T Nation

Get Low End Explosive Torque


The cut and dry down low. 14 year old Baseball player with decent top speed but the low end gear is stuck in 4th. I other words a crawling baby can bet me in a 10 yrd race. My legs are for sure my weak link and I am working on building their power. Deep squats, Box squats, lunges, with ballistics worked before heavy lifts.

Work Ballistic 6x5, 3 sets single leg box step ups with force leap at top 5 reps. 3 sets stationary up and out leaps 5 reps. Heavy lifts run 3 sets deep squat starting at 60% 1RM 10 reps ramping to 75% 1RM 6 rep. Box Squat same rep count for sets (1x10,1x8,1x6)but starting at 70% and ramping to 85% or 90% 1RM (depends on how the muscle are responding that day)

This is once a week with 2 days of sprinting drills and sled pulling. I don't feel like I am making gains in my explosiveness off the line. I know I am not, clock says so. I know I am making lifting gains. So if there are any other type trainings I can do I am all opened desperate ears. Also could I be getting some muscle breakdown or fatigue and need to take a break or switch up training?


I know it's important to train quads, but I made the most gains in my explosive speed from heavy kettlebell swings. My glutes and hamstrings grew like crazy and I can run faster now at 40 then I ever could in my 20's.


I highly recommend checking Joe DeFranco if you haven't heard of him yet,

Here's couple of links about acceleration and speed;


Personally made great gains by following this guy, his job is pretty much only to work with athletes so you might want to check his other stuff in general as well



or layer system -high pulls and dead squat launch great for posterior chain development and general lower body explosiveness


With very few exceptions, of all the athkete's that I've trained, those who had the fastest starts (either running or sprinting) were those with the best vertical jump.

I say "best" because to me that is a combination of jumping height and dip depth... the fastest players were those with the highest jump but also who naturally had a shallow and super quick dip down to jump.

Now, one would think that the key would then be to do tons of jumps. And to an extent that is true. But I look at it more like: "which exercises will make you jump higher". The most important thing is lower body strength. If your legs are not strong you start with a HUGE disadvantage. Without the leg strength base, you will be very limited with the amount of power you will be able to build.

I personally found a very strong correlation with vertical jumps and performance in the power clean and power snatch. I say personally because a lot of coaches do not see that correlation, mostly because their athletes are not using good technique and are basically muscling up the weight.

Loaded jumps (barbell jump squats with 20% of bodyweight, jumps with a weight vest or a kettlebell) will also help.

First you need the leg strength, then you need to build power (olympic lifts or loaded jumps) then develop the capacity to transsfer that to sprints (jumps and take-offs).


I coach a 14 year old baseball team and wish they were doing half of what you are. Great work keep it up. How long have you been training like this? What's your time in the 40. Athletes make a lot of progress from 8th to 10 grade in 40 times.
I have been reading the vertical jump bible,its a pdf available online, and it emphasized sprinters are not necessarily moving legs faster but push off the ground with more force(stronger) resulting in a longer stride.


Another thing of note is that the start is al about being explosive, not about being fast.
Being explosive is being able to go from no movement to a very high speed in a fraction of a second.... how much force and speed can you create in the first 2'' of a movement...

That is mostly about CNS efficiency/wiring. A lot of it is actually genetic. It can be trained through exercises like depth jumps, depth landings and jump squats.

BUT you can just as easily hurt your progress and even regress by doing too much work (even too much explosive work)... being explosive is all about the nervous system, and if you do too much you will always be in a state of neural fatigue, which will kill your explosiveness.

Explosivness is the first thing that goes (along with gripping strength) when the CNS starts to fatigue.

So sometimes by trying to do too much, you will do more harm than good.

To give you an idea... depth jumps, a very powerful way to improve explosiveness. The Russians who invented the method did 3 sets of 10, 2 or 3 times per week, for no more than 3 weeks in a row... yet you have coaches giving workouts that include several hundreds of jumps every week for 10-12 weeks and they wonder why their athletes are not getting faster/more explosive.


@bod78, I have been doing heavy lifting for 6 weeks. Which by my Dad's program is the last week and I will be working on developing Power vs Strength. The sprinting drills with plyometrics mixed in twice a week for about 3 months. My 40 at start of training was a depressing 5.8 and now it is down to 5.4. My dad times me with a 60 yrd sprint.

