Your 4-Step Guide to Building Explosive Power

This four-step program from STACK Expert John Cissik will make you stronger, faster and more explosive.

Developing power is crucial to success as an athlete. With all of the tools and programs available on the internet, it's easy to get confused when putting together an effective strength and conditioning program. This article provides you with a four-step approach that will result in a program that makes you stronger, faster and more explosive. This athletic strength and conditioning program has four steps:

  • Get strong
  • Learn to use that strength
  • Plyos, but keep it simple
  • Advanced training

Step One: Get Strong

In this first step in the program, the idea is to build your base in terms of your muscles and joints. It teaches fundamental exercise techniques. It begins to develop both speed and metabolic conditioning. But the primary focus is on maximal strength development. This is a critical attribute for every athlete.

This is a three-day-a-week program. Two days focus on maximal strength and speed training; the final day focuses on metabolic conditioning. This program should be done faithfully for a minimum of four weeks before moving on to Step Two.

RELATED: Build Explosive Power with Box Squats

Day One

  • Back Squats: 3x4-8@80-90%
  • Romanian Deadlifts: 3x4-8
  • Bench Press: 3x4-8@80-90%
  • Bent-Over Rows: 3x4-8
  • Standing Military Press: 3x4-8
  • Speed: Warm-up drills/mobility exercises, 10-15 minutes
  • Stride length drills: 3x5 yards
  • Standing Starts: 3-5x10 yards

Day Two

Off

Day Three

  • Front Squats: 3x4-8@70-80%
  • Deadlifts: 3x4-8@70-80%
  • Dumbbell Bench Press: 3x6-10
  • Dumbbell Rows: 3x6-10 each arm
  • Seated Dumbbell Press: 3x6-10
  • Speed: Warm-up drills/mobility exercises, 10-15 minutes
  • Stride frequency drills: 3x10 yards
  • Standing Starts: 3-5x40 yards

Day Four

Off

Day Five

Conditioning Circuit 1 (perform each exercise for 30 seconds; go through three times):

  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Heavy Rope Slams
  • Jump Rope

Conditioning Circuit 2 (perform each exercise for 30 seconds; go through three times):

  • One-Arm Kettlebell Swings
  • Bear Crawls
  • Jump Rope

Conditioning Circuit 3 (perform each exercise for 30 seconds; go through three times):

  • One-Arm Kettlebell Snatches
  • Crab Walks
  • Jump Rope

Speed:

  • Warm-up/mobility exercises: 10-15 minutes
  • Standing Start: 3-5x150 yards

Step Two: Learn To Use That Strength

Once your strength base has been developed, it's time to start learning how to use it. After all, it doesn't matter how strong you are if you cannot use it for your sport. This is a four-day-a-week program. You'll continue to increase your strength, but you'll begin to add Olympic lifts and their variations to the program. This program should be done for a minimum of four weeks before moving to Step Three.

Day One

  • Split Squats: 3x4-8@40-50% of Back Squat, each leg
  • Good Mornings: 3x6-10
  • Incline Press: 3x6-10@75-85%
  • Kettlebell Rows: 3x6-10 each arm
  • Kettlebell Press: 3x6-10 each arm

Speed:

  • Warm-up/mobility exercises: 10-15 minutes
  • Stride length drills: 3x10 yards
  • Resisted Sprints: 3x10 yards
  • Standing Starts: 3x20 yards

Day Two

  • Power Snatch, Hang, Bar above the knee: 3x4-6@60-70%
  • Snatch Pulls, Hang, bar above the knee: 3x3-6@70-80%
  • Push Press: 3x4-6@60-70%

Day Three

Off

Day Four

  • Pause Squats: 3x3-6@70-80% of Back Squat
  • Deadlifts: 3x3-6@80-90%
  • Dumbbell Bench Press: 3x3-6
  • Dumbbell Rows: 3x3-6, each arm
  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 3x3-6

Speed:

  • Warm-up drills/mobility exercises: 10-15 minutes
  • Stride frequency drills: 3x10 yards
  • Stride length drills: 3x40 yards
  • Standing Starts: 3x60 yards

Day Five

  • Power Cleans, Hang, bar above the knee: 3x4-6@60-70%
  • Clean Pulls, Hang, bar above the knee: 3x3-6@70-80%
  • Push Jerk: 3x4-6@60-70%

Step Three: Plyos, But Keep It Simple

In this step, plyometrics are introduced. They were not introduced earlier, because they would not be terribly effective too early in your training. The fact is that they are much more effective for stronger athletes. People go overboard with plyometrics. Like everything else, you need to build your base before moving on. This is another four-day-a-week program that will continue to develop your strength, power and speed. It should be followed for eight weeks before moving to Step Four.

