Hevy Coach

Log In

Explosive Strength: Definition and How to Coach Athletes For It

What is Explosive Strength?

Explosive strength is the maximum amount of force you can produce in as little time as possible. It’s crucial for sports involving rapid bursts of activity (e.g., jumping, sprinting, decelerating, and changing direction) and in training disciplines that rely on power for optimal performance—–for example, Olympic weightlifting.  

Explosive Strength vs. Power

Though sometimes used interchangeably, the two terms refer to different things. 

As mentioned, explosive strength is the ability to produce maximal force in as little time as possible. An example would be the initial push off the blocks to start spriting or the sudden dip and push off the ground before a jump.

On the other hand, power is the amount of work done per unit of time. Let’s break it down a bit. 

If you take a 20-kilogram dumbbell and move it one meter, that’s work. To get power, you need to measure the speed with which you can move the weight through a given distance. 

In essence, power is a tool for measuring force production and speed together, whereas explosive strength focuses more narrowly on rapid force production.

How to Coach Athletes For Explosive Strength

1. Do Strength Training

Traditional strength training is an effective way to build a foundation of strength, which means improving muscles’ maximal force output. Athletes can then train themselves to produce more force in as little time as possible.

Hevy Coach allows you to work with numerous athletes, monitor their performance, progress, and adherence, gain in-depth insight into each movement you assign, and keep them accountable through the built-in chat.

Additionally, some research suggests that previous muscle contractions can temporarily improve power output. This is known as post-activation potentiation (PAP).

2. Include Plyometrics

Plyometrics involve short bursts of intense activities that train the nervous system to recruit more motor units and get them to produce as much force as possible quickly.

Common activities include jumps and hops that require the muscles to stretch and shorten more quickly, often allowing athletes to take advantage of the stretch reflex.

3. Perform Sport-Specific Speed Drills

While strength training improves force output and plyometrics teach athletes to produce force more quickly, sport-specific speed drills are the icing on the cake. 

Drills involving activities from the athlete’s sport further improve explosiveness while developing neuromuscular coordination, balance, and skills that carry over.


1. What sports benefit from explosive strength?

Explosiveness benefits sports where athletes must produce quick and powerful movements (e.g., jumping, sprinting, or changing direction). Examples include volleyball, basketball, football, and ice hockey.

2. What equipment is useful for explosive strength training?

Free weights (e.g., barbells and dumbbells), resistance bands, and plyometric boxes are some useful tools for explosiveness training.

Related Terms in Training Concepts Category