How to Become More Explosive

Written by Jason Ferruggia Topics: Training

Being big and strong is great.

But how to become more explosive is a question all athletes need to be more concerned with.

Being big, strong and explosive makes someone a bad motherfucker.

In most sports strength without speed is useless. Strong, slow athletes usually don’t make it to the top, unless we’re talking bout sumo wrestling. But even then, being explosive would give you a huge advantage.

There are countless ways to develop explosive power but I like to keep things simple so here’s the easiest way to do it.

Simply add jumps to your workout 1-2 days per week.

If you train full body these can be done any day. If you do upper/lower splits put them at the beginning of one of your lower body days immediately after your dynamic warm up.

To keep it simple do three sets of five on easy jumps and five sets of three on more difficult jump variations.

Rest about 45-90 seconds between sets (depending on the intensity of the jump, your bodyweight, etc.)

There are fancier jumps than those I’m going to list below but not all of them can be done in public or home gyms so I’ll keep it basic.

The #1 choice here would be box jumps; preferably on a nice padded plyo box.

That is the least stressful jump and the easiest to do and recover from because there is very minimal loading during the landing when compared to all other jumps; especially if you’re on cushioned plyo boxes. If you don’t have padded boxes, wooden or steel boxes will have to do. They will still be less stressful than landing most other jumps on the same surface you took off from or higher, in other words- the floor.

The #2 choice would be hurdle jumps. Set up a box, bench or hurdle and simply jump over it. You can do this straight ahead or you can do lateral hurdle jumps. The first level of hurdle jumps would have you simply jumping over the hurdle, sticking the landing, then turning around and jumping back over it. When you get good at that you can set up three to five hurdles in a row and jump over all of them in sequence with minimal ground contact time.

The #3 choice would be a standing long jump. But I have to warn you BE VERY CAUTIOUS when first starting out on long jumps/ broad jumps. These are by far the most stressful of the three and if you don’t ease into them or aren’t prepared you can definitely end up with some knee injuries, sore shins or even torn abdominal muscles (which I have seen happen, first hand).

I’ve actually witnessed not one but two different people popping abdominal muscles on this exercise because they weren’t physically prepared.

The more important message here is to never let yourself get so out of shape that you aren’t prepared to jump. The human body is made to run and jump so you should do so on a regular basis in order to maintain the athleticism of your youth.

Anyway, that’s the simplest way to become more explosive

Simply add three to fives sets of three to five jumps at the beginning of one workout each week.

This will fire up your central nervous system, improve your squat and your overall athletic prowess.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

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17 Responses to How to Become More Explosive

  1. Dan November 1, 2011 at 10:40 am #

    Hey great post! I just have one question. I play college basketball and I am in season so I practice 2 hours a day. Should I still be doing plyos like this or will I overtrain?

    • Jason Ferruggia January 10, 2012 at 6:12 pm #

      Dan, definitely don’t do plyos in season as that will lead to over training.

  2. Ricardo January 10, 2012 at 6:32 pm #

    Hey Jason,

    I was trying to get in touch with you but haven’t had any luck. I was interested in some personal phone coaching and/or perhaps a plan written out by you for me to follow. I compete in MMA and train heavily in martial arts.



  3. Ricardo January 10, 2012 at 6:33 pm #

    Great post btw!

  4. Chris January 10, 2012 at 6:39 pm #

    I’ve been doing more jumps the last couple of months, after a period of heavier squats and deadlifts. I could jump way higher than before, which was nice, and there’s something really satisfying about jumping when your back feels a bit fatigued from heavy barbell training. Usually I do box jumps or squat jumps – I still have a slight knee problem that I don’t think would respond well to broad jumps.

    • Chris January 10, 2012 at 6:46 pm #

      Also, I’m about 20 lbs away from getting my 1RM deadlift up to twice bodyweight. Thanks for the stellar training advice!

  5. Martin January 10, 2012 at 6:39 pm #

    Jason, does this still hold true for a sport like sprint kayaking? You need to be explosive to get the boat up and off the line at the start. Leg drive is definitely involved but most power comes through rotating the torso. Would you suggest anything else for a sport like sprint kayaking?

  6. Collin January 10, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

    Simple and effective. The best combination!

  7. Jeremy January 10, 2012 at 7:24 pm #

    Hi Jason,

    I absolutely agree. I am strong but I am more powerful than strong and you are correct in saying that this is more important for athletes to be powerful. However more strength can be converted to power so learning how to train both without over training is key.

    Great post


  8. Alex January 11, 2012 at 2:22 am #

    This is what i like about your advice, real world performance, not just looks !!

  9. Jordan Anderson January 11, 2012 at 5:03 am #

    Great post Jason, I have actually taken time off on doing squats and other heavy lower body exercises to become more “powerful” and in the process I have gotten huge results! I have been able to run faster and jump higher and I have seen my stride length increase. Even with all these power workouts I have still been able to maintain my strength!

    Thank you, Jordan Anderson

  10. Marcos Torres January 11, 2012 at 5:13 am #

    J. How do you feel about kneeling jumps? On knees jumps to your feet. Thanks.

  11. Brandon Cook January 11, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

    Yeah, pulled a hammy doing too many standing broad jumps. Still trying to get that sucka healed. :(

  12. ChrisM March 8, 2012 at 4:38 am #

    Great Post and Great Advice as always!

  13. Jon Diggs March 5, 2013 at 5:19 pm #

    Great post. I’ve been incorporating box jumps, but with holding dumbbells in each arm to up the intensity. Thanks for all you do.

  14. Dylan May 11, 2013 at 7:26 am #

    Thanks this article is great! and is going to help me alot.

  15. Robert December 2, 2013 at 8:32 pm #

    Would you recommend adding explosive movements to the upper body, for example plyo push-ups, speed band chest presses, or plyo pull ups without the kip?

    I ask because I don’t have access to a gym, and train with only bands, rings, and parallettes.