Skip the Barbell: 9 Power Exercises Anyone Can Do

Power is often developed through Olympic lifts, but not everyone will meet the necessary mobility and strength requisites to regularly perform such exercises.

Expressing power is all about one's ability to generate force quickly.

It's a vital quality to have in any sport, whether you're looking to get off the line quickly in a sprint or knock back a lineman in football. It's also a vital quality to have as a human being, as power is key to functional fitness.

Power is often developed through Olympic lifts like the Snatch or Clean. However, not everyone will meet the necessary mobility and strength requisites to regularly perform such exercises.

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Expressing power is all about one's ability to generate force quickly.

It's a vital quality to have in any sport, whether you're looking to get off the line quickly in a sprint or knock back a lineman in football. It's also a vital quality to have as a human being, as power is key to functional fitness.

Power is often developed through Olympic lifts like the Snatch or Clean. However, not everyone will meet the necessary mobility and strength requisites to regularly perform such exercises.

So the question is, how can we develop power using more accessible exercises?

Everyone can express power; it just needs to happen in a way that meets their level. Think moving as fast as possible, but still maintaining control. With that in mind, here are nine exercises almost anyone can utilize to develop power.

Med Ball Slams

Medicine balls are a great tool for developing power and can be applied to any athlete regardless of skill level, mobility or strength level. Throwing a med ball is a great way to transfer force from the ground, through the legs and into the ball. With the variety of med ball power exercises, the intent should be to throw the ball as fast and as hard as we can.

One word of caution: make sure you are using med balls that are soft and don't bounce too much (Dynamax balls), or slam balls designed for a minimal bounce. Generally speaking, a med ball weight of 4-14 pounds works best for these movements.

With Med Ball Slams, we can incorporate triple extension, something you see when performing any sort of jumping drill or in sports that require jumping in some way. This med ball slam variation also mimics what you would see in a barbell snatch. Of course, the weight wouldn't be the same, but we're not chasing pounds lifted. We're after intent and speed of the movement.

Med Ball Reverse Throw

This movement is similar to that of the slam above, but instead of generating power into the ground, you're releasing the ball up toward the sky or behind you.

Med Ball Chest Pass

Most power exercises emphasize the lower body, but this exercise puts an emphasis on the upper body. Being explosive from the upper body can be just as important as the lower body.

Med Ball Rotational Throws

Rotation is an essential movement in many sports. If you're looking to hit a ball farther or put more power into your slap shot, adding rotational throws into your program will help.

Now, let's get into a couple bodyweight exercises one can use to develop power.

Skater Jumps

This exercise is ideal for increasing power for any lateral movement. Think being able to make strong cuts or an explosive stride for skaters.

Total Body Extension

This exercise emphasizes that triple extension moment we saw in some of the med ball throws. This, however, requires no equipment and can be scaled up or down depending on movement quality.

And let's finish with three sled exercises that can help develop power.

Sled Press Throws

We can take the Med Ball Chest Passes and step them up a notch using a sled. We can "throw" more weight and increase our explosiveness. Create full-body tension and throw the sled as far as you can!

Sled Row

Similar to the Sled Press Throws, we're just reversing the movement and doing an explosive pulling exercise.

Sled Push

It's one thing to be able to throw a med ball fast, but it's a whole other thing when we have to move our bodies in a certain direction with power. Pushing a sled is a great way to develop power through the body and into the legs. From there, we can put force into the ground to move explosively.

When it comes to programming any of the exercises, we come back to the topic of intent. If we put the intention to move quickly and with as much force as possible, we can program a variety of reps. Typically, you would see reps in the 1-5 range, but we could go as high as 8 if the force intent is still there.

It is important to note that we want to get the most out of each rep, so it's less about performing rep after rep till exhaustion and more about execution!

Photo Credit: AzmanJaka/iStock

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Topics: BUILD MUSCLE | POWER | MED BALL | SLED TRAINING | OLYMPIC WEIGHTLIFTING