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Explosive Isometrics: Speed Training with the Brakes On

Kenny Croxdale

Level 7 Valued Member
Explosive Isometrics: Speed Training with the Brakes On
Explosive Isometrics: Speed Training with the Brakes On

Explosive Isometrics: Speed Training with the Brakes On

Rate of force development (RFD) is king in the sporting world. Rarely will an athlete have the luxury of a second or two to produce maximal power. It’s all about what you can develop in fractions of a second. With this in mind, any training modality that may improve characteristics of force generation would be of real interest to the strength and conditioning coach. Explosive isometrics are one such technique that has been proposed to train RFD, but is it really possible to train speed and power production through isometric training? Well, the answer may surprise you…

Enter 'Explosive’ Isometrics

There is far more to isometric training than maintaining a static contraction for a prolonged period of time. Explosive isometrics can be defined as "attempting to move an immovable object with explosive intent." The key aim of explosive isometrics is to increase RFD at a key point or position within a specific movement. It’s important to emphasize the ‘key point or position’ part of that statement. Adaptations achieved through isometric training diminish as you move away from the angle trained (Thépaut-Mathieu et al, 1988; Weir et al, 1995). Such examples could be the release point in a throwing action or the mid-thigh position in a snatch.

The Theory

The force-time relationship (figure 1) underpins all types of muscle activity, isometric included. It’s imperative that we understand this relationship in order to determine the potential training effect of any activity. By executing isometric exercises with maximal explosive intent, we emphasize the attack phase of the attempted contraction. Explosive isometrics are proposed to be an effective modality for developing RFD due to this sharp attack phase (Siff, 1993; Behm & Sale, 1993).

EDI Close Grip Bench Press Training (2:05 minutes)

Jay Schroeder of EDI (Explosive-Dynamic-Isometric) Training is PAP (Post Activation Potentiation) Training.

As noted in previous post on PAP, when Heavy Load or Isometric Strength Movement is performed and the followed by a Dynamic Movement, greater Force is Produced (Speed or Power) dependent on the Percentage of 1 Repetition Max.

a) Power Training Percentages

In Traditional Strength Movement, like the Bench Press in this video, 46-62% of 1 Repetition Max develops Power.

b) Speed Trainng Percentage

In a Traditional Strength Movement, like the Bench Press in this video, 10-40% (with approimately 30% being the sweet spot) of a 1 Repetition Max develops Speed.

This is ...

A Novel Approach

This combines an Explosive Movement with an Isometric.

Bench Press Example

This require Benching (Squatting, Deadlifting, etc.) out of a Power Rack and attaching Exercise Power Bands to the base of the it and the Bar.

1) Place the Pins in the Rack so that the Bar Height is right off the bottom part of the chest.

2) Anchor Band to the Base of the Power Rack and Attach them to the Bar.

The Objective

This method is for...

1) Increasing Explosive Power off your chest prior to your Sticking Point.

"A body in motion, stay in motion."

Think of your Sticking Point like driving your car though a mud hole, The faster you go before hitting the mud hole, the more likely you are to make it to the other side. In the case of the Bench Press (any movement), the more likely you are to lock the weight out.

2) Developing Strength At Your Sticking Point with Functioal Isometric

This is accomplised by...

Wrapping The Band around the Bar or increasing the Bar Weight so great that you perform an Isometric at your Sticking Point.

The Resistance

1) It needs to be light enough in at the bottom of the Bench Press so that your can Explosively Drive the Weight off the chest.

2) The Resistance need to so great at your Sticking Point that you cannot move the weight; you perform an Isometric.

Repetition Per Set

Maxium Strength, Power and Speed Training are most effectively developed with Lower Repetition, 1-3.

Cluster Repetitions

Take 10-30 second between each Repetition.

Cluster Set Repetition ensure that greatest increase with Exploive Power off the chest and Maxium Strength at your Sticking Point are developed.

The Sticking Point with Ascending Strength Curve Movements

Ascending Strength Curve Movement are those that are hard at the bottom of it and get easier the higher that you push or pull the weight.

Research shows the Sticking Point in a Bench Press (Squats and most Conventional Deadlifts) is about 1/3 of the way up, about 4inches off the chest).

Thus, the Isometric in the Bench Press needs to be just a few inches off the bottom Bench Press.

The Sticking Point Resistance Isometric

1) Incresing Band Resistance

Band Resistance can be increase by wrapping the Band around the Bar more than once; two or three times.

The Band Size Resistance determines the number of wraps.


2) Increasing Bar Weight Load


3) Both

You can do a little of both; incease the Band Resistance and increasing the Weight Resistance.

The Objective

1) Explosive Drive Development Off The Chest

The bottom part of the Bench Press Resistance is light enough so you Explosively drive weight off the chest a few inches

1) Development of Maximum Strength at the Sticking Point.

The Mid Range Sticking Point Resistance needs to be so great that you perform an Isometric.


This is just another method of training that is effective in overcoming a Sticking Point in a Bench Press (an Ascending Strength Curve Movement).

As with anything new, some experimentation is requried.
I always liked some of Jay Schroeder's stuff.

I might give the GHR thing a try with this - I can do it alone holding (and dropping) a training bag.
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