Tag archive


4 Explosive Exercises to Make You a Beast

eric bach, the power primer, the power primer 2.0Expert Tips to Build Muscle, 4 Explosive Exercises to Make You a Beast

I think you’ll agree with me when I say:

Lifting more weight and adding some high-performance muscle is a pretty common goal.

But what happens when you don’t have Olympic bars, bumper plates, and all the necessary equipment? Unfortunately, some people throw in the towel and digress to subpar training methods that aren’t nearly as effective.

4 Explosive Exercises to Make You a Beast

But not you.

You’re different.

You find a way.

Today, I’m going to help you with my latest post on T-Nation.com by hooking you up with four exercises to build explosive power, even if you don’t have a barbell or dumbbells.

4 Explosive Exercises to Make You a Beast… What you Need to Know

  1. In the short term, explosive exercises activate high-threshold motor units to recruit more muscle during your training. More recruitment means more weight and more muscle.
  2. In the long-term, explosive exercises allow you to recruit more muscle fibers with less effort. This makes it easier to smash heavy weights.
  3. You can maximize this muscular recruitment by lifting more heavy stuff, or by lifting, jumping, or throwing lighter stuff faster.


>>Check it Out Here<<

Seven Laws of Building Athletic Muscle

I almost quit.


I failed as an athlete trying to build athletic muscle and as a college meathead trying to re-establish some semblance of athleticism. I wasn’t’ happy with my porous results and I wouldn’t be happy unless I had the best of both worlds—being athletic and muscular. Not one, not the other, but both. What’s the point in being a muscle bound sluggish Ogre or lacking confidence?

There’s more to building athletic muscle than deadlifts and lifting weights. Instead of being ripe with dysfunction and scrawny you must ditch the old school “body-part splits,” “insanity workouts,” and “ the Westside or Die” mentality. There’s no perfect recipe.

Forget these tools, they’re only a method of training. What’s needed are sound principles to make real change and get things done. Your body should exude confidence in your abilities and perform in the world, not just the platform. These seven things will build explosiveness, lean muscle, shred body fat, and boost your confidence.

sprints, building athletic muscle
Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rethwill/8752384617/

1.)  Movement is a Must

The most common tip to become a better athlete is “get stronger.” This is important, but sports are more about movement than being strong. An over-emphasis on building strength is as dangerous as minimizing it. Without a base of movement it doesn’t matter how strong you are, inefficiencies in movement will hold back your high performance training. Sports occur with jumps, throws, sprints, cuts, hops, and reactive movement, not barbells and dumbbells.

Besides, sprints keep your fast twitch muscles firing on all cylinders and maintain explosiveness as you age. Perform jumps and throws before workouts. Sprint and do change of direction drills two or three times per week to keep you athletic and lean.

2.) Build a base of strength

There are multiple types of strength, but we’re focusing on absolute and relative strength.

Relative Strength is the amount of strength relative to body size. This reflects a person’s ability to control or move their body through space. All else being equal, smaller individuals have higher relative strength.

Absolute Strength is the maximum amount of force exerted regardless of muscle or body size. Greater amounts of absolute strength favor those with higher bodyweight and in general, larger individuals.

Building a base of strength improves relative strength (when size is in check) and improves your ability to generate force.

building athletic muscle
Building Athletic muscle require heavy lifting

Why this matters:

You want a body that performs as well as it looks. Both absolute strength and relative strength are needed for high-performance gains. Greater relative strength can be driven up by greater absolute strength and tested through activities that require moving the body through space—jumps, chin-ups, sprints, and bodyweight movements in sport.

Plus, you’ll increase nervous system activation, leading too:

1.  Increases muscle fiber recruitment: the number of muscle fibers being recruited.

2.  Increases speed of rate coding: the speed at which the body sends electrical signals to the muscles.

These both lead to greater adaptation and improvements in workout performance and help you build lean muscle. Build your strength base, it improves your ability to build lean muscle, strength, boosts your endurance, and shreds body fat.

3.) Progressive overload

I hate to break it to you, but squats, cleans, presses, pulls and lunges are still the best for building lean muscle and strength. Too maximize these exercises you must progressively overload the body. That means add weight, decrease rest, and increase training volume. Push your body beyond its abilities or you won’t grow. Get comfortable being uncomfortable or get left behind.

