I'm training to increase my explosiveness for basketball so I'm doing high intensity workouts at the gym and sprints, the goal is to build as much fast twitch muscle as possible. I've read that you should aim for quick sets which could mean either:

Lower reps at higher weight with less speed


Higher reps at a lower weight with higher speed

Is there a sensation in the muscles I could look for after a set to know if I've done the workout properly for fast twitch? I suspect I'll need to experiment at the gym because everyone has a different body type but I'd like to know what has worked for other sprinters/jumpers. I just found an answer to a question that suggests maximum speed with 70-90% of 1RM (I'm looking at the power column in that answer's table). This answer is from scientists, Soviet scientists so the answer seems pretty conclusive to me but I'd like other's opinions.

2 Answers 2


You allready found the answer in the first link you provided.


  • do fast explosive compound movements
  • no rep should last longer than 7 - 10 sec.
  • keep the repetitions low
  • keep 5 - 10 minutes rest between sets for ATP system to restore (you should not fatique)
  • do plenty of sets and stop when you feel you are becoming slower with the movements
  • focus on the concentric portion of the lift and limit the time under tention for the eccentric portion

Some additional Power exercises for explosiveness: - plyometric pushups - jumping squats - cleans and snatches, push press - speed deadlifts - sprinting - jumping

  • 2
    To add to this: Olympic Weightlifting practice movements are great: Hang Snatch, Hang Clean, Jerk (Split and Power), Snatch Balance will all help with explosive power if performed correctly.
    – John
    Mar 9, 2017 at 8:43
  • 1
    True, although some of them are highly technical and require guidance of a trainer when practicing that's why didn't say explicitly Oly Lifting :-). But a valid comment ...
    – mitro
    Mar 9, 2017 at 8:51

"Explosiveness" refers to the rate and efficiency of neuromuscular recruitment: how quickly, thoroughly, and intensely you can cause your muscles to contract. This is largely determined by your genes.

Consider training for strength via heavy squats and deadlifts. Stronger muscles produce more force than weaker muscles, and therefore can produce greater bodily acceleration. Please note that strength training (coupled with proper recovery: food and sleep) probably will increase your muscular bodyweight, but this will not reduce your explosiveness, because muscle is obviously able to lift itself.

  • The evidence contradicting your answer is the explosive power difference between Powerlifters and Olympic weightlifters.
    – John
    Mar 9, 2017 at 8:44
  • @JJosaur, could you please elaborate your comment? As I see it, elite Olympic weightlifters, as a group, probably have more genetic endowment for explosiveness (power); whereas elite powerlifters, while also possibly explosive, need only be extremely strong. Mar 9, 2017 at 14:54
  • "probably have" is not evidence enough for a good answer.
    – John
    Mar 9, 2017 at 15:02
  • Fair enough, @JJosaur. What do you think of these articles? Speed Gene: Fact or Fiction? What Makes a Great Olympian? Sometimes It’s Genetics Mar 9, 2017 at 15:24
  • The first one essentially is comments on this paper which is a case study that does not conclude anything relevant to non-Olympic level athletes. The second generalises people by race and puts some explanation as to why Olympic events are dominated by particular races of individuals. Both these refer to the top % of athletes and not the question-asker. It's not "largely" determined by your genes.
    – John
    Mar 9, 2017 at 16:01

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