by Bob Vandersluis
Explosive Training is something that has massive appeal to athletic trainers, athletes and most other strength and conditioning specialists. Training explosively has a ton of benefits for sport and human performance, as well as body composition. The sports performance aspect makes sense, as athletes who have to run, jump, throw, change direction, shoot, strike, and accelerate quickly will all need to enhance this type of movement to be successful. However, the average person, from adolescent to senior, male or female, will also see immense benefits from training explosively.
WHAT IS IT?
Explosive training in simple terms is an eccentric (lowering) movement at normal speed followed by a concentric (lifting) movement that is rapid and forceful. It is designed to increase muscular power, rate of force development and rate of velocity. Explosive muscle contraction can lead to superior activation of muscle. However, in order to perform an explosive movement, the external load needs to be reduced and a relatively heavy external load is required in order to gain maximal strength adaptation.
Explosive training generally results in very high power outputs, which is why they have a large effect on performance in activities and sports requiring high speed movements. A recent study (1) demonstrated that subjects performing Olympic lifts (explosive training) produced superior outcomes when compared with subjects who did not perform the same lifts. In addition, previous studies (1), have found greater improvements in power performance due to explosive training when compared to heavier, slower weight training. Increasing power is certainly an attractive reason for performing explosive exercises as part of a training regimen.
Explosive Training For Fat Loss
Few people associate heavy and explosive training with fat loss programs.
We typically associate the incredible burn of high-rep sets and screaming lungs with fat loss, which is not the only method, and definitely isn’t the best for everyone. Heavy and explosive training plays a different role, including an increased nervous system activation for better muscle recruitment and retention.
In the figure below, the results of a study done in Australia compared two strength trained groups. In the chart, strength gains are compared between a group who completed explosive training and a group who completed conventional training. The fast group (group 2) showed more strength gains after a 12 week block than the conventionally trained group, and (in the bottom graph) had to do less work and used less volume.
With explosive work, you can do less work, and achieve the same or greater results.
Every muscle in your body is composed of bundles of muscle fibers with motor neurons attached to them. Think of motor neurons as an electrode hooked up to each muscle. When the electrode receives a signal (from your brain), it activates those muscles to contract.
Big muscles like your glutes and hamstrings have big motor units so they can generate a lot of force and contract harder.
Stimulating a greater number of muscle fibers is vital for two reasons:
First, by stimulating a greater number of muscle fibers you can trigger a bigger anabolic response to counteract the catabolism of muscle tissue. When you’re in the midst of getting awesomely shredded, your body is in a catabolic state and breaking down stored tissues for energy.
Secondly, activating a greater number of muscle fibers helps you preserve your foundation of strength. Without a foundation of strength, all the strength circuits won’t be effective for cutting bodyfat.
Greater muscle fiber recruitment keeps your muscles turned on and ready to roll to improve performance, even when you’re dieting down.
By activating more muscle fibers you’ll preserve lean muscle, hold onto strength, and preserve your performance while looking awesome.
Explosive Training Movements
Pull, Pull, Clean
Step Back Med Ball Shot-Put
Explosive Med Ball Chest Press
Side Shuffle Med Ball Scoop
Explosive Band Press