4.) Keep Isolation Isolated

By isolation exercises I’m referring to the typical bodybuilder exercises: lateral raises, biceps curls, and the like. Except for a few exercises at the end of your workouts these isolation exercises are inefficient and a waste of time. They’re a piece of the puzzle for building muscle, but everything has its place. With a limited amount of time to train you’re better off building strength and explosiveness. Get strong, and then worry about isolation, as it’s needed. For others use isolation as it’s needed to prevent injury and improve movement. Here I’m referring to your rotator cuff exercises, activation exercises in your hips and trunk and the like. Make them a piece of the puzzle, but not the main focus of your workouts.

5.) Pride, Passion, and Perseverance.

“Pride, passion, and perseverance.”

“Pride, passion, and perseverance.”

I remember my High-School Football coach preaching these terms over, and over, and over again. I used to think he was full of shit, but he’s right. These three terms are vital to your success on and off the field.

Pride to put your best foot forward and pursue your goals no matter the circumstances. Passion to be relentless and put in the time when no-one is working. Perseverance to push through plateaus and struggles that will occur. Attacking training with pride, passion, and perseverance is imperative to building athletic muscle.

“Knowing” what to do is great, but it won’t get you results. Put in the work!

6.) Exercise Risk/Reward

Everything is a tool and requires a risk-reward analysis.

building athletic muscle
Sorry, this won’t help you unless you’re training for the circus

The behind-the-neck overhead press is a great muscle builder, but creates shoulder impingement and dysfunction in lots of individuals. Is the trade-off worth it?

No. Each exercise is a tool, not the end-all-be-all. There are dozens of exercises to train the same muscles, pick a better option.

7.) De-loading Exercise

Train all you want, but without an emphasis on recovery you’ll end up beat up, weak, and un-athletic.

Training hard is rarely the missing piece for progress. That title goes to recovery, the vital component that most athletes neglect. Intense exercise causes tons of stress: joint & ligament stress, muscular damage, neural fatigue, and hormone disruption are all factors that must be taken into account and is highly individualized to each athlete. Beginners may be able to go for months without backing down; however, advancing athletes require individually specialized programs to maximize training gains. De-load, do recovery workouts, use soft-tissue therapies and contrast showers for better recovery.

Building Athletic Muscle Wrap Up

There’s more to building muscle and being athletic than your strength numbers. Get off the platform and into the world. You have to move, move well, and move often in a variety of ways. You have a finite amount of resources for training; pick exercises wisely, train hard, and be persistent. There you have it. These principles are key for building athletic muscle without turning you into a bloated ball of fail.


About:Eric Bach, CSCS, PN1 is a strength coach at Steadman Hawkins Sports Performance in Denver, Colorado. As an author Eric has been featured in publications such as T-Nation, eliteFTS, and the PTDC. He is the owner of Bach Performance where he coaches clients to take control of their lives, helping them become stronger, shredded, and more athletic. Get your Free Ebook 101 Tips to Jacked and Shredded Here.Athletic Muscle Building

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/bachperformance/
TWITTER: twitter.com/Eric_Bach


If you want all of this programmed into a workout to finally build the body you desire join Bach Performance Online Coaching today. I’ve got a ton of projects coming an awesome things for you coming up, so stay tuned and join the Bach Performance community for exclusive offers and updates.

Join us now at Bach Performance.com 

Have a tip to add? Drop the Comment Here, I’d love to see it!


photo credit: oscarandtara via photopin cc

Train like an Athlete

It’s 9 pm on Tuesday night. Over the last 2 hours you’ve been sipping your glass on water, scanning curiously over the latest workouts on various exercise websites. Each workout is markedly different. Athlete, bodybuilder, powerlifter…huh?

One site caters to bodybuilders, one site markets to powerlifters, one site markets to those people just looking to “Lose 10 pounds Fast!”, and one site aiming to help athletes reach their next level of competition.
Which should you listen too? When in doubt, train like an athlete.


When an athlete trains, the focus is not on aesthetics, rather, on improving performance through increasing strength, speed, (or any other movement quality) and setting personal records (positive goal-setting).

So while maintaining a certain aesthetic look isn’t an athletes top priority, it’s often a nice by-product of training with a purpose.

(For Proof, just Check out “The Body” edition of ESPN the Magazine.)

Here are 5 fantastic reasons why you should begin training like an athlete when you are due for an exercise program change.

