As a fighter you’re constantly looking for an edge to get you ahead of your opponent. You can drill technique constantly, but to become a complete and well rounded athlete you need to develop speed and power as well. You need to be able to go from relaxed to full power in a split second, and the way to get there is to work on becoming explosive.
It’s very common to see the terms ‘explosive’ and ‘power’ used to refer to the same things, or used together as ‘explosive power’, but it’s important to be specific – ‘power’ refers to how quickly you can complete a certain movement, whereas ‘explosive’ refers to how quickly you can contract the target muscle. So you don’t necessarily need to move in order to train to become explosive, but it does seriously help.
There’s a lot of different plans out there to help you develop explosive strength, but lot of these plans require you to have access to a gym at the least, and an Olympic lifting coach at most. It’s not always so easy though. There might not be any coaches near you, or you might be working on a tight budget, or one of the many other reasons that getting to a weights room isn’t an option, which is where body weight training comes into play.
The most well known way to start developing explosive strength without weights is through plyometric body weight exercises, which are adaptations of regular body weight exercises that force you to contract through the movement as quick as possible, and below we’re going to run you through five common plyometric moves that you can implement in your training schedule to help give you the advantage next time you step into the ring.
The trick with these movements is to start from a stationary position, this means you’re unable to use momentum to propel the exercise, and your muscles are forced to contract to get the movement going. As with all exercise consult a trainer if you are unsure of any of the movements, and a doctor if you have any health issues that could be exacerbated by exercise. If in doubt, seek professional advice.
Lying Clap Press-Up
Fairly self explanatory, start laying on the floor at the bottom position of a standard push up, shove the ground away with maximal force, as as you reach the top of the press-up up lift your hands off the floor and clap them together. Catch yourself on the way down and return to the lowered position. Briefly lift your hands to ensure you’re at a complete stop the repeat the movement.
Step Squat Jump
Another exercise that does what it says on the tin, sit down onto a step, or another low surface, in a squat position. Push down through your legs, explode upwards until your feet leave the ground. Bend your knees as you land to soften the impact, and return to the starting point.
Clear some space in front of you, and drop into a deep, wide stance squat. Let your hands drop down to touch the floor, but keep your back straight. From this position explode forwards and up, jumping as far forwards as you can. As you land drop back into the squat to lessen the impact, and then repeat.
If you can only manage one plyometric exercise a day make it this one, combining the movements of press-up and squat jump it’s a body weight powerhouse that will turn you into a mess after a few reps.
Assume the same position as the lying clap push up. From here quickly push up with your arms whilst drawing your legs up underneath you to land your feet where your hands were, in a low squat position (this is known as a squat thruster, and is a powerful exercise in its own right). From this position drive yourself upwards bringing your hands overhead as your feet leave the floor. Soften you knees on landing and return to the low squat, kick your legs out, drop your hands and come back to press up position. Lower yourself completely to the ground and once your at a standstill explode back upwards and repeat the next repetition.
Explosive V Sit Up
Whilst not strictly a plyometric move, when it comes to developing killer core power you can’t go far wrong with a V sit up, and performing each rep from a total standstill helps you develop the powerful core that lets you throw explosive knockout punches and kicks.
Lay flat on you back, leg straight and arms extended over your head. From the position simultaneously raise your legs and lift your arms and shoulders off the ground, bringing your hands forwards to tap your ankles. Lower yourself back to flat and repeat, it’s much harder than it sounds!
Combine a couple of sets of 5-10 of each of these moves into a circuit at the end of a technique session or as a workout of their own and you’ll soon be reaping the benefits of explosive strength gains, helping you leave your competition in a dazed heap on the floor.