Looking for that extra edge to deliver that knockout blow, that concussion-riddling hit, or a skin-tearing pump? Whether you train for sports, bodybuilding, martial arts, or any other reason for that matter, focusing on your explosiveness will help improve your overall performance exponentially. When you train for explosiveness, you work on your ability to apply your strength for maximum and rapid muscle gains. Lifting weights using maximum velocity burns calories faster and forces the nervous system to use the maximum amounts of muscle fibers. When you add all these factors together it equals a leaner physique. Start training with explosiveness now and you might even just be able to get in that shape you’ve always wanted to be in for beach season. Now, let’s get into some fundamentals in training for explosiveness to get you started today, NOT tomorrow.


Explosiveness comes from the ability to exert strength as rapidly as possible in any given action. This is called the Rate of Force Development (RFD) – the speed at which strength can be produced. So to increase your explosiveness, you need to train in order to maximize your RFD. Some examples of lower body exercises to improve RFD are:

– Box jumps

– Standing long jumps

– Vertical jumps

– Squat jumps

– Kneeling jumps


Note that these exercises can be done with or without weight depending on your level of experience. If you are newer to weightlifting it would be beneficial to still train for strength in order to improve your RFD. However there is a limit on how much strength can help. After a significant gain in strength, the increase of RFD begins to slow and eventually comes to a halt. Some upper body exercises that can lead to RFD improvements include:

– Medicine ball throws for height and/or distance

– Plyometric push-ups (clapping push-ups)

– Sledgehammer hits to a tire

When training to improve overall RFD it is important that for each set as well as rep you are in a non-fatigued state. Ensuring that you are not fatigued allows you to perform each exercise to the best of your ability and achieve the best results from your workout. Once you become fatigued it can be easy for form and technique to start slipping to compensate. When bad form and fatigue come into play it also leads to a higher chance of injury.

Remember that it is important to warm up when working up towards a certain repetition maximum and not just jump right into the heaviest weight you plan on doing for the amount of reps for the exercise. If you plan on doing a 3RM of squat jumps with 225 lbs., an ideal warm up could be 10 reps of just the bar, 5 reps with 25 lbs. each side, then 5 with 45 lbs., 3 with a plate and a 25, then attempt the 225 for 3 reps, then repeat for however many sets you need.

Matt Ferro