Training To Get Fast And Explosive On The Field

With the rise in popularity of strength and conditioning there are a lot of new coaches and facilities teaching young athletes how to get fast and explosive. There are a lot of ideas out on how to accomplish this. You will see things like:

• Lunges onto a bosu ball
• Sprints with parachutes
• Speed ladders are my personal favorite (I am being sarcastic)

All of this looks pretty cool, but does any of if transfer to the field. I have yet to see a study showing the speed ladder improving the forty-yard dash. I always hear coaches talking about foot speed in reference to the speed ladder. If you watch someone sprint, it’s not about how fast someone can move his or her legs and feet through a short range of motion. It’s about how fast an athlete can move their legs and feet through a full range of motion in reference to a sprint cycle.


Specificity is key when considering training modalities. Since the body adapts specifically to the implied demands, you need to be careful picking the way you train. There are three ways that I have found crucial for improving on the field of play. Here they are:

1. Squat
2. Power Production relative to body weight
3. Practice the necessary athletic movements

Now let’s look at all three a little closer.

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No movement on earth has been shown to apply more to the 40-yeard dash and vertical leap than the back squat. I love the snatch and clean & jerk more than anyone else that I know, but the squat is king at getting people faster and explosive. Really, they go hand in hand. Have you ever seen anyone clean 400 pounds that couldn’t front squat 400 pounds?

During the first two years of an athlete’s training, a focus on absolute strength is all that is necessary to improve all of the qualities of strength (absolute, accelerative, strength speed, speed strength, and starting strength). Are there diminishing returns? Most studies would say yes. I suggest shooting for somewhere between 2-2.5 times bodyweight. Once you reach these numbers, you can get more specific with the different elements of strength in the squat.

At this point velocity based training is a good choice for training. Instead of focusing on moving more and more weight, you can focus on moving 60% of your maximum as fast as possible. You can even throw in some partial squats, since they are more specific to running and jumping in reference to joint angles.

We are releasing our latest book next week that’s all about the squat. You might want to pick it up as it gets much deeper into squatting, and it has several full-length squat programs. It will definitely teach you how to improve at this movement.

Power Production Relative to Body Weight

Now that we’ve talked about getting stronger, let’s talking about getting powerful. It’s awesome being able to pick up four hundred pounds. However, picking up four hundred pounds and accelerating the weight through space more quickly is the knock out punch that we are all looking for. Most Olympic weightlifters demonstrate power more than any other athlete on earth. They can propel massive weights through space at a rate that is mind-blowing to most of us.

However, it’s not enough to just propel heavy weights at a fast rate. If you weigh 400 pounds, it’s not that cool to clean 400 pounds. If you weigh 205 pounds, cleaning 400 pounds is awesome. Not to mention, if you weight 205 pounds and clean 400 pounds, you can produce massive amounts of power on the field.

@tommybo40 puts in work every year. That’s why he dominates his opponents in the NFL. Here he is putting in 400lb reps on the Clean. I love what he’s doing with the @westsidebarbellofficial Belt Squat Machine. Explosive hips are the name of the game folks. Stay tuned for an article I’m writing. @jaguars ====================== Powerlifting or Weightlifting? Why choose? “Our latest EBook “Do What You Want” has Dropped! Check it out at: <link in Bio> . Is it possible to combine disciplines? Weightlifting, Powerlifting, Strongman, Crossfit, Bodybuilding, and Endurance Training must be kept separate? Or can you combine two or more or all of these? This is the question that I tackled in my latest book “Do What You Want”. . This topic has intrigued me my entire strength training career, and now I answer the question. The book comes complete with NINE 12-Week Workouts including the very one that I’m using right now. ====================== Check out “Do What You Want” at <link in Bio> @intekstrength #intekstrength @biprousa #biprousa @athleteps @harbingerfitness #harbingerfitness @thedanicain1 @tfox66 #nikeweightlifting #athleteps @mg12power #mg12thepowerofmagnesium @haknutrition #haknutrition #wodfitters @wodfitters

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I want to give you a few words of caution on this point. Sometimes people can get really good at Olympic weightlifting, and then their maximums can be performed with less power than others. I have watched people pull during a clean, and it looked like a deadlift. Yet, they were still able to pull themselves under the weight. A person like that can still clean 400-pounds without demonstrating massive amounts of power. A simple power clean is a better test across the board when it comes to power production.

This is not to say that the full range of motion clean isn’t a good lift for strength and conditioning. It’s great for a lot of different elements like:

• Kinesthetic awareness
• Mobility
• Force absorption
• Speed development
• Power to a lesser degree than the power clean

With all of this being said, I recommend getting as strong and fast as possible, while maintaining healthy amounts of body fat composition. When someone asks me how to get faster and they are already fast, strong, and mobile, I tell them to lose body fat. There is a reason that the fastest guys on most teams are often the most ripped guys on the team. They have no wasted weight on their bodies.

Practice the Important Athletic Movements

It seems simple, but a lot of us lose sight of the obvious. We get caught up in fancy things like speed ladders and bosu balls, and we forget to practice the athletic movements that we are trying to improve. If you want to jump higher, then practice jumping. If you want to improve the 40-yard dash, you need to practice the 40-yard dash.

Most of you would be surprised to know that a lot of great athletes have no idea how to jump. They simply don’t understand the mechanics of jumping. I have to assume that it’s because this generation doesn’t get out and play as much as they used to. Whatever the reason, you need to teach your athletes proper jumping mechanics.

The same goes for the 40-yard dash. This one athletic test can mean the difference in sitting at home on Saturday or getting a college scholarship. I am talking about .1 second can be the difference. I don’t agree with this part of recruiting, but it doesn’t matter what my opinion is. We spend a great deal of time at Mash Athletic Performance teaching the mechanics of sprinting especially in reference to the 40-yard dash. You should too.

Mash Athletic Performance started day 1 Block of preseason training. @tatercarney and Cammo killed the speed work, and then @tatercarney crushed 116kg/255lb in the Clean. We followed that up with squats and box jumps to depth jumps. Most of our training is focused on rate of force development and power production. It’s the best way to get the most bang for your buck. Did I mention that these boys are all 14-year-olds? Check out @mad_lifts_15 getting in on some plyo training at the end. LEAN . . Check out our new Website at ==> <link in Bio> for the FREE Seminar Schedule and Free Articles, or Check us out for a FREE Week by emailing us at or DM us on here. . . We appreciate you guys liking these videos, so feel free to ask questions and comment. #tfwwinstonsalem #coreworkout #fitness #bootcampworkout #leanfitness #mashelite @lewisvilleclemmons @intekstrength #intekstrength @biprousa #biprousa @athleteps @harbingerfitness #harbingerfitness @thedanicain1 @tfox66 #nikeweightlifting #athleteps @mg12power #mg12thepowerofmagnesium @haknutrition #haknutrition #wodfitters @wodfitters

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I hope that this article helps focus you in your approach to coaching athletes. There are a lot of fancy coaching videos on YouTube that can easily distract us from what works. I promise if you stick with these elements of coaching, you will get the most out of your athlete’s genetic potential. If you are an athlete reading this, you should look for these elements in your own training. If your current coach isn’t focusing on this, I suggest at least asking some questions. If you have a coach that doesn’t want to answer questions or that can’t back up their training with research, I recommend looking somewhere else.

If you are in the Lewisville, NC area, come check us out at Mash Athletic Performance. We are inside the LEAN Fitness Systems gym. You can check out the entire gym at If you’re not in the NC area, you can train with me or one of our coaches online!

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