If you want to build lower-body power, you need to squat. The Squat is one of the most important exercises for developing your lower-body muscles. After all, it is often called the King of All Exercises.
You may be thinking, "Squats for power? I thought it was a strength move." Yes, this is true; Squats are a strength exercise. But you can perform them in a way that develops rapid force production. This is especially valuable if you lack the time to learn Olympic lifts, which are among the most effective power development exercises.
Below is a Squat-based workout that will absolutely blast your lower body. It includes heavy lifts, power development and assistance work to hit other important muscles. Check out the video player above for a demonstration of each exercise.
Box Squat or Back Squat
Sets/Reps: 10x3 @ 75%
Both the Box Squat and Back Squat are the primary moves that build hip and lower-body strength. They are critical for all athletes. Since you're only using 75 percent of your max, focus on moving the bar quickly and under control.
Choose one of the following:
Sets/Reps: 4x2 @ 80-90%
This involves setting the safety pins at about two-thirds of your height. Instead of starting at the top of the Squat, you start with the bar on the pins and drive up. This is designed to develop powerful partial range of motion. Make sure to explode up and "snap your knees" to emphasize a rapid knee extension.
Sets/Reps: 4x4 @ 70%
Adding a Half Squat to a standard rep is extremely challenging, especially with weight. This enhances the stretch-shortening cycle—a critical aspect of power—and torches the glutes. Start with light weight and learn the exercise before loading up, since it's a slightly different movement than you might be used to.
Once your muscles are activated, Depth Jumps are a great option. They also train the stretch-shorterning cycle, creating a more powerful and explosive lower body.
Perform the last four exercises in a circuit. They serve as a finisher to work your entire lower body and improve your metabolic conditioning.
Sets/Reps: 10×2 @ 60-70%
Speed Deadlifts focus on speed. You're not lifting heavy weight, but pulling the bar up as quickly as possible.
DB Rear-Foot-Elevated Split Squats
Sets/Reps: 4x6 each leg
Barbell or Weight Vest Jump Squat
Heavy Kettlebell Swings
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