“Should powerlifters include explosive movements in their training?”

I have gone back and forth on this question for years. At times I have had Olympic lifts, jumps, and dynamic effort squats, bench presses and deadlifts in my training program and at other times I have not. After much thought, study and experimentation, I have come to the conclusion that, in general, powerlifters need not include explosive movements in their training. Traditional explosive movements are simply not specific enough when it comes to movement velocity to merit their inclusion in a powerlifting training regimen. That being said, here are two applications where “explosive” training may have merit in a powerlifting program:

  • If an athlete is predominantly slow-twitch in muscle fiber make-up and really struggles to generate force quickly, explosive movements may actually help in recruiting the fast-twitch muscle fibers that are needed to generate high forces in powerlifting.
  • Accommodating resistance training with higher percentages in the competitive lifts may beneficial for powerlifters. See my previous article entitled, “Some Thoughts On Speed Training for Powerlifters”
Powerlifter Bryan Dermody

Bryan Dermody

Bryan Dermody has a vast knowledge in the field of strength and conditioning with being a college football athlete and then going on to become the strength and conditioning coach for the University of Iowa football team, Drake University, and University of Louisville football team.  He ended his strength and conditioning career with 2 years as assistant strength and conditioning coach for the New York Jets.  During this time he also competed as a Strongman athlete and now competes as a powerlifter who has had the honor of competing at Arnold Sports Festival Pro Deadlift the last 8 years.


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