Why Ballistic Training Yields Amazing Results
For those looking to develop power and strength, ballistic training is the next step after heavy resistance training. Lifting in the high-weight, low-rep range is the key to improving strength and size, but eventually the gains in muscle size and strength slow down. Maximizing the effectiveness of your workouts by incorporating ballistic training into your routines will increase your gains drastically.
What is Ballistic Training?
Simply put, ballistic training involves explosive movements that release an external load into the air – all without decelerating your movement. The best example of a ballistic movement is the jump squat:
Step 1: Drop into a squat, with a barbell on your back.
Step 2: Stand up from the squat, and jump into the air when your legs are extended.
Step 3: When you land, drop back down into the squat.
It\’s a simple movement, but the reason that it\’s commonly used over the back squat is because of the explosive movement of jumping off the ground. It requires a lot more effort from the muscles, and thus the muscles have to expend more force and power.
The more force your muscles have to expend, the more muscle fibers are broken down. Your body repairs the muscle fibers, and adapts to the demands placed on them by your body. Ballistic training and explosive movements break down the greatest amount of muscle fibers, so your body increases the fibers in order to meet the demand. This results in greater energy storage – ergo, more strength.
With regular lifting and heavy weight training, much of your energy is expended keeping the movement slow and controlled. With low-load ballistic training, almost no effort is expended on deceleration, and thus the exercise focuses entirely on developing power and strength.
The Best Ballistic Movements
For a solid upper and lower body workout, incorporate the following exercises into your routines:
Bench Medicine Ball Throws
Lie on the bench in the chest press position, with the medicine ball held to your chest. In a sudden, explosive movement, press the ball upwards and throw it into the air. Have a partner stand above you to catch the ball, and have him place it gently into your extended arms. You then bring it back to your chest to begin the exercise again.
Place a very light barbell on your shoulders, and spread your feet to shoulder width. Squat to quarter or full depth, and explosively jump into the air. Land with your legs straight (but not locked) and your back and neck perfectly erect before dipping back down into the squat.
Medicine Ball Chest Pass
Stand straight with your feet spread shoulder width apart. Drop into a squat, and extend your arms to touch the medicine ball to the floor. Explode into a jump, and use your arms to propel the medicine ball out in front of you – passing it to a partner. When you land, your partner will hand the ball back to you to begin again.
Overhead Medicine Ball Throw
Stand with your feet spread shoulder width apart, and with the ball held in both hands. Drop into a squat, and touch the ball to the floor. Explode into a jump, and use your arms to throw the ball as high and as far behind you as you can.
These ballistic exercises will help to increase your muscle power, and you\’ll find that you can get some pretty impressive strength gains by incorporating them into your training routines regularly.