Strength, power, speed, flexibility, and conditioning are all key defining factors of how well you perform in your chosen sport. Although some of some athletes tend to be more physically gifted than others, there are always exercises moves one can do to improve or maximize one’s sports performance. The exercise moves listed below are some most used exercises in many sports from football to fighting to improve or maximize sports performance, provided they all require some combination of strength, power, coordination, flexibility, and conditioning. Incorporate several or even all of them into your lifting program and we guarantee you’ll be that much more of a beast in your chosen sport in no time.
Targets: Hamstrings, quads, glutes, hip flexors, calves, back, shoulders, arm, core
The snatch is one the most explosive and athletic movements in all sports and a great indicator of athletic performance in sports involving strength, explosiveness, and speed. Its explosive nature matches the intensity of movements that are typically required during sport. Although this move can be performed with barbell or dumbbell, many trainers prefer using dumbbell because they require increased power, coordination, balance and core stability all of which are especially of great importance to athletes.
How to do it:
Grab a dumbbell in one hand and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping your back flat, bend at the hips and knees until you’re in a quarter-squat position—let the hand with the dumbbell hang. From there, explosively jump up, extending your entire body. As you rise, pull the weight straight up in front of your body, keeping it close until it reaches the middle of your chest, then tuck your elbow and fling the weight overhead. Let the momentum generated in your hips be the force that moves the dumbbell most of the way upward. That’s one rep.
Sets and reps: Perform 3 sets of 5 reps using 50%-70% of your one-rep max.
2. Power Clean
Targets: Quads, hamstrings, glutes, core, back, traps, shoulders, biceps, calves
Power clean is an Olympic style exercise that requires your muscles to exert force and speed in an explosive manner both key foundations of power. Power is the ability to generate force quickly and this makes power cleans an excellent exercise for developing power, speed, and explosiveness in muscles for accelerating, jumping or pulling objects from the ground which has great implications for performance carry over to most sports. It’s also a popular exercise amongst cross trainers, football players, volleyball and basketball players for improving core, abdominal and lower back strength, balance, and coordination for enhanced athletic performance.
How to do it:
Stand in front of an Olympic bar, feet about shoulder-width apart. Keeping your back slightly arched, squat down and grasp the bar with an overhand grip, heels on the floor, arms fully extended. begin the pull by straightening your knees, moving your hips forward and raising your shoulders. lift the bar straight up. as the bar moves above your knees, begin to move more explosively by thrusting your hips and knees forward, and rising onto your toes. Shrug your shoulders and flex your arms, bringing the bar to your front delts. Rotate your elbows and extend your wrists to “catch” the weight, flexing your knees and hips to absorb the weight of the bar. Then, squat down to the floor for another repetition. try this one with light weights till you get the hang of it.
Sets and reps: Do 3 sets, 3-5 reps at 70% of your one-rep max.
3. Hang Power Clean
Targets: Quads, hamstrings, shoulders, triceps, traps, core, forearms, calves
This is an explosive jump shrug, upright row and front squat all rolled up into one fully loaded movement. According to research, hang clean produces more than four times as much power as the squat or deadlift and more than nine times that of the bench press. This make hang clean a great exercise for power, strength and muscle growth.
How to do it:
Grasp the bar with an overhand grip with your hands just outside hip-width, and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping your abs tight and back and arms straight, bend your knees and push your hips back. Once the bar reaches about mid-thigh, begin a jump shrug by quickly and explosively extending your legs and rising onto your toes, then shrug and pull the bar upward, keeping it very close to your body. Pull the bar explosively to your upper chest, keeping your elbows as high as possible and out to your sides. Immediately pull your body under the bar by quickly rotating your hands and elbows around it, catching the bar with your hands and shoulders. As your elbows rotate around the bar, allow your hips to shift back and down slightly, as you absorb the weight of the bar while moving into in a front squat position. Keeping your back arched and chest up, press through your heels to extend your legs and return to a standing position. Once at the top, rotate your wrists and elbows around the bar and carefully lower the bar to the start position.
Sets and reps: 5 sets of 3 reps using 70% of your one-rep max.
Targets: Quads, hamstrings, glutes, spinal erectors
The deadlift is the best and most powerful compound move for developing overall size and functional strength that helps your athletic performance in the field. Deadlift forces your muscle groups together and this creates explosiveness needed for jumping, sprinting, and throwing for many contact sports such as football, basketball, rugby, etc..
How to do it:
stand with your feet shoulder-width apart under a loaded barbell so the bar touches your shins. squat down and grasp the bar with a shoulder-width, alternating grip. with your chest up and back flat, lift the bar by fully extending your hips and knees. keep your arms straight as you drag the bar up your legs, and keep your hips down until as late in the movement as possible when you return to standing. squeeze your back, legs, and glutes, then lower the bar to the floor.
Sets and reps: Do 3 sets of 6-8 reps at about 70% of one-rep max.
