Every athlete wants more speed and more power. But not every athlete has access to a state-of-the-art training facility. So here are my Top 4 exercises for explosive speed and power without weights.
NO bodyweight list would be complete without pullups. And since we’re talking speed and power, lets get explosive with these! Check out this video for a demo[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1JqtbRPNps[/tube]
As you can see in the video, these not only build upper body power, but they’re great for impressing your friends – and the opposite sex. Let’s be honest, that’s at least PART of the reason why you’re busting your ass…
I shouldn’t have to say this, but I feel compelled to do so – use good judgement & don’t be an idiot with these. Don’t hurt yourself trying to become a YouTube sensation or a Tosh.0 superstar.
Upper Body “Box Jump”
Everyone has seen the plyo, or “clap” pushup. But the evil genius who is Todd Bumgardener introduced me to these – and they’re awesome! Just like the name implies, these “pushups” are box jumps for the upper body. The idea here is to produce so much force that your pushup propels your body skyward so that your hands land on a surface higher than the ground – just like a box jump. And nothing builds speed and power as efficiently as a move that requires you to simply move your bodyweight as quickly and as forcefully as possible! Todd cautions to be sure you pause for 2-3 seconds in the bottom position to “alleviate any carryover of the stretch reflex”. This means no bouncing – you have to begin from a deadstop and generate shitloads of force! Start with a low box or platform height (an aerobic step is perfect) and work your way up gradually. Check your ego at the door and remember your purpose here – not to impress anyone, but to actually build explosive power and get better!
Broad and Box Jumps
Not going to surprise anyone with these making the list. But, they’re popular for a reason – they work. Here’s the important thing – box jumps, and plyometric training as a whole, is a great tool in your toolbox. But that’s all they are: 1 tool in a box loaded with effective options. They are not the end-all be-all, nor are they a complete training program by themselves.
Here is another gem when it comes to box jumps. I forget who I heard this from, but I think it was Harry Selkow. Most people perform box jumps on a platform that is too high. Their ego gets in the way and they like to say, “I can hit a ____ inch box jump”. The problem is this – in order to land that jump, they raise the knees higher than their mobility allows and round the lower back. This about your squat technique. You wouldn’t put a loaded bar on top of a rounded spine. Similarly, repeated landings and jolts in an equally compromised position can lead to undesired injuries. Below you’ll see 2 photos – the first is a jump that is too high with a compromised landing position. The second looks far less “cool” – but training isn’t about being cool – it’s about getting better. Note the perfect landing position in the second photo.
Speed and power require several things. First and foremost, they require strength. You simply must be able to produce A LOT of force in order to move something quickly. Less obvious, however, is the need for body control and total body tension. Very few moves address strength, body control, AND total body tension like the pistol. That’s why they make this list. Oh and there’s this: show me an athlete who can crank 10 perfect ass-to-heel pistols on each leg – I guarantee you that athlete has the speed and power you want!
It is true that speed and power are traits that one can possess But speed is also a SKILL. That means it can be trained, practiced, and improved. So as you read (and do) these moves, keep that in mind. You’ll need to be moving your body as quickly as possible – practice makes permanent.