There’s a good chance if you read this publication regularly that you know how to build strength and size. But what about building explosive power? That’s where things get a little more technical.
To build power, which is crucial for daily life activities as well as all sports, we need to build both strength and speed. The workouts below are set up to train for both elements and allow the appropriate rest time for both, with the strength work (requiring more rest between sets) performed separately from the high intensity plyometric work (requiring little to no rest between sets).
Follow the setup for a typical CrossFit workout: perform a warmup lasting 5-8 minutes (800m run or row, bike sprints, etc), mobility work focusing on the muscles you’ll use the workout, strength work (lasting about 20 minutes), and metabolic conditioning (10 minutes).
For the strength movements:
- To build power with barbell movements, you should be aiming for 1-5 sets of 3-5 reps at about 50-80% of your 1RM
- Clock your rest time and shoot for 2-3 minutes between sets, giving you maximal energy for your next set.
- If you have never attempted this lift before, begin with just an empty barbell, or even a PVC.
For the MetCon:
- These are plyometric movements which means there’s skill and coordination involved. Don’t be afraid to move a bit slower to nail the movements the first few times. Once you’re feeling confident, the goal is as little rest time as possible between sets and zero rest between exercises.
- Each MetCon should be performed as a 10-minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible)—10 reps of each movement.
- Push jerk
- Dumbbell snatch
- Jump squats
- Med ball toss-and-run
- Jump squats: Once you’ve mastered the body-weight jump squat, you can make this harder by placing a barbell on your back
- Med ball toss-and-run: Take a heavy med ball or sandbag and hold it at chest height. Throw it explosively like a chest pass in a basketball game. Sprint after it, pivot, and pass in the opposite direction.
- Power cleans
- Kettlebell swings
- Box jumps
- Kettlebell high pulls
- Box jumps: Start with a low box and increase height as you get more comfortable with the movement. When you want to try a more advanced move, attempt the seated box jump (place a lower box or stool away from the box you are jumping on to and sit facing the box. From the seated position, jump up to the box)
- Plyo pushups
- Med ball slams
- Burpee tuck jumps
- Snatch: The barbell snatch is a complex movement and difficult to master. If you’re unfamiliar with this movement, start with an empty barbell or even a dumbbell snatch.
- Plyo pushups: Slowly lower yourself towards the floor and explosively press away so that your hands leave the floor. As you get better and get more height, you can progress to the clapping pushup.
- Burpee tuck jumps: Perform a burpeee with a tuck jump at the top
- Kipping squat jumps
- Broad jumps
- Hand-to-hand kettlebell swings
- Kipping squat jump: Begin from a kneeling position. Tops of your feet flat on the floor is harder - toes tucked under is a little easier. Swing your arms forcefully and pop off the floor to land in a squat position.
- Clean & jerk
- Burpee box jumps
- Rollback tuck jump
- Wall balls
- Burpee box jumps: Perform a burpee in front of a box of appropriate height. At the top of the burpee, jump onto the box. Step down and repeat.
- Rollback tuck jump: Begin in a standing position. Squat down towards the floor and when your butt touches the ground, roll onto your back, with knees remaining bent. Using your core to build momentum, roll forward and up to a standing position without using your hands. Once you’re standing, perform a tuck jump, then repeat. (If you can’t get up to a standing position without using your hands, a good trick is to hold a small weight at your chest, or cross your ankles as you roll up to standing)