How to Use a Short Workout the Day Before a Game to Increase Your Explosiveness

A study suggests that performing a low-volume explosive workout a day or two before a game could enhance your explosive muscle performance on the court.

Training to increase explosiveness is no easy task. You can spend months trying to add an inch to your vertical or shave a millisecond off your sprint time. Entire annual plans are made to build muscle, get stronger, and finally transition these traits into minor changes in explosive ability. Small improvements in explosiveness can make the difference between winning and losing.

What if, instead of taking months and years to make small changes, you could increase explosiveness in one short workout?

Tsoukous et al. researched this exact topic in their study "Delayed Effects of a Low Volume, Power-Type Resistance Exercise Session on Explosive Performance."

The researchers tested 17 well-trained male athletes. They were on average 22 years old, had resistance trained for 6.4 years, and had been playing their sport for 10 years.

The subjects performed four workout sessions one week apart in a randomized and counterbalanced order. There were four conditions in this study:

  • Explosive assessment, 5 sets of 4 repetitions (5x4) Jump Squats with 3-minute rest (at a 40%1RM load), and explosive assessment 24 hours later
  • Explosive assessment, 5x4 Jump Squats with 3-minute rest (at a 40% 1RM load), and explosive assessment 48 hours later
  • Explosive assessment, rest, and explosive assessment 24 hours later
  • Explosive assessment, rest, and explosive assessment 48 hours later

This meant all athletes came in on Monday to warm up and test their explosive ability as measured in Countermovement Jump (CMJ), Reactive Strength Index (RSI) and Rate of Force Development (RFD).

On that same Monday, the former two groups (1 and 2) performed 5x4 Jump Squat training while the latter two groups (3 and 4) performed no training (rest).

On Tuesday, groups 1 and 3 retested explosive ability (24 hours after Monday).

On Wednesday, groups 2 and 4 retested explosive ability (48 hours after Monday).

Results

Countermovement Jump (CMJ)

  • Groups that rested: No change at 24 and 48 hours
  • Groups that performed 5x4 Jump Squat training: +5.1% and 3% at 24 and 48 hours

Reactive Strength Index (RSI)

  • Groups that rested: No change at 24 and 48 hours
  • Groups that performed 5x4 June Squat training: +10.7% only at 24 hours

Rate of Force Development (RFD)

  • Groups that rested: No change at 24 and 48 hours
  • Groups that performed 5x4 Jump Squat training: +9.7 to 18.3% at all time windows (0-100, 0-200, and 0-300 ms) at 24 hours and +9.8% at 0-100ms 48 hours later

Researchers concluded, "These findings suggest that a low-volume, power-type training session results in delayed enhancement of explosive muscle performance, which is greatest at 24 h after the activity."

Takeaway

Instead of resting the day or two before competition, perform a short, explosive workout.

In the study, the researchers used the Jump Squat loaded to 40% 1RM. Based on research by Swinton et al, the Trap Bar Jump improves performance of the lower-body musculature compared to the Barbell Squat Jump.

Power was also peaked in this research at a 20% 1RM load (of their Squat).

Because of these findings, using a light-loaded trap bar (or holding two dumbbells) for 5x4 with 3 minutes of rest between Jumps could optimize results obtained 24 and 48 hours after the session.

Put in the effort to gain muscle, strength, and explosive power in the offseason. When it comes time for important competitions and events, experiment with low-volume explosive workouts the day or two beforehand. It could be the difference between gaining the extra inch or millisecond you need to be successful.

Photo Credit: g-stockstudio/iStock/Thinkstock

References

Tsoukos, A., Veligekas, P., Brown, L. E., Terzis, G., & Bogdanis, G. C. (2017). "Delayed effects of a low volume, power-type resistance exercise session on explosive performance." Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 24, doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001812. [Epub ahead of print].

Swinton, P. A., Stewart, A. D., Lloyd, R., Agouris, I., & Keogh, J. W. (2012). "Effect of load positioning on the kinematics and kinetics of weighted vertical jumps." Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 26(4), 906-13.

Swinton, P. A., Stewart, A., Agouris, I., Keough, J. W., Lloyd, R. (2011). "A biomechanical analysis of straight and hexagonal barbell deadlifts using submaximal loads." Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 25(7), 2000-9.


Topics: BUILD MUSCLE | EXERCISING | BARBELL | TRAP BAR | GETTING STRONGER