Day One

  • Back Squats: 3x2-6@85-95%
  • Romanian Deadlifts: 3x4-8
  • Bench Press: 3x2-6@85-95%
  • Bent-Over Rows: 3x4-8
  • Standing Military Press: 3x4-8

Speed:

  • Warm-up/mobility exercises: 10-15 minutes
  • Stride length drills: 3x10 yards
  • Resisted Sprints: 3x10 yards
  • Standing Starts: 3x20 yards

Day Two

  • Power Snatch, Hang, bar above the knee: 3x3-6@60-70%
  • Snatch Pulls, Hang, bar above the knee: 3x3-6@70-80%
  • Push Press: 3x3-6@60-70%

Plyometrics:

  • Squat Jump: 10x (stick the landings)
  • Counter-Movement Jump: 10x
  • Behind-the-back Medicine Ball Toss: 10x

Day Three

Off

Day Four

  • Front Squats: 3x3-6@80-90%
  • Good Mornings: 3x4-8
  • Incline Press: 3x3-6@80-90%
  • One-Arm Dumbbell Rows: 3x4-8 each arm
  • Seated Shoulder Press: 3x4-8
  • Warm-up drills/mobility exercises: 10-15 minutes
  • Stride frequency drills: 3x10 yards
  • Stride length drills: 3x40 yards
  • Standing Starts: 3x60 yards

Day Five

  • Power Clean, Hang, bar above the knee: 3x3-6@60-70%
  • Clean pulls, Hang, bar above the knee: 3x3-6@70-80%
  • Push Jerk: 3x3-6@60-70%

Plyometrics:

  • Standing Long Jump: 10x
  • Hurdle Hops: 3x10 meters
  • Front Medicine Ball Toss: 10x

Step Four: Advanced Training

In this final step, several new exercises are integrated. You should continue to work on developing your strength and speed; but the plyometric exercises will increase some. Having said that, it needs to be kept in perspective. Too much is just as bad as not enough. With that in mind, this program focuses on exercises that give you the most bang for your buck. This is a four-day-a-week program.

Day One

  • Eccentric Squats: 3x3-6@70-80% of Back Squat
  • Deadlifts: 3x3-6@80-90%
  • Eccentric Bench Press: 3x3-6@70-80% of Bench Press
  • Dumbbell Rows: 3x4-8
  • Seated Military Press: 3x4-8

Speed:

  • Warm-up/mobility exercises: 10-15 minutes
  • Stride length drills: 3x10 yards
  • Resisted Sprints: 3x10 yards
  • Standing Starts: 3x20 yards

Day Two:

  • Power Snatch, Hang, bar above the knee: 3x3-6@60-70%
  • Snatch Pulls, Hang, bar above the knee: 3x3-6@70-80%
  • Push Press: 3x3-6@60-70%

Plyometrics:

  • Box Jumps (jump onto box): 10x
  • Counter-Movement Jump: 10x
  • Scissor Jumps: 10x each leg
  • Behind-the-back Medicine Ball Toss: 10x

Day Three

Off

Day Four:

  • Split Squats: 3x4-8@60-70%
  • Romanian Deadlifts: 3x4-8
  • Incline Press: 3x4-8@75-85%
  • Kettlebell Rows: 3x4-8 each arm
  • Kettlebell Press: 3x4-8 each arm
  • Warm-up drills/mobility exercises: 10-15 minutes
  • Bounds: 3x40 yards
  • Stride length drills: 3x40 yards
  • Standing Starts: 3x60 yards

Day Five

  • Power Clean, Hang, bar above the knee: 3x3-6@60-70%
  • Clean Pulls, Hang, bar above the knee: 3x3-6@70-80%
  • Push Jerk: 3x3-6@60-70%

Plyometrics:

  • Standing Long Jumps: 10x
  • Box Jumps (jump over boxes): 3x10 yards
  • Front Medicine Ball Toss: 10x

After four to eight weeks on this program, start over with Step One and progress back through the entire program.

READ MORE:


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: SQUAT | BENCH PRESS | PLYOMETRICS | JUMP ROPE | DEADLIFT | KETTLEBELL EXERCISES | POWER TRAINING | RDL | ROW | PLYOS