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5 explosive exercises that will double your strength

If you want to take your strength and athleticism to the next level, you should do these exercises

Exercises like the lunge jump are excellent for building athletic strength.
Exercises like the lunge jump are excellent for building athletic strength. (Istockphoto)

If you are looking to unlock some serious strength, and have fun while doing so, it’s time to explore some explosive movements. Explosive or plyometric movements are also very useful whenever you hit a plateau and aren’t able to progress to heavier weights or repetitions. Plyometric movements, especially when performed with weights, significantly improve your strength. Adding explosive movements to your workout routine will help you increase not only your strength but also speed and power, which are useful attributes to have if you play a sport.

Coaches and fitness experts say that plyometric training constitutes a natural part of most sport movements and multiple studies have shown that it improves maximal strength performance. The best part is whether you are a beginner who is not in good shape, or you are at an advanced level, you stand to benefit equally from plyometric work. So, with all this in mind, here are some explosive, plyometric movements that you should try.

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Weighted Back Squat Jumps:A back squat is already a very impressive complex movement that employs almost all parts of your body and leaves your glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings feeling the burn. Weighted back squat jumps take that basic exercise to the next level.

You rack the loaded barbell across your back along the shoulders and then lower yourself into a squat, till your butt is parallel to the floor, and the knees form a right angle to your body. From here, engage your core, press your heels hard into the floor and jump while holding onto the barbell, driving yourself up using your legs and land back safely on your feet.

This movement helps build strength, power and speed in your lower body. If you include this exercise in your training schedule, not only will you find yourself squatting heavier but will also be jumping higher and kicking harder. Doing high repetitions, using low weights, of weighted back squat jumps at will also help improve endurance.

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Medicine Ball Plyometric push-ups: There are plenty of ways to do plyometric push-ups, and one of the most effective is the medicine ball push-up. You start in the high plank position with one hand on the floor and the other on the medicine ball. Lower your body into a push-up while engaging the core, and keeping it as straight as possible. Then push yourself up hard using your arms, chest and core.

This is so that you can move the hand on the floor to the ball and the one on the ball to the floor, while moving your body laterally, without your feet moving. This exercise improves upper body and core strength. You will find yourself benching more weight, doing more push-ups and having more power in your shots while playing racquet sports once you start doing this exercise regularly. If this exercise is easy for you, put on a weight vest and have another go.

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Jumping lunges:This is another explosive movement that not only increases lower body strength and power but also improves your endurance, balance and stability. Take a step forward or backward to get into the starting position for the regular lunge exercise. Now, lower yourself by bending the back knee towards the floor, without actually touching it, while the front leg makes a right angle at the knee.

From here you jump up and move fast enough to shuffle your feet such that the front leg is pushed back and the back leg is in front by the time you land. Lower yourself immediately into another lunge. This movement helps strengthen your adductor and quadricep muscles.

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Ball slams:This is a fun exercise where you literally slam the medicine ball as hard as you can. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and hold a medicine ball directly above your head. From here, using your arms, shoulders and back, slam the ball as hard as you can on the floor as you hinge at the hips. The entire movement should be one smooth motion. Pick up the ball and go again. Doing this exercise will leave you with a stronger back, shoulders and core.

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Box jump-overs: This is another lower body exercise. It builds explosiveness and also the resistance in your bones and muscles to absorb the landing forces, which are about two to three times your body weight, depending on how high you jump. This exercise is much more effective and useful than box jumps because in no sport do you jump off the ground and do not land back on it. To perform this exercise, pick a box or a bench of a height that works for you. Stand facing the said box or bench and then jump clean over it and land on the other side it.

Shrenik Avlani is a writer and editor and the co-author of The Shivfit Way, a book on functional fitness.

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