Ballistic training builds muscle mass, power, and speed which is why it is such a powerful workout routine that many athletes incorporate into their exercise rotation.
What is Ballistic Training
Ballistic training is a type of strength training which rely on resistance through motion using maximum speed and power. The main benefit of ballistic training is that it is an excellent way to build explosive power. You can effectively stimulate your nervous system into activating dormant muscle growth.
Ballistic training focuses heavily on working out Type II fast-twitch muscle fibers which are responsible for giving quick and explosive power at a moment’s notice. Ballistic training is known to be very similar to plyometrics training in that it utilizes the same Type II muscle fibers. In fact, a study showed that a single bout of plyometrics style exercises had mainly affected Type II fast-twitch muscle fibers.
In case you don’t know, plyometrics is known as ‘jump training’ and plyometrics are exercises that are based on exerting maximum force in as little time as possible. The goal is to increase both speed and power.
How Can it Help Me Break Through Plateaus in Muscle Gains?
As you already know now, ballistic training is an excellent way to build Type II fast-twitch muscle. What you don’t know is many people who follow traditional ways to build muscle mass tend to build up Type I slow twitch muscle fibers. These people lift weights slow and steady, while increasing the weights each week. While this is a great tried-and-true method to build lean muscle mass, it predominately builds Type I slow-twitch muscle. In order to reach new levels of muscle mass, our bodies need to build a good balance of both slow and fast twitch muscle fibers.
The reason why many people experience little to no gains after awhile is that they’ve built up too much Type I slow-twitch muscle fibers and not enough Type II fast-twitch muscle fibers. By incorporating regular ballistic training into your workout routines, you’ll have a better chance to build more Type II fast-twitch muscle fibers and break through any plateau you may come across in your gains.
Best Ballistic Training Exercises
Some of the best ballistic training exercises are:
- Jump Squat – You cannot have ballistic training without the classic jump squat. The difference between a regular squat and a jumping squat is that a jumping squat the athlete jumps in the air at the peak of movement during a squat with as much explosive power as possible.
- Explosive Pushups – I am a huge fan of pushups, they are so versatile in the muscle groups they hit. The explosive pushup is done by lowering yourself down to a couple inches from the floor like a normal pushup. Hold this position for a few seconds and then push yourself up off the ground and fall back into the bottom position of the pushup and repeat.
- Kettlebell Exercises – Many of the traditional and basic exercises with kettlebells such as the swing, snatch, and clean & jerk are all compound movement exercises that use almost every muscle in your body. Ballistic workouts with kettlebells can be performed by doing these workouts with the same tempo as the other exercises.
Drawbacks of Ballistic Training
Ballistic training has one major drawback that can affect anyone. Ballistic training puts a lot of strain on the joints. When you do a lot of ballistic training in a short amount of time you increase your chance of joint injuries. This is why it is so important to switch up your workouts and balance your ballistic training workouts with traditional exercise routines.
If you plan on including ballistic training into your workout routine you should warm up your joints and muscles prior to doing ballistic training. This means you should get the form and technique down and build the strength to handle the ballistic exercises before jumping into a full ballistic training routine. This will allow your body to adjust to the new type of training and prevent injuries from occurring.
I am a fan of throwing in a ballistic or plyometric workout into my exercise routine from time to time to balance things up and prevent myself from hitting any unnecessary plateaus in my gains. I find these workout routines are perfect to do when I am on vacation or on a trip and do not have access to the gym. Many of these exercises rely minimally on workout equipment.
Are you going to take the plunge and incorporate a ballistic training routine into your exercise plan?