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The Effect of Explosive High-Speed Training on Muscle Hypertrophy

Integrating explosive high-speed exercises in your training can improve athletic performance and promote the growth of lean muscle tissue. An explosive exercise is one in which you generate a great amount of force and move fast for a short period of time. These represent your jumping, sprinting, med ball tossing, and olympic lifting exercises. Explosive activity triggers muscle hypertrophy and mobilizes fat burning hormones creating both muscle mass and a lean appearance. The theory is that creating muscle tension at high speed causes micro tears in the muscle, which will promote tissue growth and repair at a cellular level. In addition, these micro tears trigger the release of growth hormone, IGF-1, testosterone, and epinephrin which promote the use of fat during activity. In most sports, athletes are required to use high-speed explosive movements to achieve their goals. Think about a volleyball spike, a baseball swing, a javelin throw or even a sprint to the ball. These are all complex, high speed movements and mimicking these in training helps our tissue adapt to these types of demands, improving specific athletic performance on the field. In explosive activities, the muscle must both generate the power to move and stabilize the body during the motion. These contractions are quite strenuous on the body, but again this is where training comes in.  The tissue lengthening can cause micro tears in muscle fibers, which can cause both delayed onset muscle soreness and promote tissue growth to support this new load on the tissue. When paired with an appropriate recovery strategy and  supplemented with a strong diet the consequence is hypertrophy and better athletic performance.

Examples of Explosive High-Speed Training: sprints, box jumps, kettlebell squat jump, broad jump, kettlebell swing, snatch, clean, jerk, med ball toss, resisted banded speed squats.

Laura Garcia is a certified Athletic Trainer at Compete Sports Performance and Rehab.