I remember reading a funny article years ago.
It was about how a lot of people believe they are much faster than they actually are.
They typically brag about running a 4.4 40-yard dash back in high school or college.
They pull a full-blown “Uncle Rico”.
The article explained that if you are able to run a 4.4 40-yard dash…
You should EASILY be able to dunk a basketball.
A 4.4 40-yard dash is elite level.
It’s extremely rare.
If someone runs that in high school or college they should probably be able to dunk a basketball well into their 30s.
Next time you hear someone brag about being this fast?
See if they are able to dunk a basketball.
Most of us don’t have good electronic timers to measure a 40-yard dash.
But we do have access to a basketball hoop.
How to get more more explosive
Focus on exercises that target fast-twitch fibers.
Spend more time on single-leg exercises.
Bulgarian Split Squats are KILLER for developing sprinting speed.
This is also a good exercise for improving vertical leap.
It isolates one leg at a time, plus the trailing leg gets a stretch and it opens up your hips a bit… this helps the hips drop back into the right position when you jump.
Olympic lifts are great for increasing explosive power.
The problem is that they are technical and can cause injury if not performed properly
True Olympic lifts start from the floor.
Injuries typically happen at the start of a lift when the lower back is in a vulnerable position.
The good news is that if you are training to jump high, you don’t need to lift from the floor.
When you jump you don’t bend your legs to this extreme, anyway.
The Hang Power Clean takes care of these issues.
- Much lower risk of injury
- It fires the muscles in a way that closely mimics a vertical leap
Here is the starting point of a Hang Power Clean.
You begin with a small hip hinge.
Your legs will also bend a little as the bar drops down several inches, almost to knee level.
At this point, you will gain a bit of elastic energy from the slightly stretched muscles… and this is when you will want to explode the bar upwards.
You basically catch the bar on your shoulders.
The bar travels from just above your knees up to slightly above shoulder height.
This is a pretty large range of motion.
The ironic thing is that you are only actively pulling for less than half of this range of motion.
You’re only actively pulling for the first 12-18 inches.
You have a short window of time and range of motion to propel that bar upward.
You aren’t lifting the bar from hip-level to shoulder-level, you are really just along for the ride at this point.
If you generate insufficient power in the very beginning?
You will fail.
This lift teaches you to fire your muscles quickly.
Which is EXACTLY what is required for a high vertical leap.
The leg bend and a hip hinge in a Hang Power Clean are almost identical to a vertical leap.
Instead of leaping into the air…
You are directing that explosive energy into propelling the bar into the air.
Your hands always maintain a grip on the bar.
But besides that, the bar is floating upward from the momentum generated at the beginning of the lift.
Hang power cleans are just part of the equation.
A solid vertical leap requires proper quad strength, hip mobility, core strength, etc. Which is exactly what we focus on with our Strength Sessions at Sweat 60. I still plan on improving athletically, and I’d love to do this along with you. Do you live/work on the westside of Los Angeles or Santa Monica?
Do you need help with getting strong? Do you need more accountability with nutrition? Do you miss the sense of community? If any of this resonates please shoot us an email at [email protected] or send a text at 424-401-0210 to set up a complimentary session with one of our trainers.