May 4, 2017
Building Power, Part Three
Nick Tumminello

The exercises featured in this blog enable coaches to enhance athletes’ ability to summate force in an explosive manner for the vertical pillar of power. I’ve included my top two exercises for this pillar. I favor these particular movements because they don’t involve any special equipment and are easy for athletes to learn.

Squat jump with arm drive

Setup: The athlete stands with feet roughly shoulder-width apart.

Action: The athlete squats by bending at their knees and hips so that their thighs are just above parallel to the ground. They reach their arms slightly behind their hips, keeping their elbows slightly bent. (see Figure 1.1) The athlete jumps straight up by simultaneously extending their legs and swinging their arms above them. (see Figure 1.2) They land as lightly and quietly as possible, returning to the starting position.

Coaching tips: Make sure the athlete jumps as high as they can on each repetition. Each time the athlete squats, they should keep their knees in line with their toes — their knees should not come toward one another at any time. Do not allow the athlete’s back to round out at the bottom of each repetition. To add load to the exercise, have them wear a weighted vest. 

Medicine ball diagonal squat push throw

Setup: The athlete stands with their feet shoulder-width apart and holds a medicine ball weighing three to six kilograms (about 6.5 to 13 pounds) at their chest with their elbows underneath the ball.

Action: They lower their body as if doing a dead lift by shifting their hips backward and bending their knees so that their thighs become roughly parallel to the floor and their torso leans slightly forward (see Figure 2.1). The athlete explodes out of the bottom position and simultaneously extends their arms and legs to launch the ball diagonally out in front of them at a 45-degree angle (see Figure 2.2). As the athlete throws the ball, their forward lean causes them to jump forward, after which they walk toward the ball to retrieve it for the next repetition.

Coaching tips: On each throw, the athlete should explode out of the starting position as fast as they can while throwing the ball as hard as they can. At the end of each throw, their feet should leave the ground, and their body should be fully extended with their arms overhead.

Figure 1.1

Figure 1.2

Figure 2.1

Figure 2.2

Nick Tumminello is the owner of Performance University, which provides practical education for fitness professionals worldwide. The 2016 NSCA Personal Trainer of the Year, he is also the author of Strength Training for Fat Loss and Building Muscle and Performance and has produced more than 15 strength and conditioning DVDs. Tumminello writes a blog at: and can be reached at: [email protected]

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