5 Best Explosive Exercises for Athletes

Explosive exercises help you to increase speed and agility. (Image via Unsplash / Luke Witter)
Explosive exercises help you to increase speed and agility. (Image via Unsplash / Luke Witter)

Explosive exercises are as important for athletes as leg day. Whether you're trying to increase speed and agility or just become more capable overall, explosive exercises can be the difference between a good athlete and a great one.

An athlete is expected to be stronger, faster, and better than their competitors to succeed. However, as is the case in any high-level sport, it's not as simple as just showing up and playing.

To win, they need to be physically prepared for the big game – not only by practicing their skills but by working out with explosive movements - and increase their speed and power.

Five Explosive Exercises for Athletes

Here are five best explosive exercises for athletes to push themselves a bit farther than usual:

1) Double Kettlebell Swing

Double kettlebell swings are a unique form of explosive exercise that help you to generate massive amounts of power with your hamstrings, glutes, hips, and lower back.

The goal is to get the kettlebell high up in the air. By focusing on the core, you can perform other athletic activities and lifts with ease. Double kettlebell swing improves grip strength and scapular control as well.


To do a double kettlebell swing

  • Standinb with your legs about hip-width apart, place two kettlebells between your feet, and push back with your butt.
  • Bend your knees to get into the starting position, holding the kettlebells.
  • Swing them between your legs forcefully, reversing the direction quickly, and drive through with your hips to take the kettlebells straight out to chest level.
  • Pull the kettlebell down between your legs.

2) Barbell Power Snatch

Power snatch is an explosive exercise that can help you improve your posterior strength, function, and coordination. However, most importantly, it can help you have a good posture with a straight back, keeping shoulders retracted, and core tight.


To do this move:

  • Begin by assuming a deadlift position; stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and toes pointed slightly outwards.
  • Bend over, and grab the barbell with an overhand grip, with hands about hip-width apart.
  • Lift the bar off the floor by extending your hips and knees, keeping your back flat.
  • Pull the bar up smoothly past your knees till it reaches mid-thigh level.
  • Once you've reached chest height—or as close to it as possible—catch the bar under control before lowering it back down to mid-thigh level.

3) Lateral Sled Drag

This exercise generates less muscular tension to help prevent damage and soreness by the absence of eccentric loading. The lateral sled drag helps work your body in the frontal plane of motion. This movement improves functional strength and conditioning while developing adductors and abductors.


Here's how you do this exercise:

  • To build strength, load a sled with a weight that's suitable for your body.
  • Stand perpendicular to the sled, and face it holding onto the rope attached to the front.
  • Bend your legs slightly, and lean away from the sled slightly while maintaining an upright position.
  • Keeping your legs perpendicular and planted firmly on the ground, push against the sled for 20 seconds.

4) Dumbbell Jump Squat

This explosive exercise helps build explosive strength to build muscle faster and increase your explosive power. It also increases the ability to transfer energy during ballistic movements, like throwing a pitch, jumping higher, or running faster.


To do this exercise:

  • Stand with dumbbells in each hand, and lower into a squat position while keeping your back as straight as possible.
  • Quickly jump up as hard and fast as you can by using the strength in your legs and heels, keeping your arms straight at all times.
  • Land on your feet without bending your legs or torso forward.

5) Explosive Push-up

Explosive push-ups help improve athleticism by building strength, speed, and endurance. It can help strengthen many muscle groups in the upper body, including the muscles in thechest, abs, shoulders, and triceps.


To do a push-up:

  • Assume a position with your feet about shoulder-width apart and hands in a similar position.
  • Your body should form a straight line from your ankles to your shoulders.
  • Bend your elbows till your chest nearly touches the floor. Press yourself up explosively so that your hands leave the floor.


Fortunately, explosive training can be a mainstay in your fitness and athletic programming. By including more games and drills into your regular routine, you can reap the rewards of explosive training without even realizing it.

The aforementioned explosive exercises are only a few among many explosive options you have at your disposal. You may find other movements or exercises that work better for you. The key, though, is to keep it fun and challenging to continually motivate yourself to improve and become more powerful.

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Edited by Bhargav