5 Ways to Build Explosive Power Without Olympic Lifting and Plyo Boxes

Tanner Martty


Santa Monica, California, United States

Strength and Conditioning


4. The Kettlebell Quick Step

The kettlebell quick step is a great for developing an explosive first step or for fighters trying to improve punching or kicking power. Go into your normal back swing, but instead of doing a stationary two-hand swing, you will drive forward off of one leg as the kettlebell ascends with the other leg taking a big step forward. At the moment the kettlebell is weightless at chest level, you will step forward with the drive leg to re-establish a normal swing stance for the next rep.


Although alternating legs each rep mimics the way the legs move when sprinting, I like to do some sets of one leg driving because it mimics sports that have stopping and starting in the same direction or a fighter throwing multiple punches or kicks with the same side.




5. The Bulgarian Jump Squat

Bulgarian jump squats are one of the most brutal exercises in my system. Set up as you would with a regular Bulgarian squat, with one leg on the floor and the other leg rested back on a bench. Tap the knee of the back leg to the ground and drive up with enough power to actually leave the ground. To maximize your balance and the carryover to a single-leg jumping, swing your arms like you would sprinting or jumping off of one leg (opposite arm and leg in synchronization).


These five exercises from my minimalist system for building explosive power can be done in any gym. I devote two days a week to explosive training at the beginning of my workout. I either split the days up into a double-leg day/single-leg day or a vertical day/sagittal plane day. I include slams or another upper-body power move on both days.


Typically I do three six-week cycles followed by a two week PAP block. My six-week blocks consist of two weeks of 8 reps/set, two weeks of 5 reps/set at increased intensity, one week of 3-5 reps/set of highest intensity, and a rest week.


explosive training, explosive moments, training explosive power, training powerWeight vests are the best way to add intensity to these exercises while keeping the movements true. Light dumbbells will allow you to have a natural arm swing as well. When those two options don’t offer enough intensity I combine them and use kettlebells or dumbbells held in one of four positions (goblet, suitcase, front rack, or behind my head on my shoulders). What it takes away in arm swing it makes up for in the way it challenges your core, shoulders and grip.


Jump to these for more on plyometrics:

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