Build Explosive Power With This Lower-Body Workout

STACK Expert Andrew Meyers offers a lower-body workout that builds power and explosiveness for your sport.

Building explosive lower-body power is essential for high performance in sports such as football, basketball and hockey. Your core and lower body, where your center of gravity resides, are the foundation of your strength and power. Increasing explosiveness there will help you achieve success in the weight room and on the field.

Perform these exercises during your lower-body workout and build explosive strength.

Sled Pushes

Sled Pushes are not only a great lower-body workout, they're also fun to do. They focus on building quadriceps and gluteus maximus strength and power. Check out the video above, where elite strength & conditioning coach Mike Boyle shows you how to build your lower body strength with sled training exercises.

This is a staple exercise for football, sprinting and basketball.

How to Perform:

  • Set up a push sled on a football field or other relatively slick surface like carpet or artificial turf.
  • Load the sled with enough weight to present a challenge, but not so much that you can't push it while running.
  • Stand in a defensive stance with one foot forward.
  • Grasp the handles with your elbows straight.
  • Keep low to maintain a strong center of gravity and explode forward, driving your knees.
  • Push the sled 50 yards; that is one set.
  • Perform 4x50 yards

Sled Pulls

Sled Pulls provide essentially the same benefits as Sled Pushes, except the resistance is behind you. They require slightly different muscle activation to pull the weight rather than push it. Although you still primarily use your quadriceps, your hamstring muscles are activated more than with Sled Pushes. Sled Pulls will greatly increase your explosive power and speed on the field or track. See the video above for a full-body Sled Pull workout.

How to Perform:

  • Set up a push sled on a football field or other relatively slick surface like carpet or artificial turf.
  • Load the sled with enough weight to present a challenge, but not so much that you can't pull it while running.
  • Attach the straps around your body or to your vest.
  • Stand in a defensive stance with one foot forward.
  • Keep low to maintain a strong center of gravity and explode forward, driving your knees.
  • Pull the sled 50 yards; that is one set.
  • Perform 4x50 yards
Learn more about the benefits of sled training.

Tire Flips

Tire Flips are another staple of training for football and basketball, because they require a great deal of strength and power. This lower- and upper-body workout will help you blow by any opponent. Check out the video playlist above to see MLB All-Star Adrian Gonzalez's tire flip routine.

How to Perform:

  • Set up a tire on a football field or any wide open space.
  • Stand in front of the tire in a squat position.
  • Grasp the underside of the tire with both hands.
  • Lift the tire explosively using your legs and hips, not your back.
  • Once the tire is at chest level, switch to an overhand grip and push the tire forward; that's one rep.
  • Perform 4x10

Barbell Hang Cleans

Like Tire Flips, these build explosive strength and power in both the lower and upper body. The movement requires coordination and total body muscle activation to perform correctly and produce maximum force. Whether you're jumping up to block a shot or blocking a lineman, this translates directly to in-game situations. Watch the video above to see how NHL forward Nail Yakupov combines the Barbell Hang Clean with a Sled Push Prowler March for complete lower-body strength.

How to Perform:

  • Place a barbell on the floor in front of you with a weight you can lift 10 times.
  • Grasp the bar with a shoulder-width, double-overhand grip, with the bar hanging at the mid-thigh position and your back straight and inclined slightly forward.
  • Start by explosively extending your hips, knees and ankles, driving the weight up while shrugging your shoulders toward your ears.
  • At full extension, transition into the final pull by shrugging and flexing your arms with your elbows up and out.
  • At peak extension, explosively pull yourself down and rotate your elbows under the bar as you do so.
  • Catch the bar in a front squat position racked on your shoulders.
  • Immediately recover by driving through your heels, keeping your torso upright and your elbows up. That's one rep.
  • Perform 3x10

Medicine Ball Slams

Medicine Ball Slams build explosive pulling strength in both the legs and arms. They also engage the core, essential for performing all athletic movements. Sports whose athletes benefit most from this exercise include basketball, volleyball, tennis and soccer (for throw-ins). See the video playlist above to learn Todd Durkin's medicine ball routine, including Med Ball Slams.

How to Perform:

  • Get into a partial Squat, holding a moderate-to-heavy medicine ball in front of you.
  • Using your whole body, raise the ball overhead, then explosively slam it into the floor.
  • Grab the ball as it comes up and transition right into your next repetition.
  • Perform 3x12


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: FOOTBALL | BASKETBALL TRAINING | EXPLOSIVE TRAINING | LOWER BODY | WORKOUTS | POWER