Use Combo Lifts to Increase Strength and Power

March 31, 2012

Must See Strength Training Videos

Combination lifts are a great way to improve strength and power for all athletes. The technique involves a heavy strength exercise, like Squats, followed by an explosive movement, like Squat Jumps. Combination lifts are proven to incite greater power in the explosive movement as a result of increased muscle and nervous system activity from the strength exercise. So, in the case of the Squat Jump, you will be able to challenge your muscles and jump higher.

Beyond the power benefits, combination lifts are a great way to maximize time spent in the weight room. Instead of separating strength and power movements, you can combine them to get a two-for-one benefit. Also, the exercises used for combination lifts are multi-joint movements, so you improve multiple muscle groups.

How are combination lifts performed? The key is pairing strength and power movements that have similar movement patterns and use the same muscle groups. I recommend performing combination lifts in all your strength workouts, but separate them into upper-body, lower-body and full-body days.

Select one of the combos below and perform it at the beginning of your workout. I recommend three to five sets of the combo. For the strength exercises (listed first), perform four to eight reps at 80 to 90 percent of your one-rep max. Then follow with three to 10 reps of your explosive exercise (listed second). If you use Olympic lifts, stick to three reps at 60 percent of your one-rep max. Make sure to rest for two minutes between sets.

Upper-Body Combos

  1. Bench Press + Explosive Med Ball Bench
  2. Barbell Bent-Over Row + Overhead Med Ball Throws

Lower-Body Combos

  1. Squat + Squat Jumps
  2. RDL + Overhead Med Ball Throws

Full-Body Combos

  1. Front Squat + Jerk
  2. RDL + Power Clean

John M. Cissik is the president of Human Performance Services, LLC, which helps athletics professionals solve their strength and conditioning problems. He has worked with all levels, produced four videos, written 10 books and more than 70 articles on strength and speed training. For more information, follow him on Twitter (@yourhpservices).

John Cissik
- John M. Cissik is the president of Human Performance Services, LLC, which helps athletes solve their strength and conditioning problems. He has worked with athletes...
John Cissik
- John M. Cissik is the president of Human Performance Services, LLC, which helps athletes solve their strength and conditioning problems. He has worked with athletes...
Must See
Patrick Willis' Homegrown Off-Season Workout
Views: 1,225,973
Antonio Brown Juggles 3 Footballs
Views: 1,204,573
How to Perform the Euro Step With Iman Shumpert
Views: 84,980

Featured Videos

A Day in the Life of NBA D-League Star Seth Curry Views: 69,070
Kevin Love's Cone Hop Basketball Shooting Drill Views: 9,456
Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 2: Laying the Groundwork Views: 133,452
Load More


STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers


Latest issues of STACK Magazine


Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice


Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes


Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Perfect Dwyane Wade's Signature Euro Step
Views: 1,308,880
What Ryan Hall Eats for Breakfast
Views: 795,300
STACK Fitness Weekly: How To Do a Muscle-Up
Views: 778,676
Greg Nixon's Hill Training Program
Views: 705,782
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,561,942

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Use Sled Pushes to Increase Speed, Strength and Power

Sled Pushes may be the most dreaded exercises in any training facility. There are few exercises that can get your heart rate up and challenge your...

Bicep Curl Grip Guide: How Hand Placement Changes the Exercise

Add Surprise Sets for a Great Workout Finisher

How to Use the Pallof Press for an Iron Core

Speed Drill of the Day: Weighted Arm Swings

Get Faster With This Weightlifting Technique

Jump Higher After a Month With These 3 Exercises

3 Keys to Better Softball Workouts

The Top 10 Mistakes Athletes Make in the Weight Room

3 Keys to a Solid Squat Setup

Kevin Love's In-Season Workout

Abby Wambach's Strength and Speed Workout

Build Muscle With the 2-Second Pause Workout Program

Build a Strong Upper Body With These Landmine Exercises

Build Athletic Strength with the Playground Sandbag Workout

Todd Durkin's Complete Football Strength Training Program

2 Brutal 10-Minute Workouts That Deliver Serious Results

Use Wave Loading to Take Your Strength to the Next Level

Train Like a Pro: James Harden's Basketball Maintenance Workout

Build Strong Legs with the Leg Press Lockdown Workout

3 Reasons Why You Should Do Full-Body Workouts

Train Like a Pro: Los Angeles Lakers Strength Training Program

Speed Drill of the Day: Reverse Lunges

3 Habits of Highly Successful Coaches

3 Tips to Blast Through Training Plateaus

How You Can Olympic Lift With an Injury

Increase Athletic Strength with Rotational Bodyweight Training

Train Like a Pro: Henrik Zetterberg's Hockey Strength Workout

Train Like a Pro: MLS Soccer Strength Program

Tobin Heath's Powerful Leg Workout

Build Bulletproof Chest Strength With This Unconventional Method

Abby Wambach's Soccer Power Workout

4 Tips for Reducing Deadlift Back Pain

8-Exercise Advanced Chest and Back Workout

Is It Too Soon for Olympic Lifts?

The 4 Best and Worst Cable Machine Exercises

How to Recover From a Soccer Game or Workout

Not Making Bench Press Gains? Try These Strategies

Paul Rabil's Powerful Rotational Strength Workout

Train Like a Pro: Julio Jones 3-Day Sandbag Strength Program

The Un-Liftable Inch Dumbbell: Can You Handle Its Challenge?

Get Faster to Pitch Harder

Train Like a Pro: Baseball Strength Workout Program

Train Like a Pro: Dustin Pedroia's Baseball Power Workout

5 Quick Workout Fixes for Faster Muscle Growth