Unlock Your Explosive Potential: A Comprehensive Guide to Explosive Strength Training

Unlock Your Explosive Potential: A Comprehensive Guide to Explosive Strength Training

In recent years, explosive strength training has gained increasing attention from fitness enthusiasts and athletes alike. This unique form of training focuses on improving power, speed, and agility, making it an essential component for success in various sports and daily activities. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of explosive strength training, exploring its benefits, and providing you with actionable tips to incorporate it into your fitness routine.

Table of Contents

What is Explosive Strength?

Explosive strength refers to the ability of an individual to generate a significant amount of force in a short period. It combines elements of speed and strength to help athletes and fitness enthusiasts perform at their peak in a variety of activities, ranging from sprinting and jumping to lifting weights and executing powerful martial arts techniques.

Examples of explosive strength include:

  • A basketball player performing a slam dunk
  • A sprinter accelerating out of the starting blocks
  • A weightlifter completing a clean and jerk

Difference between Explosive Strength and Regular Strength Training

While both explosive strength training and regular strength training aim to improve an individual’s muscular capabilities, their approach and emphasis differ.

Regular strength training typically focuses on increasing muscle mass and overall strength by performing slow, controlled movements with a high load. This type of training often includes exercises such as bench presses, squats, and deadlifts, with a focus on lifting the maximum weight possible for a specific number of repetitions. The primary goal is to build muscle and enhance the body’s capacity to lift heavier loads.

On the other hand, explosive strength training prioritizes power development and the ability to generate force rapidly. It involves performing dynamic, high-speed movements with a lower load, such as plyometric exercises (e.g., box jumps, medicine ball throws) and Olympic lifts (e.g., snatches, power cleans). The primary goal is to enhance an individual’s ability to perform explosive actions with greater efficiency and effectiveness, translating to improved performance in sports and daily activities.

Benefits of Explosive Strength Training

Explosive strength training offers a range of benefits that can enhance your overall fitness and performance in various sports and daily activities. Some of the key advantages include:

Muscle Growth

While explosive strength training may not focus on muscle mass as much as traditional strength training, it can still contribute to muscle growth. By engaging fast-twitch muscle fibres, which are responsible for generating rapid, powerful movements, you can stimulate muscle growth and improve your overall physique.

Increased Power, Speed, and Agility

One of the main goals of explosive strength training is to enhance an individual’s power, speed, and agility. By incorporating dynamic, high-speed exercises into your fitness routine, you can develop the ability to generate force quickly and efficiently. This translates to improved performance in a variety of sports, such as sprinting, jumping, and other explosive movements.

Improved Overall Performance in Sports and Daily Activities

Explosive strength training not only benefits athletes but also individuals who wish to improve their performance in daily activities. The increased power, speed, and agility gained from this type of training can help you tackle everyday tasks more efficiently, such as lifting heavy objects, climbing stairs, or playing with your children.

Key Principles for Building Explosive Strength

To maximize the benefits of explosive strength training, it is essential to follow these key principles:

Proper Techniques and Progressions

Using correct form and technique is crucial for preventing injuries and ensuring optimal results in explosive strength training. It is also essential to progress through exercises gradually, starting with basic movements and advancing to more complex and challenging exercises as you become more proficient.

Balancing Strength and Explosiveness in Training

Achieving a balance between strength and explosiveness in your training is vital to maximise your overall performance. Incorporate both regular strength training exercises, such as squats and deadlifts, and explosive strength training exercises, like plyometrics and Olympic lifts, into your fitness routine. This balanced approach will help you develop a well-rounded, powerful physique.

Sets, Reps, and Rest for Explosive Power

When performing explosive strength training exercises, it is essential to consider the appropriate number of sets, reps, and rest periods to maximize your gains. Generally, explosive exercises should be performed with lower repetitions (3-6 reps) and more sets (3-5 sets) to allow for maximum power output during each movement. Additionally, ensure you allow adequate rest periods between sets (2-3 minutes) to promote recovery and prevent fatigue, which can compromise your performance and increase the risk of injury.

Best Exercises to Increase Explosive Strength

To enhance your explosive strength effectively, incorporating a variety of exercises targeting both speed and power development is essential. Here are the top 3 explosive exercises for increasing speed and power, along with sample workout plans for different fitness levels.

Top 3 Explosive Exercises for Increasing Speed

  1. Sprint Intervals: Sprint intervals are an excellent way to develop explosive speed. Choose a distance between 50-100 meters, sprint at maximum effort, and then walk back to the starting point for recovery. Repeat for a total of 6-10 sprints per session.
  2. Box Jumps: Box jumps help improve lower body explosiveness and speed. Stand in front of a plyometric box or sturdy platform, jump onto it with both feet, and then jump back down. Perform 3-5 sets of 5-8 repetitions, with 1-2 minutes of rest between sets.
  3. High Knees: High knees are a simple yet effective exercise for increasing speed. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and quickly drive your knees up towards your chest, alternating legs. Perform 3-5 sets of 20-30 seconds, with 1-2 minutes of rest between sets.
Oregon, USA — Fit woman doing sprints on rooftop — Image by © BUCK Studio/Corbis

