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Ballistic Training Tips

Ballistic Training is a technique where you explode a weight up in a smooth and controlled manner, rather than lifting it at a constant speed. This is done with reasonably heavy weights, so the weight doesn’t move all that fast.

Ballistic Training Workout Tips

  • Forcing the weight to go faster in this manner creates variable resistance, as you are stronger in one part of the lift than another, due to the difference in mechanical leverage. When you are stronger, the weight accelerates a little more, making it heavier than one that is not accelerated as much. Thus the weight is heavier when you are stronger and not as heavy when you are weaker, also known as ‘variable resistance.’ Ballistic Training recruits a maximum amount of white, fast-twitch power fibres, which are bigger and stronger than red, slow-twitch endurance fibres. Constant failure is created, as the muscles grow when they are given a task just beyond their capabilities. When trying to accelerate a weight, there’s a limit to the amount of potential acceleration. Your muscles fail to move it faster. Rather than failing only at the end of your set, you are actually experiencing a degree of failure during each rep of the set.
  • Ballistic Training can be done with exercises that use big muscles such as Bench Presses, Shoulder Presses and Squats. A weight should be used that you could normally do approximately 10 reps. As an accelerated weight is heavier, you would probably be able to do only about 7 reps with the same weight using the ballistic method. For example doing a Bench Press using the Ballistic Training Method, you would use a faster tempo on the upward, or concentric phase of the exercise when you push the weight up, than is normally employed.
  • Ballistic reps require a different technique compared with normal, constant speed repetitions. The weight should be lowered normally, using constant speed, with a pause at the bottom, then the weight should be driven up, with smoothly acceleration throughout the range of motion. Continue the set to failure of power, not absolute failure, meaning that when you can’t accelerate the weight anymore, and can only lift it slowly, you should stop.
  • When doing ballistic training ensure that you get plenty of rest between sets, say from 1 to 2 minutes, as fast-twitch fibres takes longer to recuperate, the type of muscle you are targeting with ballistic sets. Ballistic training, when executed correctly, can be an effective way to increase your training intensity. This method of training is particularly effective for training the white, fast-twitch fibres. When training in this manner, ensure that the range of motion is smooth and controlled throughout, except on the upward phase, where the tempo could be described as ‘smoothly accelerated.’ Ballistic Training is one of the Power Training Principles.
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