First time is 10yrds then 40 then 60 all in one sprint. My 60 is 8 flat. And the 10yrd is around 2.6. I am playing 2nd and Backup catcher for JV team and we are playing legion Ball right now. Run for the Champonship. We are 1 seed in our Conference. I love playing Ball but ready to end season so I can really get to off season hard work.

Mr. Thibaudeau,
Thanks for responding. My Dad tried explaining some of that concept to me about the drive and length of stride and the amount of time your feet are on the ground. Reason being my stride at take off is short quick steps but after 10 or 15 yards it gets longer. Dad says it should be about the same from take off to full sprint speed. Something about the muscle is not releasing full energy because I am picking my feet up to soon. Hope that makes some sort of sense to you.

I also do, do deadlifts and cleans. Deadlifts are on my leg days with light quick lifts on sprint drill/plyo days. Cleans are on my Back day once a week. I have no idea what CNS efficiency/wiring is but I will be looking that up next. My vert is around 16" not the greatest but I am also work on that. Loaded jump???? I have never done them with a bar or weight jacket just with bands. But I guess I know what I am throwing into my routine. Just a heads up for me should that be along with heavy lift day once a week or is it more a ballistic move to fire up the glute?


You are entering your freshman year? I coach fb and decent frosh running backs at a large school run 5.2,5.3. To improve your 40 time by .4 is great.
I think 6 weeks is not a long time and if you can do more emphasis on training in the fall you will improve. Do you play fall ball or football?


Yes I have recently discovered Joe DeFranco from past advice here in TNation. Still tearing through his site along with TNation. Thanks for the info though.


Close I am a rising sophmore, We are a 2AA school starting to get recgonized as one of the top Athletic HS in NC. The Baseball program has always been outstanding and with a new coach who started in 2006 we are Overall 143-67, 82-26 in conference, 9-8 in the state playoffs)

Conference Championships: 2009, 2011, 2012 and in 2012 they went 22-5, 14-0 in conference. That is V of course but the development starts with JV. I have played ball since age 4 and none stop spring, summer, fall, USSSA, Nations, and 4 Allstar teams. We almost made it to Cali. One game sort and that is pretty good for 13 boys all form the same town. I know all the boys from rising Freshmen to Juniors and have played some level of ball with most of them. The GOOD stuff is coming.

As far as Football I have never tried it but have plans to try out next summer. I am not a big guy. I am barely busting 5'7" (hoping that will soon change). So I have no idea what to go out for. It sure won't be line, unless I pack on 60lbs and that ain't what I am looking for or at least doing it as fast as possible. I am right at 142lbs. The Football program is great also.

New coaching staff started in 2007 and has made a run for 2 State championships and grabbed 1 Which was last year going 16-0. My 8th grade MS Baseball team went 13-0. So all in all I have to stay on top of my game. The fastest on the Baseball field runs a 4.6/40 and he is the Kicker for the football team. Coach times us from Contact of ball to foot on bag.

Fastest is 4.2, My best is 5.2. The running backs are right around 4.6, We have 2 main Receivers both also on run on track team and bust a 4.4/40. My personal goal by start of Ball season (Feb) is 4.7. Lot of work to do.


Kid, I absolutely friggin love your no-nonsense work attitude. You are going to go far as long as you keep your head down grinding and learning both. You cannot get the best of either one without a lot of the other.

Anything where you are projecting yourself off the ground is ballistic or projecting a weight away from you in the air (like med ball throws or barbell throws) is ballistic.

I would very, VERY much head Coach Thibaudeau's advice on being very sparing with the plyometrics--and loaded jumps fall into that category more or less. Don't keep them in all the time and don't overdo the volume.

People either tend to do the loaded jumps before heavy work, on their speed or dynamic effort day (if they have one), or as a super set with heavy lifts (e.g. set of squats, rest 90 seconds, then 3 loaded jumps, rest 30 seconds, squat again). They typically use loads between 15-30% of their squat most of the time, and heavier is NOT always better in this case. I think it best you should be thoroughly warmed up and blood flowing before doing them and should--for the moment--not do them as a contrast super set. If CT has a differing view obviously cede to his opinion.

Also, you should be very happy with your .4 sec improvement in the 40 yard dash in 6 weeks. That is HUGE. I know you're impatient but slow down for a second and you'll see that's basically 10% faster than you were 6 weeks ago. Give it time, it will come. The first 10 yards is important, but more important is your 40 yard time. 90 feet is 30 yards, not 10. This means as long as your 40 yard time is improving your speed to first is also improving. Obviously don't give up on improving your explosiveness off the start, just keep in mind you are still getting better as is.

