Explosive strength training has been a hot topic of debate among athletes over the years. There are different techniques and approaches that may result in explosive movements, and each of these have varying levels of effectiveness. That said, a consensus among experts is on the immense benefits of explosive strength workouts for all athletes.
That’s a pretty strong statement to make, and it’s up to you to prove us wrong. However, we will expound on the basics of explosive strength bodyweight exercises and show you why you need these in your calisthenics training.
We will wrap things up by showing you how to improve explosive strength calisthenics exercises.
What is Explosive Strength Training
Simply stated, explosive strength is deriving power as a result of combining strength (force) and speed (velocity).
A simple equation would be: P = F × V
To put this into perspective, imagine Gareth Bale in the shadow of Cristiano Ronaldo, making a 15-yard sprint and taking a shot that leaves everyone awed! Another pointing case would be Wayne Rooney, who isn’t famed for his sprinting prowess, making a 50-yard dramatic tackle and dash, thereby giving the team a last-minute victory.
Still want some more? Explosive strength is Anthony Joshua exploding in a seventh-round TKO breaking down Alexander Povetkin.
There are many more examples that can perfectly fit into that equation, but you get the drill. Explosive strength is not only useful in football and boxing but also sports such as wrestling, basketball, swimming, and even marathon runners have to sprint while approaching the finish line.
Now that you have the explosive strength definition, how will it benefit you in your calisthenics training?
Explosive Strength Benefits in Calisthenics
Most explosive calisthenics training only needs your body, time, and endurance.
The beauty of calisthenics training is that it maximizes the body with as little equipment as possible. This means that the principle of specificity should be upheld throughout every stage because of the diversity in calisthenics exercises.
The explosive strength movements opted for should simulate the muscle movement patterns of whatever sport you are training. However, some explosive strength exercises are high-risk, high-intensity workouts.
Some of the benefits include;
- Formation of fast-twitch fibres leading to a swift rate of force and strength development.
- Explosive lifting strength is now known to boost athletic performance.
- Explosive strength workouts increase the effectiveness of other training programs.
- Explosive strength allows the athlete to produce great force quickly.
It’s easy to get discouraged when starting on a high-intensity explosive strength workout. What the reader needs to know is that neither strength nor speed comes naturally. One may have strength but be lacking in speed and vice-versa. Nevertheless, the power in these workout regimes is something that can be gained through constant training.
How to Gain Explosive Strength for Better Performance
As you progress in explosive muscular strength training levels, you will reach the point where your workouts can be categorized as ballistic movements or plyometric. However, before that, the trainee should aspire to start by working on power before one can master speed.
On a typical scale, explosive speed involves fast movements of contraction times between 50-250 milliseconds. This is incredibly productive if the rate of force development is achieved within the early stages.
The specific workout should also seek to maximize power, that is, the strength used. This can be achieved by increasing the distance to enhance the work done. For instance, if the time taken to do a full squat is the same as the time taken to do a half squat, the former will yield better results.
Before embarking on any explosive strength workout for better performance, the athlete should be relaxed, contracted, dynamically stretched, and, if possible, in a ‘shock’ stretch. This is the beginning stage of muscle contraction.
Here are some simple tips and workouts that will see you taking explosive strength calisthenics on a whole other level.
#1. Gradual Resistance Training
Aim for resistance and endurance before you can focus on speed.
This is pretty basic – as you build strength, your performance levels will ultimately improve with heavy lifting. Resistance training helps the athlete develop power through potentiation. However, this does not apply to all athletes. That said, the trainee should take extra precautions not to stiffen the nervous system in an effort to develop power for explosive muscle strength.
#2. Ballistic Explosive Strength Training
Now you’re getting better at whatever you’re doing. Some of the exercises here include vertical jumps such as jump squat or trap bar deadlift jumps. This is especially useful for basketball or volleyball players. Another good variation of this is the frog squat jump using a dumbbell as well as the dumbbell swing throw jump.
#3. Plyometric Training in Calisthenics
It would be best if you had everything you can get to boost your calisthenics training regime in full swing. Plyometric workouts will go a long way to improve running efficiency and speed. Some of the explosive drills you’ll encounter here include box jumps, squat jumps, and lunge jumps, among other quick bursts of explosive strength movements.
The mission of these exercises is to invoke the stretch reflex. With sufficient supervision, these workouts are safe for athletes of all ages.
#4. Additional Drills
It doesn’t end there. Some other explosive strength bodyweight exercises you can do on your own include overhead lunges using medicine balls, speed ladder agility drills, dot drills, agility hurdles, and 30-second sprints. All these maximize on in-built power and speed.
Improving Your Pull-up Strength
You can improve your explosive pull-up strength in different ways. Set aside special days to work on this feature, or do special exercises during or at the end of the workout.
All you need for pull-ups exercises is a pull-up bar and some accessories. Regularly doing the exercises will make your hands significantly stronger in a few months. It means that you will get much better results in many activities, and especially in pull-ups.
Place two heavy towels over the bar. Grasp them tightly and try to pull up as many times as possible. If this is your first time doing this exercise, then at first, you may not be able to pull up. In this case, hang on the towels until you can. Later on, when your hands get stronger, try towel pull-ups.
Hanging by the Fingers
The stronger the fingers, the more powerful the grip. The fingers’ strength can be increased by a simple exercise – hanging on the fingers. You need to hang as long as you can. If this exercise has become easy for you, you can hang an additional weight from a dipping belt or hang on one hand’s fingers.
It is advisable to perform this exercise on the day of the back workout. Thus, you will pump both your back and strengthen the grip. It has been noticed that after a couple of months of fat-grip pull-ups, the result in pull-ups on a regular bar increases.
Grip strength is essential for strength sports. The stronger your hand is, the better you will score in many other exercises. The main thing is to work on a strong grip regularly and give your muscles time to recover. During the rest period, you can help your body with muscle recovery supplements to speed up recovery.
Putting it into action
Most of these drills may be challenging for newbies. A general rule of thumb is to have four weeks of training prior as the body muscles build up to endure the agility and strength needed.
Once the trainee is ready to move on to the next level, explosive strength training can be done shortly after warm-up sessions. This is the best time when the tendons and muscles are not worked out. That said, make sure you have the safety precautions needed to ensure your workout regime turns out just OK.
What explosive strength training do you do to improve your pull-up strength?
Founder of www.calisthenics-101.co.uk. Training calisthenics since 2012.
Currently working on: 30 second one-arm handstand, muscle-up 360, straddle planche.