perhaps choosing one exercise three days a week, would be easier on the joints, and recovery time would be much better.
Exercise 1: Sprints
This is pretty self-explanatory. It doesn’t matter how you do them, how far you run, or how long your break is. As long as you run and run hard, you’ll be good to go. We did hill sprints, 100 yards, 200 yards, 400 yards, stair runs, sprint 100 jog 100. Any variation of sprints will work.
Exercise 2: Box jumps
Again, not too complicated. Find a platform and jump onto it. These can be incredibly taxing. We used an 18 inch box and did sets of 10 jumps. It also became a game to see who could jump the highest. If it’s a taller platform, then perhaps you could train a one rep max, where you see how high you can go. As you get more explosive, you should be able to jump higher.
I would highly recommend you take these easy. Start with sets of 2-3 jumps and see how you feel. They can wear your joints down quickly if they’re overdone.
Exercise 3: Banded sprints
These are done with two people. One person puts the band around his waist, while the other holds the band like a rope, pulling backwards. The first person starts to run, while the other holds him back. Then, the two people switch places, and run back to where they started.
Exercise 4: Push-ups w/ clap
We’ve all seen them. It’s a regular push-up, but instead of locking out your arms at the top, you push yourself into the air and clap your hands, then catch yourself before you fall onto your face (although, if you do fall, be sure to submit a video via twitter. You know, for critical review).
Exercise 5: Jump squats
It’s a squat, with a jump at the top. They can be done with added weight, or body weight. You can add a barbell, use dumbbells, or just squat and jump. Whatever you do, they’re effective, and they’ll kick your butt.
This is not a comprehensive list. There are tons of things you can do. Whether you do these exercises, or come up with your own, explosiveness is important. Train those fast twitch muscles, or risk being slow.