This article provides a high-level overview of one of the five Movement Focus categories from the Jump Scan.
What is Explode?
Explode is measured during the jump's transitional phase and represents how much force you can transfer through movement.
Generating and transferring force efficiently requires:
- Core strength and postural control
- Relative strength
- Ability to transfer forces efficiently
Individuals with Low Explode signatures tend to be limited by one or more of these qualities.
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Common Characteristics with Low Explode
Those with low Explode (relative to other variables) typically leak force through linear and lateral movements. Younger and untrained individuals with poor postural control, previous low back or pelvic injuries, and individuals with poor relative strength levels often assess showing a lower Explode relative to Load or Drive.
The ability to transition forces efficiently helps with change of direction tasks, posture under load, and course-correcting when you lose your balance. Whether running an agility drill or stepping out of the way of a bike on the sidewalk, transitioning force with great core stability is important for protecting our bodies from back pain or injury. Not to mention, it can improve overall performance in these activities.
The most common injuries for individuals with insufficient Explode are typically to the low back and often due to lack of core strength and stability.
Benefits to Improving Your Movement Efficiency
Efficient movers are:
- Less susceptible to fatigue because each movement costs less energy
- At lower risk of pain or injury because joint and muscle stress is dispersed appropriately (vs. overloading certain joints)
- Higher performers because the body can produce and express more force with lower energy cost
In contrast, inefficient movers are:
- More susceptible to fatigue because of a higher energy cost for each movement
- At higher risk of injury because of the inability to absorb, withstand, balance, or disperse stress appropriately and adapt their movement
- Lower performers because of competing compensation strategies
Following the Jump Scan, each individual is classified into 1 of 5 Jump Signature™ classifications based on their Movement Focus. Your Movement Focus is determined by the lowest variable(s) in your movement signature and explains your primary limitations or weaknesses, thus identifying your greatest needs and focus for exercise prescription.
No single Movement Signature is "best" or "worst" - they each have unique strengths and limitations, ingrained over time by what we repeatedly do. However, the goal remains the same: to maximize movement efficiency. Think about two race cars, one with poor alignment and suspension and the other in perfect pre-race condition. Which car would you pick to finish at the top of the leaderboard?
How to Improve Explode
Do More: Core strengthening and explosive exercises
Focus on posture while sitting and standing
Poor posture can over time affect core strength and hip mobility, causing some muscles and joints to compensate for others
Plyometric and jumping exercises
Other than focusing on core strengthening, explosive exercises such as jumping and sprinting require the coordinated transfer of forces between the upper and lower body
Exercises aimed at resisting movement in different planes
Do Less: Stretching and mobility exercises
Sitting in slouched position
Poor posture can over time affect core strength and hip mobility, causing some muscles and joints to compensat for others
Stretching and mobility training like Yoga
Some individuals with this type of Movement Signature are extremely mobile or flexible. While some flexibility is good, too much mobility in certain areas can lead to a lack of stability, creating inefficient movement
Lower back stretching
Improving Your Movement Health
In human movement, the path to improving efficiency begins with the analysis of an individual's Movement Signature™. Load, Explode, and Drive are the three main variables measured during the Jump Scan and represent an individual's ability to Create, Transfer, and Apply force efficiently. These three phases capture the nuance of human movement. The more effectively each individual is able to utilize these different phases, the more efficient their movement is.
Load is a measure of how much force and how quickly this force is created. It is measured during the downward phase of the jump.
Explode is a measure of how much force and how efficiently that force is transferred. It is measured through the transitional phase of the jump.
Drive is a measure of how much force and how long that force is applied. It is measured during the upward phase of the jump.
Load, Explode, and Drive collectively create an individual's Jump Signature, which is the visual representation of their unique movement strategy. Think of it as your movement fingerprint. Load, Explode, and Drive combine into your Sparta Score, a single measure of relative movement efficiency.
For example, imagine a boxer hitting a punching bag; Load would represent how much force and how quickly he accelerates his fist into the bag. Explode would represent the force transferred into the bag at impact, and Drive would refer to his ability to prolong or apply force through the bag.
Different components of the Movement Signature represent different movement qualities and, based on the values, can represent different strengths and weaknesses that underlie an individual's movement efficiency, health, and physical capabilities. Boxers (and humans in general) have different genetic make-up, training backgrounds, injury history, and abilities, which play a role in what type of mover they are and how they execute this action. You may have two different boxers punch the bag with high force, but use a different strategy. These boxers will have different strengths and limitations shaping their strategies and approach in the ring. Ultimately, the more efficient the boxer is at producing force via their specific strategy, the greater their potential ceiling of performance becomes.