5. Prowler sled push
Target: Quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves, chest, arms, core
This exercise move allows you to develop good athletic stance to push your opponent away or to withstand pushes and hits from your opponent. Pushing it for distance or speed is great for acceleration mechanics, speed, strength and power development, and overall conditioning.
How to do it:
Do sled pushes in an open space, either outdoors or in an indoor facility with an artificial turf field. grasp the bars of the sled near the top and lean forward from the waist so your torso is just above parallel to the floor. keeping your arms extended but not locked out in front of you, push the sled as fast as you can by driving your legs in relatively short, choppy steps. Push the sled for the desired distance, then rest and repeat.
Sets and reps: Do about five 40-yard sled pushes in intervals. Push the sled for 40 yards taking longer than 15, then rest 10 seconds, Repeat 5 times.
Targets: Quads, glutes, hamstrings, chest, shoulders, triceps, core
This move allows to get down quick and up off the ground in sports like football, basketball, and baseball. burpees are performed with bodyweight in a fast and an explosive motion which makes them great a form of high-intensity interval training that places aerobic stress on the cardiorespiratory system. This helps strengthen your conditioning and endurance which are critical for sports performance.
How to do it:
The burpee is started from a standing position with your feet hip- to shoulder-width distance apart and arms resting at your sides. Slowly lower yourself down into a deep squat and place your hands on the floor on the outside of your feet. Quickly hop up and kick your legs back behind your body. When your toes touch the floor, tighten your abs and maintain a straight back as you lower yourself down by bending your elbows. Steadily push yourself up, kick your legs back to the starting point and jump in the air as high as possible. When you do this, clap your hands together over your head. As soon as you land, go right into your next burpee.
Sets and reps: Five sets of 20 reps with one minute of rest between sets
7. Jump squat
Targets: Quads, glutes, hamstrings, and core
This a favorite among athletes in many sports for enhancing explosive vertical movement and for developing the ability to overcome inertia and gravity to accelerate and take off the ground even if your component is trying to hold you down. This move also builds maximal lower body power because you leave the ground as you reach the top of the squat and will also help you lift more on standard squats to enhance muscular strength and size.
How to do it:
Hold a loaded barbell on the backs of your shoulders as you would for a set of regular squats. slowly lower into a squat, keeping your chest out and back flat, until your thighs are about parallel to the floor, then explode up as fast as you can so that your feet leave the floor at the top of the motion. land with soft knees (never land with your knees locked out), settle yourself, then go down to your next rep.
Sets and reps: 3 sets, 3-10 reps using 40% of your one-rep max.
8. Power jump shrug
Targets: Upper back, traps, calves
The jump shrug is a favorite among athletes for developing upper-back thickness and enhancing explosive vertical movement. the point of this exercise is not to maximally develop the traps but rather increase the speed of the rep, which improves power development. The more power you acquire, the more strength you’re capable of on standard shrugs, leading to better development in the long run.
How to do it:
Grasp the bar with an overhand grip, hands slightly wider than hip-width apart. Wrap your thumbs around the bar for safety. Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Arch your back, draw your navel inward and keep your chest up. Keep your head neutral, eyes focused forward and arms as straight as possible throughout the movement. While keeping your back flat, press your glutes backward and bend slightly at your knees as you lower the bar down your thighs. Once the bar reaches mid- to lower-thigh level, explode upward onto your toes while simultaneously shrugging the bar as high as possible without actually leaving the ground. lower the bar by dropping your shoulders and bringing your heels back to the floor. as the bar reaches the start position, bend your knees to absorb the descending weight. Repeat for reps.
Sets and reps: 3 sets, 3-8 reps using 50%-80% of your estimated one-rep max.
9. Standing medicine-ball toss
Targets: Quads, glutes, shoulders
This a great lower-body power exercise for explosive strength and movement speed development. It trains the all-important triple extension, where the ankles, knees, and hips extend to propel you upward, which is essential for most speed and power sports.
How to do it:
Stand erect holding a 10-15-pound medicine ball with both hands, arms extended and feet shoulder-width apart. squat down slightly, lean forward and bring the ball to your chest or between your legs. explode up by extending your ankles, knees, and hips and throw the ball as high as possible. make sure you keep track of the ball so it doesn’t hit you on the way down. pick up and repeat.
Sets and reps: 3 sets of 6-12 reps.
Targets: Quads, glutes, hamstrings, abs
Step-ups require a high degree of strength, coordination, and balance, all marks of true athleticism. This is done with either an Olympic bar across your shoulders or a dumbbell in each hand. It’s also an outstanding exercise for basketball players who usually don’t take off using both feet.
How to do it:
Using a pair of dumbbell or a loaded barbell across your upper traps, place one foot on a block 6-12 inches high and step up with the other leg, then step back down step up onto the box with one foot (your thigh should be parallel to the floor), then return to the start. alternate legs each rep, or do all reps with one leg before switching sides.
Sets and reps: Do 3-4 sets, 10 reps with one leg and 10 with the other using dumbbells or a barbell with about 50% of your one-rep max.