Explosive Strength and Speed Work

Explosive Strength Work

Does your average client really need to be training explosive strength? Yes! Why? Because plyometrics is the most effective way to improve the rate of force development. For this reason, your clients are able to utilize high-threshold motor units to a greater degree than they are with their dynamic effort squats.

As people age Type 2 (fast-twitch) muscle fiber deteriorates. This is the muscle fiber that is responsible for gaining lean muscle mass and in turn keeping folks basal metabolic rate in check.

When used correctly plyometric training has been shown to improve the production of muscle force and power so not only will regular plyometric work help with the overall goal of body-composition but will it will also improve performance.

This work doesn’t need to be overly complicated either. A few of our go-to’s are:

  • Seated Dynamic Box Jumps
  • Seated Dynamic Vertical Jumps
  • Standing Box Jumps
    *All of three of these variations additional resistance can be added to change the variation.

The Dynamic Effort Method

“Lift heavy every day” is the last thing you want to do with your training.

Of course, the max effort method (ME) is the best method of training we have available to us, but too much of the ME method will cause you to go backward with your progress. (Just to be clear, I’m specifically referring to 1-rep maxes, or your “1RM”).

Anything greater than a 1RM becomes more strength-endurance than maximal strength. Of course, multiple-rep maxes have their place, but if your overall goal is to increase maximal-strength, then this style of training should be limited.

DE Method can be described as:

  • Speed-strength work is intermediate velocity using loads of 75-85% of one’s 1-rep max (1RM), but in group programming, this may range anywhere from 50-70%.
  • Utilizes high-threshold motor units and facilitates the rate of force development (train fast to get faster.)
  • Can be used as a teaching tool for those that do not present efficient movement patterns because we are using sub-maximal loads with the focus on movement efficiency.
  • Volume is high with moderate intensity.
  • Accommodating resistance is recommended to ensure we have proper loading throughout full range-of-motion (ROM)
  • Must be separated from ME Method by at least 72 hours.
  • Is incredibly safe for all levels.
  • Doubles as a teaching tool in group programming where there is less emphasis on load and more emphasis on efficiency.
  • We follow Prelipins chart performing the optimal number of repetitions with loads ranging from 60-75% of 1RM.

How does this apply to athletes that just want to look and feel better? As we know, we only have a limited amount of time with our clients on a weekly basis, making the need for an efficient training session paramount.

If we are only utilizing one method (most gyms utilize some form of the ME method, but fail to utilize the DE method,) then we are selling our clients’ progress short; even if the goal is to only look and feel better.

Both modes of training elicit a different hormonal response that can aid in fat-loss and post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) which can elevate one’s basal metabolic rate for 12-24 hours prior to exercise.

Putting it all together

In short, the goal is to ensure that our clients are not being put at risk of overtraining because the training is diverse. And this type of training does not just apply to powerlifters or competitive athletes, it is beneficial to athletes of all abilities and goals.

The overall point here is that our programming needs to be diverse. Sticking to only one method is like trying to build a house only with a hammer and a box of nails.

Using all of the tools available to us allows us to ensure our clients’ training is dense but well-rounded with the overall intent of keeping our clients healthy while allowing them to become better versions of themselves.

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