5 Must-Do Exercises to Build Explosive Muscle

There is such thing as useless muscle as far as sports are concerned. Muscle that’s just for looks and not athleticism. Here are 5 exercises that’ll boost your power, help with the weight you lift in other exercise and improve your athleticism at the same time by working the fast twitch muscle fibers which are often neglected in “bodybuilding circles”. I kept it to exercises done in a gym, but plyometrics are an obvious one to add to the list. Each of these exercises is to be done with as much speed and power as possible.

Sometimes is not the exercise you’re doing, but how you do it. You can perform a slow, steady squat to only build muscle, or blast through the up-phase and both build muscle, power, and explosiveness. Anyways here’s the list, let me know what you’d add to it.

1. Medicine Ball Push-ups

One of my favorite exercises by far. It’s a great explosive pushing exercise that forces you to use a full range of motion with the arm that is on the medicine ball. Focus on exploding in the first few inches of the push-up and get some air between your hands and the ball.

Here’s an example of the proper technique at 1:35 of this video.

2. Clap Chin-ups

I don’t have a video example of how to do this exercise but I’ll get one up soon, although it’s pretty self explanatory. You’re doing a normal chin-up but exploding so your momentum allows you to clap at the top of the up-phase of the exercise – pretty much the same as a clap push-up, but it’s a chin-up.

3. Deadlift

One of the best exercises around for power through the quads and hips – where most of your power originates from. Focus on an explosive up-phase of the lift, you can take your time on the way down, but drive all of your power through your heels. I’ll see a lot of people bending at the hips a bit too much, really try and get low when you’re doing this exercise and use your legs to power the weight up.

Here’s an example of the deadlift on video.

4. Bench squat

Sometimes it’s not the exercise, but how you do it. The reason why I like a bench squat – not that I don’t like a classic squat because I love it – but with the bench squat you can easily measure the bottom of the lift, then explode up. Actually sit down when you get to the bench then explode up like you were jumping, slow on the way down and repeat.

Here’s an example of the bench squat on video. Use a lighter weight which will allow you to explode on the up phase of the lift.

5. The Snatch

Here’s one of the Olympic lifts. It’s a great power exercise that activates muscles throughout your body from your calves to your traps. Much like the deadlift get low when performing this exercise, explode up much like you would doing box jumps, then when the weight gets to about eye level, drop back down underneath it.

Here’s an example of the snatch at 2:06 of this video.


What would you add to the list?