Trap Bar Jumps: Best Exercise for Developing Explosive Power
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Having explosive leg power is essential for just about any sport. Power is described in physics to be simply as Force = mass x acceleration.
Power movements are performed with maximal speed. Olympic weightlifters and sprinters all generate maximal amounts of peak power during competition. When I think of power, I think of the legendary Bruce Lee. His punches and kicks were lighting-quick moves. Training for peak power is not done with maximal weights as one might think. Maximal power velocities are generated when lifting moderate loads. Peak power output is typically seen when workloads of 30% one repetition maximum (1-RM) are used. One study examined different exercise choices (squats, plyometric, or ballistic jump squats) and how they would impact power by measuring vertical jump performance. At the end of the study, all of exercise choices increased vertical jump performance, but explosive ballistic jumps was the best. Standardized weight training lead to a 5% increase, plyometrics a 10% increase, but ballistic jump squats resulted in an 18% improvement in jump height. So if you want to increase your power, you need to train explosively!
Recent research suggests that jump squats with a loaded hexagonal barbell are superior for peak power production to comparable loads in a traditional barbell loaded jump squat. Researchers examined the relationship between relative peak power output during the performance of the hexagonal barbell jump squat (HBJS) and its relationship to sprint performance and jump height as a way of measuring peak power.
At the end of the study, relative peak power from the trap bar jumps was associated with faster sprint times. Essentially, the more explosive the athletes were based on their trap bar jump, the faster they ran and the higher they jumped. Not many people use trap bar jumps in their workout routine, but if you’re looking to build explosive power, in addition to clean and jerks and power cleans, the addition of trap bar jumps is an excellent exercise to add.