Fitness is an Adventure

Check out our Exercise Glossary for photo demonstrations of how to do the following exercises.

May 1, 2004
Outside Magazine
workout, training, fitness, exercise, nutrition

[#6] Explosive Power
The Crux Move
"You can learn to lift a lot of weight slowly," says Scott Bennett, trainer to Olympic shot-putter Andy Bloom, "but when it comes to applying it to a sport, what sport requires you to move in slow motion?" In most sports, the difference between success and failure can often come down to an explosive burst of power. This is where Bennett's Olympic lifts come into play. Do them right and you'll be able to take all that strength you acquired in the weight room and apply it in the field, whether you're going up for a dunk or breaking away from the peloton.

The Workout
For superhero moves, you need to master the power clean. This dynamic lift recruits legs, hips, glutes, back, stomach, and shoulders in one fluid exercise that will buttress your quickness and power. Newbies should build up to a power clean by prepping their muscles to handle the four-part process. Three times a week, over the course of three weeks, practice your form, but sans weight during week one. Move gradually to an unweighted barbell in weeks two and three, and a weighted bar by week four. Meanwhile, you're going to build strength via squats, dead lifts, stiff-legged dead lifts, and upright rows (two sets of ten reps for each; check our Web site,, if you need guidance for these). After the first week, add two sets of four jump squats—using no more than half your body weight on the barbell and springing off the floor at the top of the lift. In week three, add the following plyometric drills to the routine: ten forward and backward jumps, then two sets of four hops up onto a two-foot-high box. By the fourth week, you'll be ready to drop the preparatory lifts and drills and replace them with two sets of eight power cleans.

Toolbox: The Power clean: [1] Start with feet shoulder width apart. Squat down and grab the bar with hands shoulder width apart, keeping your back straight and eyes straight ahead. [2] With your abs tight, stand upright using legs (not lower back, which remains straight) while shrugging the bar upward. Carry momentum up onto the balls of your feet, hoisting the bar past your waist. [3] Squat under the bar, flipping your elbows outward to catch weight on the very top of your chest, then stand.

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