How to Get Fit, Strong, and Resilient
Get strong and bulletproof your body against injuries with these five neglected exercises. Check 'em out and add a few to your training plan.
Whether you’re an athlete or just an athletic lifter, you need to build explosive power. The ability to generate power starts to diminish after age 40, and those who can hang on to the skill tend to live longer.
There are several ways to work on power, but one piece of training equipment stands out: the jammer press. Along with power, it builds upper-body strength and trains triple extension and hip drive in a safe manner. The jammer press also targets the pecs, deltoids, triceps, lats, and core.
The jammer press has a fairly short learning curve, can be loaded safely compared to some other power exercises, and trains you to be explosive from multiple angles. Feeling like a powerhouse has never been easier.
Here are five variations worth adding to your program. Note: If your gym doesn’t have a jammer press, several rack attachments are available, like this one. If that’s not an option, check out these machine-free variations.
1. Step and Press
Training a powerful, explosive first step is fundamental in most fast-twitch-driven sports. By adding the step with the press, you teach your body coordination and how to move with power, efficiency, and fluidity from an initial static position. First-step firing rate is often the difference between making a play in sport or not.
This variation is all about rate of force development – using your first step as a spring for forceful power and motion through the upper body. Keep stable as you press. Coordination is key to performing this exercise properly.
2. Hinge to Press
“Triple extension” refers to a simultaneous extension of the hips, knees, and ankles, all demonstrated in this exercise. Athletes work on triple extension to improve their jumping, sprinting, and speed capabilities while training their bodies to move dynamically within their sport. Triple extension provides you with a greater ability to produce force and become more efficient with ballistic movement. Drive through the weight with max force coming from the hips.
3. Rotational Press
An athletic training program that lacks rotation training should be tossed in the garbage. Yes, getting strong with the basic lifts is key, but moving in multiple planes of motion is what rounds out a training program if you want to become more athletic.
Rotational power is arguably more important than power in a static position. Most athletes are constantly moving and shifting their bodies in space. They need rotational strength to keep stable, counter positions of imbalance, and produce incredible force as the body rotates in motion.
In MMA, for example, a knockout punch or kick doesn’t come from the strength of the arm or leg but rather the amount of torque and force generated through hip and trunk rotation. This is what shifts regular power into scary power.
4. Alternating Press
Unilateral power and stability get overlooked, even though most athletic pursuits require symmetry and a relatively equal amount of side-to-side power and stability.
This particular variation of the jammer press places direct demand on one pressing arm at a time. This places an anti-rotational demand on the trunk to stabilize the movement and counteract the loaded side.
It’s especially important with unilateral training to lock in form, connection, and technique before picking up the speed. It’s not uncommon to feel weaker or less explosive on one side. Prioritize the weaker side and let it dictate how much weight you use.
5. Kneeling Power Press
When you remove your feet from the equation, you immediately place greater demand on the working muscles, along with hip and trunk stability and mobility. It’s also advantageous to train outside your typical zone of comfort, which a kneeling position certainly does.
It also elicits a much higher posterior chain response, which is often undertrained and underdeveloped compared to its anterior counterpart. A strong, stable, powerful backside is essential for power output, movement velocity, and resiliency to injury.
Remember, the competitor to fear most isn’t the one with the biggest arms or pecs but the one with the biggest and strongest glutes, hamstrings, and trunk.
How to Program It
For power exercises, these set and rep schemes work well:
- Power: 4 x 6 at 65-75% 1RM
- Power: 3 x 8 at 60% 1RM
- Strength-Power: 5 x 2-3 at 80% 1RM
- Power-Endurance: 2-3 x 30 seconds at 30-40% 1RM
Depending on your goals, duration and loading will look different. For the average person trying to become more powerful and build a more athletic-looking body, cycle through the options.
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