Here’s a quick sample work out for developing power and explosiveness. The work out is suited for athletes, so those participating in a sport. This particular work out would be better suited for someone who partakes in a combat sport ie Boxing, Muay Thai or MMA but for those of you who play sports such as Rugby, you could also give it a try. It is a two day per week routine, so if you find you don’t have much time to work out, this is potentially a good fit as it will work out the whole body in only two work outs.
Day One – Chest, back and biceps
Bench Press – take about 3 sets to warm up and progressively get to your target weight then the working sets follow which will be 5 sets of 5 reps. Use between 60-80% of your one rep max.
Plyo push ups – you can either superset these with your bench press sets, so a set of bench press followed by a set of plyo push ups, or you can do this separately after. 5×5 again, slow on the way down, explode up.
Dips – finish off the chest on 3 sets of dips.
Deadlifts – again use around 3 sets to warm up. You can use either 3×3 or 5×5 for your working sets.
Wide Grip Pull ups – 3×5 or 5×5, back of the hand facing you on the bar, we’re not using chins up/palms facing you.
If you are struggling with the pull ups, you can replace these with kettlebell swings. If you do not have any kettlebells, try using a weighted medicine/slam ball(3-5kg) and perform either overhead slams or throw downs(simply throwing the ball to the ground).
BICEPS – finish off the work out with a bicep movement or you can just skip biceps, I am not going to recommend a particular movement here since it does little to aid the primary purpose of the work out. Its just about strengthening links in the body. Alternate curls, barbell curl, seated incline curls are all fine, reps between 8-12 per set, 3-5 sets should be plenty.
Day two – Shoulders, Legs, Triceps
Standing Overhead Press – 3-4 warm up sets, I find shoulders can feel a lot tighter than most other muscles so may require more warm up work. Once you are warmed up perform 5×5. Try not to bend your knees, popping your head through the window at the top of the movement.
Squat – move on to the squat next. Again after the warm up sets the working sets will be 5×5
Overhead Squat – warm up with 3-5 light sets on the overhead squat. We are primarily using this to prepare for the next movement so no need to go heavy on this. 5 reps on each set.
Snatch Balance – Dip and drive quickly, jumping out in to the overhead squat position. An example of how to perform this movement can be found here – how to punch harder part III. This is a superb exercise for explosiveness, 5 sets of 5 or 5 sets of 3. To get the most benefit from this exercise, you must be capable of performing a full overhead squat position, so getting down low enough. if you cannot, then unfortunately you should skip this movement and work on your squat until you can eg hip mobility by working the hip flexors.
TRICEPS – as with biceps, finish off the work out with a tricep movement or skip it if you aren’t too concerned about working the arms in isolation. Skull crushers, behind the neck extensions with a dumbbell(using two hands) are good and 8-12 reps per set. As with biceps, 3-5 sets should be fine.
Remember, this is not a bodybuilding workout so reps should generally be kept to 5 and below. We are not looking for hypertrophy here since if you are are someone who trains in a combat sport, you want to stay in your weight class. If the weight/sets begin to feel too easy, then gradually increase the weight in 1.25kg or 2.5kg increments – progressive overload.
Boxing Coach Strength and Conditioning Coach Boxing Writer for the Ringside Report Boxing Author of: (Available for download on Amazon) The Boxing Cheat Sheet - Your Ultimate Guide to Ring Survival Strength and Conditioning for Boxing - Work out Hits to get you Fighting Fit! Forgotten Legends of the Ring - Ten Past Masters of the Squared Circle