What Are the Different Types of Power Exercises?

Dan Cavallari

Power exercises are done to build explosiveness, or the ability to initiate the muscles quickly and forcefully. These exercises are generally broken down into upper and lower body exercises, and they focus on thrust and quick movements. A medicine ball is commonly used during power exercises, though some exercises can be done without any specialized equipment. Exercises meant to develop power are often referred to plyometric exercises, and they may include push-ups, squats, medicine ball throws and twists, and a variety of different types of jumps. These exercises can be fairly strenuous, so it is best to do them with a partner or spotter.

Claps can enhance a simple push-up.
Claps can enhance a simple push-up.

Lower body power exercises include squats and jumps. The direction of the jump, as well as the succession and the time between jumps can affect the level of power one develops from these exercises. Box jumps, for example, are strenuous movements that are done quickly to develop power in the thighs, hips, calves, and joints of the legs. A box jump is performed by standing at floor height in front of an elevated platform that is usually knee height or slightly higher or lower. The person doing the exercise will stand in front of the platform with his feet about hip width apart, and then he will jump upward and forward onto the platform. Once on the platform, he will jump back down to the starting position quickly and repeat the motion several times.

Pregnant women may be advised against performing power exercises, and may be advised to perform gentle stretching instead.
Pregnant women may be advised against performing power exercises, and may be advised to perform gentle stretching instead.

Other power exercises focus on the upper body. These can be done with no specialized equipment. Push-ups, for example, can help develop power without the use of any equipment; the exercise can be enhanced by doing clap push-ups, in which a person will thrust upward with the arms hard enough to allow the user to clap his or her hands before bracing for the weight of the upper body coming back down toward the ground. These are very strenuous exercises that can develop power quickly.

Lunges can be used as a type of power exercise.
Lunges can be used as a type of power exercise.

Some of the more common power exercises are done with the medicine ball. This medium to large heavy ball can be thrown, swung, tossed, or pushed to help the muscles of the chest, arms, shoulders, and back become stronger and more explosive. Some medicine ball workouts develop the core muscles of the body that support the spine, which include the stomach muscles, groin, and lower back. By developing the core muscles, the body is more prepared for fast, forceful motions.

Medicine ball workouts may help develop the core muscles of the body that support the spine.
Medicine ball workouts may help develop the core muscles of the body that support the spine.
Light weight medicine balls may be used to tone the arms during exercise classes.
Light weight medicine balls may be used to tone the arms during exercise classes.
Power exercises may focus on strengthening the upper body.
Power exercises may focus on strengthening the upper body.

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