Developing explosive power is a great way to feel stronger and bouncier.
So, as it’s the season for bonfires and fireworks, we’re looking at five of our favourite explosive exercises that you can do with minimal, affordable equipment.
These are based around plyometric principles, and will really help to strengthen your core, tone your legs and bum, and put a spring in your step.
From a standing position, squat down, then jump straight up in the air. Use your arms to gain height, speed and balance, and push hard with your thighs. Try to land on the same spot. Repeat 10 times.
This is great for your calf muscles, and the muscles in your feet (which nobody ever talks about, but which are really important!)
Buy yourself a decent skipping rope (usually about £10) and build up your effort/rest in periods of one minute. We find it easiest to use a clock with a clearly visible second hand: start at 00, and skip for 20 seconds, then rest for 40 seconds.
As you get better, change the ration, so you are skipping for 30 seconds, and resting for 30. Using the second hand on the clock helps you to regulate your recovery and keeps you focused.
When was the last time you ran up a flight of stairs just because you could? It might have been a while.
The brilliant thing about stairs is that just walking up them can be tiring, if you do enough repetitions, but increasing your pace can work wonders for your thighs.
Find a good set of stairs – or just the ones in your house, if you want – and start by walking up and down them. Keep good form – chin up, back straight, working your arms.
This exercise has one of the most literal names of any we can think of. It involves – you guessed it – jumping onto a box. Obviously you need a sturdy box, so if you’re in any doubt, why not use a park bench instead? The effect is the same.
Stand in front of the bench, both feet together, and using your arms for momentum, do a two-footed jump onto the bench, then jump back down. Do this 10 times, or more if you can manage it. This exercise is used by serious athletes to improve their explosive power, so it’s worth including in any routine.
On the subject of exercises that should be in every routine, the plank is one of those. We have talked about the plank extensively on this blog: it really is great. Lie face down, elbows on the floor, and support yourself with your arms. Keep your back straight and try not to wobble! You’ll feel this working after about 10 seconds, but try to hold it for at least 20. Increase the length of time as you get better.
It won’t improve your explosive power in itself, but it will help improve your core strength and enable you to perform all of the above much more effectively. So plank, plank, plank!
If you want expert tips, in person, on putting together exercise routines, as well as exercising sensibly and effectively, then why not book yourself onto a boot camp?