5 Supersets for Brutal Strength & Explosive Power

How to Get Strong and Explosive

Powerful Supersets = Powerful Physique

Being strong is great, but being strong AND powerful is even better. Training at high velocities using lighter loads will carry over seamlessly into lifting heavier loads. So why use supersets to get both?

Training all aspects of the force-velocity curve is important to your success. Think of training for strength like winding up a toy car. Letting go is like training for power. Why develop all that strength if you never plan to use it for anything other than more feats of strength?

Here are five exercise pairings for building brutal strength AND explosive power. You'll start with a strength exercise and immediately move to a power exercise.

Here are the details:

This is a lower-body hip-dominant combo.

In the deadlift, pull the slack out of the bar to engage your lats and mid-back muscles. Try to push your feet through the floor as you stand up with brute force. This intent is key for moving heavy loads.

Then grab the dumbbells and immediately move into the power exercise. Sit down on the bench with the weights by your sides. Slightly rock back, let your feet leave the floor, rock forward, and press your feet down into the floor with as much (if not more) force than you did in the deadlift.

This momentum and force should catapult your body up toward the ceiling. When you land, drop the weights and jump forward as far as humanly possible.

Perform A1 and then immediately do A2. Rest about 2-3 minutes between sets. Complete a total of 3 sets.

  • A1. Trap Bar Deadlift: Do 3 sets of 3 reps: go heavy, but not your max
  • A2. Dumbbell Seated Squat Jump & Release into Broad Jump with Stick: Do 3 sets of 3 using dumbbells at 10-20% of your body weight.

This is an upper-body horizontal-press combo.

For the bench press, drive your feet into the floor forcefully. Drive your upper back into the bench to create equal tension for the upper body. Then unrack the bar and think about "pulling" it down toward your chest and then "pushing" your body away from the bar as it travels back up.

Now move right over into your power punches. Set your hands up in a shoulder-width position with the band. Bend at your knees and hips slightly, and make sure your eyes are slightly gazing forward. Then let it rip.

Your goal is to unleash several punches in a powerful and continuous manner until all reps are complete.

Perform A1 and then immediately do A2. Rest 2-3 minutes between sets. Complete a total of 3 sets.

  • A1. Barbell Bench Press: Do 3 sets of 3, heavy but not your max
  • A2. Band Standing Continuous Power Punch: Do 3 sets of 6 using a long band (medium-to-heavy resistance)

This is a lower-body knee-dominant combo.

When you unrack the bar with the front squat, brace your abs as hard as possible to create stability in the mid-section. From here, it's as simple as controlling the descent and then blasting out of the hole with the intent to be powerful. This is the strength movement, but you'll want to practice explosiveness if your goal is to continue stacking on strength.

With the reactive squat jump, you're simply adding in a mini stomp before each jump. If you watch the video closely, it's like a quick jab but only with the lower body. It has to be short and quick. The momentum and speed gained from the mini stomp allow you to put even more force into the ground so that your actual jump will be much higher than it typically is.

Perform A1 and then immediately perform A2. Rest 2-3 minutes between sets. Complete a total of 3 sets.

  • A1. Barbell Front Squat: Do 3 sets of 3 reps: Go heavy but below your max
  • A2. Dumbbell Reactive Squat Jump: Do 3 sets of 3 using 10-20% of your body weight.

This is an upper-body vertical-press combo.

The Z-press requires trunk strength, hip flexor flexibility, hip joint mobility, and hamstring flexibility since you're seated on the floor. Lengthen your legs in a V-formation, then brace your abs hard and press one arm up into the overhead position. The most important part? Nothing else moves in your body aside from the pressing arm.

For the split jerk, you'll brace your abs hard for stability while one arm presses the bar into the overhead position. The kicker? There's a quick movement that happens in the lower body from a standing position to a split stance. You use the lower body to help your upper body drive the bar up, which enables you to be explosive.

Perform A1, then immediately do A2. Rest 2-3 minutes between sets. Complete a total of 3 sets.

  • A1. Landmine 1-Arm Z-Press: Do 3 sets of 5 per side with heavy-ish weight
  • A2. Landmine Standing 1-Arm Split Jerk: Do 3 sets of 3 per side using 10-20% of body weight plus the barbell.

This is a lower-body knee and hip-dominant combo.

Using the Hatfield set-up where your hands are supported on the rack gives you more stability in the rear-foot elevated split squat. The key is to brace your abs hard so that you can focus on the split squat movement. Start your descent and go down as low as possible. From there, power up and out of the hole the same way you did in the squat.

Your intent should be to move fast with power when lifting for strength, even if the weight doesn't actually move fast. This intent contributes to your strength development.

Then grab a pair of dumbbells and position yourself on the floor in the split squat stance. Use a little momentum and jump up with explosive power in a continuous effort until all reps are complete. Switch sides and repeat. Remember, the front foot is the driver here, and the back foot is playing a supporting role.

Perform A1 and then immediately do A2. Rest 2-3 minutes between sets. Complete a total of 3 sets.

  • A1. Safety-Bar Hatfield Rear-Foot Split Squat: Do 3 sets of 5 per side, heavy-ish
  • A2. Dumbbell Continuous Split Squat Jump: Do 3 sets of 3 per side using 10-20% of body weight.