Following a training plan that aims to make you more powerful has several benefits. For a start, power moves are fun to do – they involve big, quick movements and they’re satisfying because you feel like you’re training in quite a hardcore way.

You may even feel like an elite athlete. And you should, because power moves form a big part of any pro sportsman’s training plan. They use them because they target the fast-twitch muscle fibres, which are responsible for improving speed and generating force. The happy side effect, if you’re not a pro athlete, is that targeting those muscle fibres will also help you to build muscle and burn fat.

How to do it

Follow the sets, reps and rest instructions for each move to get the maximum benefit. Do each workout once a week for four weeks, aiming to increase the amount you lift each week. And make sure you make a note of how much you lift in each session to keep yourself motivated.

Workout 1

1 Two-hand kettlebell swing

Sets 5 Reps 5 Rest 60sec

Why This full-body move engages all the muscles of your posterior chain, and also teaches the explosiveness you need to do everything from throwing a punch to jumping onto a box. Remember, it’s a swing and not a squat: you only need to bend your knees as much as you would before a big jump.

How Swing the kettlebell between your legs with both hands, and then pop your hips forwards to drive it up to head height, keeping your arms relaxed. Let the kettlebell swing back into the next rep without bending your knees much.

2 High pull from floor

Sets 5 Reps 5 Rest 60sec

Why This gives you some of the explosive, triple-extension benefits of weightlifting moves such as the snatch and clean but is a lot easier to execute, because you don’t have to drop under the bar to catch it in a squat or catch it overhead.

How Start in a deadlift position with a double shoulder-width grip. Keep your shoulders over the bar and don’t round your back. Start the pull by straightening your knees without altering the angle of your torso. As the bar passes your knees, straighten up, and use momentum to pull your elbows up and back and raise the bar to chest height.

3 Front squat

Sets 5 Time 5 Rest 90sec

Why Shifting the bar in front of you moves the emphasis to your quads but also makes the move safer – you’ll be less likely to tip forwards and endanger your lower back. If you haven’t got the elbow mobility to do the Olympic lifters’ version (bar on your fingertips), use this variation.

How Take the bar out of the rack with your hands crossed over your chest, supporting it across the front of your shoulders. Lower into a squat, keeping your chest up, then drive through your heels to stand.

4 Tuck jump

Sets 3 Reps 6 Rest 60sec

Why Whether you jump onto a box or bench or just jump off the floor, this move will build explosive power (or, if you do it for reps, cardio endurance). Remember to get your knees as high as possible.

How Bend your knees slightly and then jump as high as possible, bringing your knees up towards your chest at the top of the move. Land as softly as you can.

Workout 2

1 Mountain climber

Sets 3 Reps 6, 8, 10 Rest 60sec

Why This move can be done for speed and fat loss with high reps and short toe-touches on the floor. But bringing your knee up to your chest works your core and lower abs.

How Start in a position similar to a sprinter on the starting blocks. Bring one knee forwards and across your body, then return to the start. Repeat with the other leg, keeping the movement slow and controlled.

2 Dumbbell squat press

Sets 5 Reps 5 Rest 60-90sec

Why This is a seriously demanding move because the range of movement is so considerable. This gives your cardiovascular system a real test and builds explosive strength endurance.

How Stand holding dumbbells at shoulder height. Lower into a squat, keeping your knees in line with your toes and your chest up. Then stand back up powerfully as you simultaneously press the weights overhead.

3 Bent-over row

Sets 5 Reps 5 Rest 60-90sec

Why It’s the best back-builder bar none – plus it’ll balance out your pressing and give you a stable base for pushing-based moves. For a variation as you get more accomplished, try the Pendlay row, where each rep starts on the floor.

How Hold the bar with a shoulder-width grip, bending your knees slightly. Bend at the hips until your torso is at a roughly 45˚ angle to the floor. Pull the bar up to touch your sternum and then lower under control. If you’re moving your upper body to shift the bar, the weight’s too heavy.

4 Jump squat

Sets 5 Reps 5 Rest 60-90sec

Why By focusing on explosiveness you’ll target your body’s fast-twitch fibres, helping you to burn fat (or sink three-pointers). Use these as a safe and effective finisher. You can go all-out without risking injury.

How Follow the same movement as the squat, then explode off the floor from the bottom of the rep. Get as high as you can, and reset between each rep to make sure you’re getting as much airtime as possible.

Workout 3

1 Dumbbell overhead press

Sets 3 Reps 10 each side Rest 60sec

Why This classic shoulder-builder is slightly easier on your rotator cuffs (the small stabilising muscles around the shoulders) when done with dumbbells, because your hands can rotate naturally. The “military” version of this – done with your feet together, as if you were on parade – is slightly tougher on your core.

How With your feet shoulder-width apart, hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height. Keep your chest up and your core muscles braced. Press the weights directly upwards, keeping your core braced, until your arms are extended overhead. Lower under control.

2 Push press

Sets 3 Reps 6-8 Rest 60-90sec

Why Adding explosive drive to the overhead press mimics real-life movement – imagine putting a heavy bag into an overhead locker – and allows you to shift more weight than a strict press, while still building full-body explosiveness and co-ordination. It also allows you to complete reps when your shoulders are tired because your legs give each rep momentum.

How Set up in the same position as the overhead press, then do a quarter squat and raise the bar overhead as explosively as possible, using the momentum to drive the bar upwards. If you do it properly you shouldn’t be pushing the bar until it’s almost over your head.

3 Kettlebell push press

Sets 3 Reps 6-8 each side Rest 60sec

Why After two pressing moves your shoulders will be quite fatigued so that’s why you’re using a kettlebell. It allows you to press in a path that will be kind to your joint.

How Hold the kettlebell in the rack position (by your shoulder with your elbow tucked in to your chest). Lower into a quarter squat, then straighten up powerfully to press the weight overhead.

4 Burpee

Sets 3 Reps As many as possible in 40sec Rest 60sec

Why This go-anywhere cardio move is the perfect way to build conditioning quickly with minimal technique requirements or risk of injury. And it’s impossible to cheat, or get it wrong. Get on the floor, get up and jump, and make sure you do the clap.

How Drop to the floor, touching your chest to the floor at the bottom of the move. Hop back to your feet, then jump in the air, clapping your hands overhead at the top of the move.


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