1.) Improved athletic Performance.

I know that everyone reading this likes seeing weights go up. Building ansolute strength is awesome and improves nearly all other trainable qualities.

But why not add some power into the mix?

Olympic lifts, sprints, medicine ball throws, and jumps are all great ways to incorporate power training directly into your program. Everyone can benefit from having some more POP.

If playing your sport or activity entails any of the following actions, incorporating explosive based exercises will improve your performance.

Explosive Movements: sprinting, swinging,  jumping, cutting, juking, bounding,  spinning, diving,  hopping, kicking, pushing, punching, throwing, hitting, slapping.

This includes most sports under the sun, and most of these movements are a blast to perform. Baseball, basketball, football, soccer, lacrosse, diving, hockey, martial arts, wrestling, track & field, weight lifting, hockey and even polo all uses these explosive movements.

In addition, research continues to build that fast twitch muscle fibers will transition to more slow twitch (less explosive) with aging if they are not trained in an explosive manor  (Sayers 62-67.) This is a contributing factor in sarcopenia (muscle loss), and a higher incidence of falls…Yikes!

It’s perfectly normal to focus on spending the majority of your time more jacked, but take 3-4 months every year and dedicate some time to athletic development, its fun and vital for longevity.

Don’t wait until you have grey pubes, you’ll thank me later!

2.) You become versatile

Sure, it’s a blast being able to rip 500 lb deadlifts, but not to the detriment of being able to sprint, jump, or having decent mobility.

What do you think of when you think of the best athletes? I think of athletes that can sprint, turn on a dime, be explosive, and maneuver their bodies in unfathomable ways.

As a Packers fan it pains me to say this, but I think of Adrian Peterson. Whether AP is cutting, juking, sprinting, or running over you his varied skill set makes him impossible to stop.

Now, without saying that you will have the same skill set as Adrian Peterson, you should notice a drastic performance increase  in your flag football league  play  while also reducing your risk of injury. Bring on the braggin’ rights!


3.) Improved Conditioning

I must admit, I have a strong distaste for conditioning work.

But, Knowing that it’s a necessary evil, I’ve found ways to make it both fun and achievable.


Like training for strength, fat loss, or muscle gain you must plan it out. Having a game plan and well planned routine leads to better results every time.

“The best workout routine is the one you will follow.”

Plain and simple, if you don’t write things down you won’t do them. Start planning out conditioning work as you would any other workout program. Mix in high intensity, low volume programs and low intensity, higher volume programs. Be creative with sprints, back pedals, shuffles, and other dynamic drills to provide a well rounded training stimulus.

It’s almost too easy. Program your conditioning work just like your strength training routines and see your results skyrocket.

4.) Super-Compensation

Most of us get stuck in a rut, constantly training for the same variable. Whether you’re training to carry atlas stones, pick up barbells, look good naked, or run triathlons, super-compensation will apply to you.

What is Supercompensation? Essentially, supercompensation is an improved work capacity following a training period.

So, if you’ve been lifting heavy, heavy, heavy for months maybe it’s time to take  a few weeks off.

De-load the body from your current training stimulus and incorporate more explosive movements, single leg movements, and conditioning for a short period. When you return to your primary training style you’ll have a well rounded movement foundation, better movement patterns, and be fresher.

You may have a temporary decrease in strength, but that is short-lived. With improved mobility, stability, and conditioning you will be crankin’ big weights in no time.

5.) fewer Imbalance Injuries

Most trainees get stuck in the rut of training the same way…. over, and over again. This often leads to overuse injuries. Incorporating more three dimensional movement, such as lateral lunges and rotational throws, will activate poorly activated muscle groups and improve movement quality.

Less aches and pains, feeling refreshed, and more enjoyment with training?

Hell yeah, I’m in!

Wrap Up

Training like an athlete provides the necessary variety to improve your overall physique, health, and athletic performance. Incorporate a variety of explosive, single leg, and multi-directional movements to spark your training up a notch.

This is my encouragement to you. If you’re searching for a fresh, positive view on your approach to training, remember to train like an athlete.


Sayers, SP. “High velocity power training in older adults..”Current Aging Science Journal. 1.1 62-67. Print. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20021374>.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/mharrsch/8330173857/”>mharrsch</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/xoque/4247473538/”>xoque</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>

Go to Top