If you want to build strength in your muscles (which, if you’re on our site that’s pretty much a given), the best way to do it is through short, explosive contractions lasting less than a second. Short exercise bursts are not only less tiring and easier, they also build more strength than longer, sustained contractions during weight training, accoding to a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.
The study, of 43 healthy men in their 20s who had not done any previous lower body strength training, found that ‘explosive’ contractions were the least energy-intensive way of increasing strength and functional capacity of the muscles.
More specifically, explosive contractions improved neural drive by 17-28% and explosive torque by 17-34%. What these mean for your lifts is you’ll be able to break PBs. Explosive torque is the force that causes something to rotate. Think of a snatch or a clean: You screw your feet into the ground, engage your mind-muscle connection to ensure your muscles and joints are ready, then you drive with as much force and efficiency to move the weight and extend through your legs. And all of this depends on your neural drive—how quickly and efficiently your nerves respond to exercis eand stimulate a muscle contraction.
Not ready to put down the heavy weights? Put the science to the test and let your muscles be the judge.