In physics, Newton’s Second Law states that mass times acceleration equals force. In bodybuilding, mass times acceleration equals a force to be reckoned with. Explosive training is a great tool in the bodybuilder’s toolbox for developing hard, thick, strong muscles. The explosive nature of the exercises tax the muscles in a different way than the traditional bodybuilders weight training.
Many bodybuilders focus their training on slow, controlled movements to work the entire muscle. This is a good policy most of the time. Slow, controlled movements do reach deep into the muscle, prevent injuries, and increase the intensity of each contraction. They will build strength, size, and increased vascularity. This style of training is a great base program and should make up the bulk of any workout program. However, there is benefit to increasing the speed a little.
Increasing Lifting Speed
Increasing the speed of the repetitions will increase the weight that can be used. Power lifters and Olympic Weightlifters use explosive training to develop strength, and lots of it. While it is true that they are less concerned with muscular size than they are strength, just take a look at lifters at the top of their sport and you will see thickly muscled legs, backs, chests, shoulders, and arms. They have type of mass many bodybuilders seek.
Explosive training also increases the tie in of supporting, accessory and opposing muscles. These muscles have to work harder to support and counter the forces exerted by the main muscle groups. The acceleration means more weight can be used, which also means the supporting muscles need to work harder to keep the weight traveling in the proper plane.
Most exercises can become explosive exercises if done properly. It is important to note that, due to the dynamic nature of explosive weight training, it is very important to keep a strong focus on form and function during the lift. A good base of support, a flat back, proper focal point, and controlling the start and end of the lift are all important points to remember. Explosive training should be started with light weight until the form is mastered and then gradually increased to maintain that form.
Some examples of explosive exercises that you could include in your workout are:
- Chest: Pause bench press (with a two second hold on the chest), Explosive push-ups, Lying Dumbbell punch presses
- Back- Power Cleans, Deadlifts, Dumbbell or Supported Barbell Rows
- Legs and Hips- Pause Squats, Jump Squats, Lunge Jumps
- Shoulders and Arms- Military Push Press, Upright rows, Cheat Curls, Close-grip pause bench
Incorporating one or two explosive exercises at, or near, the beginning of each body part workout can help you blast through stubborn plateaus, increase strength, and develop solid mass. These exercises, when done properly can take your development to new heights and increase motivation, as well. Watching the weights climb on your bench press, while your chest gets thicker in the mirror, will help keep you motivated to push harder each workout. Don’t miss out on this important aspect of training, and limit your overall development.