My advice is to make sure you get good glute and hamstring work along with your squats but it seems you are doing that already. Just remember "go muscles in the back, show muscles in the front".


The other artice which didnt appear was ''Top 9 Drills To Improve Acceleration Technique'' by Defranco again, Hope that helps.


To:Aragorn,CT and bobd78
OK! I learned my lesson, the hard way and will be heeding CT's advice along with other experts and Dad's advice. I was talking to my Dad about some of the advice you guys have given me. Buy the way he flipped out over the Contrast training concept after reading http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/contrast_training_for_strength_size_and_power

It was a good flip out and is rewriting my power development program. This is where my punishment started. His words "This is excellent, you can get twice the benefit in your program with less work out time giving you more recovery time. This has been half the problem trying to fit building strength in with development of speed and along with Baseball practice and games your recover time window was to tight." My response was "I don't need more time off. I am not progressing fast enough." Then he told me recover is a very large part to development and how he tore his pec muscle and for what reasons. I won't explain it but it was due to over loading and over working.

I still did not get it I guess, some what stubborn and hard headed. So out to the gym we go. He picked forearms, that was it nothing else. After about 45 minutes of forearm work outs I could not even curl a pencil let alone hold my fork at dinner. More was explained afterwards but to much to write and forearms still feel like rubber. Oh and by the way he laughed when he read about the Russian trainer in that article about his concept. He said it is mind over matter basically and that is how he would do his max days. With a blindfold and don't tell him how much he is lifting.

He would just imagine everything was his max and he had to give it full power to lift it. He found he could lift more then he actually thought. So if he was pressing 275lbs unknowingly and his known max was 280lbs. He would get in his mind it was 285 or 290 and It was do or die time. He found he could press the 275 an easy 2 or 3 times vs probable only once and barely twice if he new it was only 5lbs less his known max. He thought it was funny because he thought it was just something he came up with to try and it worked for him.

Anyways new program being drawn up and it looks like Mon, Wed, Fri training with a Saturday sprint/plyo day. Thanks for the advice from you and CT. Dad says Thank you also and loves TNation. He has not said anything to me yet but over heard him talking to somebody from Eric Cressey training center about camps. That would friggen rock!!! Ok forearms are burnt again from typing, lesson learned. "Work smarter not Harder, less is sometimes better!" Dad just ask if I want to go work Forearms..."LOL! Yeah right Dad, maybe in a couple days!"


Well I guess I am getting an unscheduled time off from workouts. I took a hard hit crazy hop at 2nd base in yesterdays game. 3 broken bones in eye socket. Doctor has told me no exercise until I can see a specialist. Something about a break that could pinch the muscle connected to my eye. Surgery or not I have no idea yet won't know until Monday.
So here is a good question. They say I could be down for up to 2-3 weeks, but it will be up to specialist. That pisses me off more then getting hit in the eye. What could I possible do to not loss any ground I have gained in my speed and strength conditioning?


Work hard on research for strength and conditioning. Study youtube and internet for information on hitting. Do you practice rotational hitting?
You have a lot of time ahead don't take any chances that might further your injury.



to be honest mate, i wouldn't even THINK about your workouts just yet. there is not point until the specialist has checked you over..

worse case scenario- you can't lift a thing for 2-3 weeks. that is such a small space of time when the integrity of your eye socket (and potentially vision!) is considered!

take the time to analyse your progress to date, highlight weak areas, do some research and reading, plan your diet etc.


Yes I do. I do what I call 210s but it is not degrees. That is 210 balls hit 2x week.

Tee work
Front hand work
15 left hand
15 right hand
Hip rotation hits: Bat behind back at lower hip area, rotate hips to swing bat until contact.
Right side
Left side
Right side
15 center
15 inside
15 outside
left side
15 center
15 inside
15 outside
No Tee
Right side
15 soft toss
Left side
15 soft toss
Right side
15 live pitch
Left side
15 live pitch


Tough deal mate, sorry for ya! You'll get better though. Just keep a long view of things here. I second everybody telling you not to lift until the specialist clears you--keen sight is kinda important for baseball! And life.

2-3 weeks is nothing in the long haul. Worst case scenario it takes you 2 weeks to hit your stride. More likely it will take a week and the second week you are back you'll be full steam. General rule of thumb is it usually takes about half the time you've been off training to get back into your groove and approximate strength. So at most it's 2 weeks, that's a piece of cake!