How To Use Plyometrics To Become An Explosive Beast

plyometric back flip

You wake up in the morning totally rested and refreshed. You feel ready for your morning workout.

You do all the necessary stuff to get prepared and now you are about to hit some plyometric push ups.

You get down and you start. Your hands feel like explosive springs. You push with power and you explode off the ground, while in the air you swiftly move your hands and in a moments notice you hit 3 claps, one in front, one behind the back and one in the front before landing. Your repeat the same process for 7 more reps.

After resting for a while, you are ready to repeat the process.

You feel fast, explosive and powerful.

Nothing can stop you, you are an explosive beast!

How close to your current reality does this story seem to be?

Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could perform and feel the same way?

Well, doing so is totally achievable. In fact, you can even surpass the “image” portrayed above.

Even though many athletes dismiss calisthenics when it comes to developing explosiveness, becoming explosive using calisthenics is absolutely attainable.

With this post, I am going to show you how to do just that.



Why Should Someone Train With Plyometrics?

plyometric flips


But Todd I just want to achieve advanced calisthenics skills. Why should I train for explosiveness?

Your training has to be aligned to assist your goals and I agree with you that if you want to achieve only strength based calisthenics skill, you may as well not train with plyometrics exercises.

However, as you are going to see below there are a lot of calisthenics feats that rely heavily on explosiveness and there is no reason to disregard explosive feats over the strength based ones.

Other than that, here are some of the benefits that come with plyometric training.

Benefit #1: Increase Your Strength And Power

Since plyometric training is focused on increasing the rate of force development, explosive training is going to help you become stronger as well.

Furthermore, with plyometric training you will be training the fast-twitch fiber in your muscles, which is responsible for converting strength into speed. Long story short, plyometric training is going to increase your power.

Benefit #2: Become more athletic

The performance in almost every sport is based in explosiveness, power and speed.

From Olympic lifting to football, to basketball, to martial arts, to track events, top athletes have to display extraordinary amounts of explosiveness.

In all of these you have to display strength, change direction, jump, etc. in a moments time.

Training with plyometrics is going to help you develop these qualities and make you a better athlete overall.

Benefit #3: Boost Efficiency Of Neuromuscular System

This benefit is a byproduct of the first benefit.

Since you are training your body to apply strength fast, you are also training neuromuscular system to transmit signals more efficiently.

Benefit #4: It’s Fun And Prevents Boredom

Learning calisthenics skills is awesome, regardless if they are explosive or not.

Nonetheless, achieving explosive skills provides you with a different feeling than when achieving a strength based skill.

This difference can help you overcome boredom quite easily. Even just training with explosive movements is going to make you feel different.

Training, for example, for the butterfly kick (exercise #49), is going to feel way different than training for one arm push ups.

Some Cautions About Calisthenics Plyometrics

plyometric clap push up

Regardless how awesome plyometric training might seem, you should always be very careful when training this way.

Plyometrics can be very hard on your joints and I would recommend to always practice with caution. When performing advanced exercises, like depth jumps, I would recommend to have a coach around.

If you are still a beginner, you shouldn’t train with plyometrics yet, as it’s so easy to injure yourself. Instead, focus on building a solid foundation before starting. Before considering doing serious plyometrics, it’s a good idea to be able to do the following:

If you don’t meet the necessary above criteria, spend more time on building your numbers.

How To Warm Up For Explosive Training

push up

Warming up for explosive calisthenics is very similar to warming up for a regular workout.

The biggest difference is that before training with explosive calisthenics you should always warm up the joints that are going to take the impact of landing.

For plyometric push ups – warm up your wrists, elbows and shoulders.

For plyometric pull ups – warm up your elbows and shoulders.

For jumping – warm up your ankles, knees and hips.

Following a regular warm up is going to help you target most of the joints mentioned above, except the wrists. For your wrists warm up, I highly recommend you the handstand wrist preparation.

Based on the above a basic warm up before a plyometric workout may look like this:

A1: 3-5 min Wrist preparation

B1: 3-8 push ups
B2: 3-8 pulling exercise (this can be brachiation, body rows, etc)
B3: 5-10 squats/lunges

C1: 10 min skill work (optional)


  • Perform exercises B1 to B3 like a circuit, going from one to the next without rest. Repeat 3 times with 60 seconds rest in between rounds.
  • Your skill work shouldn’t be exhausting. For this reason, in this 10 minute period you should train mostly with balance exercises like handstand drills, frogstand variations, etc.

Plyometric Exercises

Below is a list of the best plyometric calisthenics exercises.

The exercises are categorized into three categories, based on the major muscle groups involved:

  • upper body exercises
  • lower body exercises
  • miscellaneous exercises

Based on their difficulty level, the exercises are going to be further divided into beginner, intermediate and advanced.

Upper Body Plyometrics

In this section you are going to find the exercises focusing mostly on the muscle groups of the upper body.

The exercises have been divided into pushing and pulling exercises.

Explosive Pushing Exercises

Exercise #1: Plyometric Push ups

You don’t have to change your hand position at every rep, but you can if you want to. The point is to get off the ground.

10 Hardest Pushups In The World

Exercise #2: Clap Push ups
Exercise #3: Superman push ups
Exercise #4: Crossover push ups
Exercise #5: Behind the back clap push ups (aka Muay Thai Push ups)

You can find a tutorial on how to achieve this exercise here.

Exercise #6: Double clap push ups
Exercise #7: Aztec push ups
Exercise #8: One arm plyometric push ups

It’s not necessary to have an elevated surface to land upon. The main goal is to explode off the ground.

Exercise #9: 360 push ups
Exercise #10: Plyometric dips
Exercise #11: Triple clap push ups
Exercise #12: One arm clap push ups
Exercise #13: One arm one leg clap push ups
Exercise #14: straddle planche clap push ups
Exercise #15: Plance clap push ups
Exercise #16: Plyometric handstand push ups