Are you training your athletes to be in the optimal range for explosive power? Are your athletes
strong but cannot move? Are your athletes fast but are not strong? How do you know if your
training program is training the right stimulants for your athletes?
Why it matters In almost every sport you are required to overcome inertia at the beginning of any movement, which requires a lot of force. An athlete’s ability to move something heavy and do it fast can mean the difference in winning and losing. One thing that I have noticed when talking to coaches is that they want explosive athletes. But how do you know if an athlete is explosive or not?
How to figure out the Explosive Power Ratio The Explosive Power Formula developed by Mike Nackoul takes your One Rep Max (1RM) Back Squat and divides it by your 1RM Power Clean or Hang Clean and gives you your explosive power ratio.
The Explosive Power Formula tells you if you need to focus on either improving rate of force
development or focus on improving maximum strength with you athletes. Some of you may be asking what rate of force development and maximum strength are.
Rate of Force Development is the measurement of explosive strength or to put it simply, how
fast someone can develop force.
Maximum Strength is the greatest amount of force a muscle(s) can voluntarily produce
or simply, the highest level of force possible.
Using the ratio
The first thing is to test your athletes Back Squat and Power or Hang Clean 1RM after finding
your athletes 1RM you then take your Back Squat and divide it by your Power or Hang Clean to
find your athletes explosive power ratio.
1RM Back Squat = Explosive Power Ratio
1RM Power/Hang Clean
After finding the Power Ratio you can then find out what you need to program for your athlete
according to the chart above. The Explosive Power Ratio will insure that what you are doing in
your program is working to develop the optimal ratio of Maximum Strength and Rate of Force
Development for your athletes.
If you are programing for a group of athletes, you can take the average from your group to
determine If the majority of the group needs to focus on Maximum Strength or Rate of Force
development. If you want to get into the specializing for individual athlete, you can program
more strength exercises or plyo/ballistic exercise in their accessory work after their main lifts.
For example, we have two athletes one that has a 1.7 ratio who needs to work on improving Rate
of Force Development. Athlete two who has 1.4 ratio who needs to improve Maximum
Strength. The programed may look like the following.
The two athletes will do all of the main lifts together, but after do different Accessory lifts.
Power Clean 5x5
Clean Pull 5x5
Front Squat 5x5
1.7 ratio Rate of Force Development Athlete
DB Squat Jumps 5x3
Pair w/ Box Jumps x3
DB Bench 5x5
Pair w/ MB Drops x10
Ground Base Jammer 5x5
Pair w/ 3 Broad Jumps rapid
1.4 ratio Maximum Strength Athlete
Military Press 5x3
Pair w/ Pull Ups 5x5
Step Up 5x5
Pair w/ Glute Bridges x15
Close Grip Bench Press 5x3
Pair w/ TRX Row x10
This way the two athletes are both hitting the main lifts and doing different accessory
work to focus on the athlete’s needs.
To check if your program is working to develop the optimal ratio you should consistently test your athletes throughout the year to check if they are in the optimal range. If the athlete(s) aren’t you make an adjustment to your program via the chart above. Then you test again after your lifting cycle. If the athlete(s) are in the optimal range, the biggest thing is to keep getting them stronger. Then you would test again to check if they are in the optimal range. If not, make the adjustment to the athlete(s) needs to get them back on track. It is like a game of cat and mouse with the optimal range while trying to get the athlete as strong as possible.
What you need to know The Explosive Power Ratio is another tool for your coaching tool box. The Explosive Power Ratio is an easy and effective way to determine if your athletes need to work on rate of force development, maximum strength or to determine if they are in the optimal range for explosive power. One thing to keep in mind is if the athlete is in the optimal range that you keep developing their strength. Then make an adjustment to the program after their lifting cycle.
About the Author
Matt Jackson is in his third season as the Strength and Conditioning coach at Baker University along with being an Assistant for Softball. As a Softball coach Matt helped lead 1 Honorable mention NAIA All-American, 2 First-Team All-Conferences and 2 Second-Team All-Conferences athletes in softball through the Heart of America Conference. As a Strength and Conditioning coach, Matt has had 3 athletes named NSCA Strength and Conditioning All-Americans. Matt earned his Bachelor Degree in Exercise Physiology from Washburn University where he was an All-MIAA Selection in baseball. After his playing days Jackson helped lead eight players selected to the All-MIAA team as an Assistant. Matt is a member of the National Strength & Conditioning Association, USA Weightlifting, and Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches association. Matt has been a part of the Strength and Conditioning staff for Washburn University, William Jewell College, Mid-America Nazarene University, and Colorado State University. Matt is currently working on his Master’s Degree in Sports Management from Baker University. Matt is a Native of Lincoln, Neb., and graduated from Lincoln North Star High School in 2010. He currently lives in Raymore, Mo. With his wife Shelby.