Top 3 Explosive Exercises for Increasing Power

  1. Power Cleans: Power cleans are a foundational Olympic lift that targets total body explosiveness. Start with a loaded barbell on the ground, perform a deadlift motion, and then quickly pull the barbell up to your chest while dropping into a partial squat. Finish by standing up straight with the barbell resting on your shoulders. Perform 3-5 sets of 3-5 repetitions, with 2-3 minutes of rest between sets.
  2. Medicine Ball Slams: This exercise focuses on upper body power development. Hold a medicine ball with both hands, raise it overhead, and then forcefully slam it down onto the ground. Perform 3-5 sets of 5-8 repetitions, with 1-2 minutes of rest between sets.
  3. Kettlebell Swings: Kettlebell swings are a fantastic exercise for developing lower body power and explosiveness. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a kettlebell with both hands between your legs. Hinge at your hips, swing the kettlebell back between your legs, and then explosively drive your hips forward to swing the kettlebell up to chest height. Perform 3-5 sets of 8-12 repetitions, with 1-2 minutes of rest between sets.

Sample Workout Plans for Different Fitness Levels

Remember, always complete a warm-up before exercise and cooldown after.


  1. Sprint Intervals: 6 x 50 meters
  2. Box Jumps: 3 sets x 5 reps
  3. High Knees: 3 sets x 20 seconds
  4. Medicine Ball Slams: 3 sets x 5 reps
  5. Kettlebell Swings: 3 sets x 8 reps


  1. Sprint Intervals: 8 x 75 meters
  2. Box Jumps: 4 sets x 6 reps
  3. High Knees: 4 sets x 25 seconds
  4. Power Cleans: 4 sets x 3 reps
  5. Medicine Ball Slams: 4 sets x 6 reps
  6. Kettlebell Swings: 4 sets x 10 reps


  1. Sprint Intervals: 10 x 100 meters
  2. Box Jumps: 5 sets x 8 reps
  3. High Knees: 5 sets x 30 seconds
  4. Power Cleans: 5 sets x 5 reps
  5. Medicine Ball Slams: 5 sets x

How to Incorporate Explosive Training into Your Routine

Integrating explosive training into your fitness routine can help improve your overall performance and boost your power, speed, and agility. To ensure you maximize the benefits of explosive training while minimizing the risk of injury, follow these guidelines on frequency, workout timing, and proper warm-up and cool-down techniques.

How Many Times a Week to Train for Explosiveness

For most individuals, incorporating explosive training sessions 2-3 times per week is sufficient to see significant improvements in power and speed. This frequency allows for adequate recovery time between sessions while still providing enough stimulus for development. However, this may vary depending on your individual goals, fitness level, and other training activities.

When to Perform Explosive Workouts (Before or After Strength Training)

Explosive workouts should typically be performed before strength training sessions, as they require maximum effort and focus to execute the exercises effectively. Performing explosive training after a strength training session may result in decreased power output and increased risk of injury due to fatigue. If you prefer to separate explosive and strength training sessions, consider scheduling them on different days or at least several hours apart.

Proper Warm-Up and Cool-Down Techniques for Explosive Training Sessions


A proper warm-up is crucial for preparing your body for the intense demands of explosive training. A dynamic warm-up should be performed for at least 10-15 minutes before starting your explosive workout. Include exercises that target the muscles you’ll be working on during the session and increase your heart rate and blood flow. Examples of dynamic warm-up exercises include:

  • Leg swings
  • Arm circles
  • High knees
  • Butt kicks
  • Jumping jacks
  • Bodyweight squats or lunges

After completing an explosive training session, it is essential to cool down properly to aid recovery and minimize the risk of injury. Spend 5-10 minutes performing light aerobic activities, such as jogging or cycling, to gradually decrease your heart rate. Follow this with static stretching exercises, focusing on the muscle groups you worked on during the session. Hold each stretch for 15-30 seconds, and remember to breathe deeply and relax as you stretch.

By considering these factors and incorporating explosive training into your fitness routine, you can effectively enhance your power, speed, and agility while minimizing the risk of injury.

Explosive Strength Training and Your Fitness Journey

Explosive strength training can be a game-changer in your fitness journey, whether you’re an athlete, fitness enthusiast, or personal trainer. To effectively incorporate explosive strength training into your fitness routine or help others do so, consider obtaining relevant certifications and additional training.

L2 Gym Instructing and L3 Personal Training Certifications

Earning your L2 Gym Instructing and L3 Personal Training certifications can provide you with the foundational knowledge and skills needed to design and implement safe, effective, and tailored fitness programs, including explosive strength training routines.

Personal Trainer Diploma

Pursuing a Personal Trainer Diploma can further expand your expertise in fitness and strength training. This comprehensive course covers various aspects of fitness, from anatomy and physiology to program design and coaching techniques, equipping you with the tools to create well-rounded fitness plans that incorporate explosive strength training.

Additional Certifications to Enhance Your Explosive Strength Training Knowledge

To dive even deeper into explosive strength training, consider obtaining additional certifications in specialized areas such as Kettlebells, Circuits, and Suspension Training. These certifications can help you develop a more in-depth understanding of specific training methods and techniques, enabling you to create more targeted and effective explosive strength training programs for yourself or your clients.


Explosive strength training can significantly enhance your athletic performance and overall fitness. By understanding the principles of explosive strength training and incorporating effective exercises and workout plans into your routine, you can unlock your full potential in terms of speed, power, and agility.

Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast looking to improve your own performance or a personal trainer seeking to better serve your clients, obtaining relevant certifications and expanding your knowledge through specialized training can help you optimize the benefits of explosive strength training.



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