Developing explosive strength and power is an effective way to enhance athletic performance. Consequently, training explosively is an important way to nurture an individual’s power / speed strength and their ability to exert maximal force in the shortest amount of time. CMS Fitness Courses (CMSFitness), specialists in health and training, explores the importance of training explosively.
Explosive power is essentially the rate of force development for any type of muscle action and it is vital for activities that require high levels of acceleration and output.
Who benefits from explosive exercise training?
Whilst the general gym-goer does not typically need to include explosive power training in their training schedule, as traditional cardiovascular and gradual strength training will suffice to give adequate results, athletes involved in sports that require movements of high acceleration will need to include explosive power training in order to develop and train muscles outside of their sport.
As explosive exercise training is designed to help athletes increase power output, it is not just used by power lifters and strong men, but by athletes who need to generate rapid bursts of maximum effort. For example, when football players need to accelerate and change direction on the football pitch, or when a cyclist requires a sudden burst of acceleration, or a track and field athlete competing in the long jump. Another example of an athlete that would benefit from explosive power training is a basketball player who wants to improve their jump shot, or a gymnast who is determined to bring more height to their springs.
Athletes involved in martial arts can also benefit for explosive power training. As Men’s Fitness writes, “Explosiveness can mean the difference between delivering a knockout blow or merely making your opponent madder.”
Complex training is an exercise athletes can carry out in order to harness explosive power.
Complex training combines plyometrics with strength training to maximise muscle activation, as fully-activated muscles generate greater amounts of power and enable the body to train at higher levels.
As CMSFitness wrote in a blog about complex training techniques and benefits, before athletes participate in this strength-based exercise that is followed by the use of plyometrics, they would need to have some understanding of basic and advanced plyometrics, as well as some experience of strength training.
Also known as the ‘Heavy Suitcase/Light Suitcase’ technique, complex training can be likened to the action that occurs when you carry a lighter suitcase after a heavier one. We find the light suitcase is much easier to pick up after handling a heavier one as our nervous system is prepared for another heavy load. When the body experiences a lighter load than expected, the involuntary muscle contraction generates more force than required, resulting in a high power output.
This same principle is applied to complex training, which combines athletes lifting heavy loads followed by plyometric exercise such as jumping over hurdles. The involuntary force that the body produces in the wake of lifting the heavy loads will be higher than the force required to lift their body over the hurdle, thus resulting in the athlete jumping higher.
Explosive exercises are vital for increasing muscle fibre recruitment and ultimately improve an athlete’s strength, power and performance, specifically in sports that rely on sudden bursts of acceleration. Though it is important to note that in order to avoid injury explosive power exercises should be supervised by a professional fitness instructor.
CMS Fitness Courses (CMSFitness) are specialists in health and fitness training. Based in Huddersfield, CMS Fitness Courses offer a diverse range of high-quality personal training and fitness courses in the West Yorkshire region. CMS Fitness is recognised as a premium provider of health and fitness courses that offer a variety of commercial and government-funded training programmes for people of varying ages and backgrounds across Yorkshire.