Get ready to optimize your training and take advantage of these killer exercises that will directly improve your triple extension, making you an explosive BEAST that’s always one step (or three) ahead of their opponents.
In this article we’ll explore 6 great exercises that will give you the best bang-for-your buck in the gym, allowing you to become a more explosive athlete without wasting hours of focusing on the wrong things.
Let’s jump in!
What Triple Extension Is & Why It Matters
Triple extension refers to the movement pattern of your ankles, knees, and hips simultaneously extending.
This is that super powerful movement that propels you forward when you sprint and launches you upwards when you jump – it’s deeply rooted in nearly ALL sports movements!
But more important than understanding what it is, is understanding how to take advantage of it.
Knowing what happens in triple extension basically gives us a blueprint of what important muscles and movements we need to train in the gym, and building our workouts around triple extension pretty much guarantees us results in our sports because we’re specifically strengthening the movement that we need to powerfully sprint, jump, skate, etc.
Muscles get stronger by specifically strengthening them, but movements also need to be trained in order to get efficient and powerful at them.
This basically means that yes, doing leg extensions will make your quads stronger/bigger, but they won’t do much to improve the actual movement of triple extension since there’s zero hip and ankle extension happening!
That makes exercise selection a bit nerve-wracking – it’s easy to focus on the wrong things and not know it – that’s why we’ve created this list of 6 great exercises that’ll be sure to improve your triple extension!
1. The Power Clean
There’s a reason that most high-level athletes train the power clean in some capacity.
It’s a full-body movement that’s like an explosive deadlift mixed with a front squat.
Start with a barbell on the ground and get into a proper deadlift position, making sure to brace your core.
Now pull the bar up as hard as you can – it’s almost like you want to jump up with the bar, letting your heels explode off the ground.
The stronger you can TRIPLE EXTEND through your hips, knees, and ankles, the quicker the bar goes up and the heavier you can load up the weight.
Pull the bar to your shoulders in a “front rack” position as it flies up, squatting underneath it as it lands.
Extend out of the squat, and you’ve done the power clean!
A good way to make this a little easier is to do a hang clean – it’s the same thing but you start already standing with the bar, not on the ground:
This can also be done as a hang power clean, which involves catching the weight in a parallel squat (not lower).
Both variations are excellent!
2. Single Leg Wall Triple Extensions
This is a cool exercise that’s also known as “wall-anchored triple extension.”
It’s a great way to isolate pure triple extension, and create a mind-muscle connection with your brain and the muscles responsible for the movement pattern.
Lean into a wall, supporting yourself with your hands.
Start with one knee up towards the wall, and the other leg planted firmly on the ground on your tippy-toes.
Quickly switch legs, driving the knee that was bent up down and back into the ground as hard as you can, landing on your toes again – it should almost feel like you’re pushing yourself forward.
Pause in between each rep, and really focus on the quality and explosiveness each time.
This is more of a “quality over quantity” exercise – you’re not really going to fatigue yourself here, but rather focus on a clean, strong rep.
3. Box Jumps
Box jumps are a great way to track your improvement and explosiveness.
You’ll want to start with a box that’s at a comfortable height for you – make it challenging, but don’t shoot for something that’s going to make you trip!
Get into a squat, and drive your feet into the ground, propelling your body upwards and exploding through your toes.
Swing your arms up to help get some height and momentum – this is a pure form of triple extension that’ll really build some power.
Aim to add a couple of inches – I usually recommend around 4-6 inch raises – once you get comfortable with your current box height.
4. Bulgarian Split Squat Jumps
I have a love-hate relationship with these – they work super well but they can get tough!
BSS jumps are one of the best movements for building explosiveness as an athlete, and follow the triple extension concept well.
Have your back foot up on a bench or roller, and plant your other foot in front of you in a lunge-position.
Crouch down to get some deep hip, knee, and ankle flexion, then drive yourself upwards, exploding off your toes as you try to get as much air as possible!
The video above shows the guy bringing his knee up to his chest at the top of the jump – this is totally fine, just make sure you’re fully extending your leg first to get the most possible height and stick to the triple extension concept.
It’s also a good one to practice if you’re a sprinter, since the setup of the BSS jump translates well to a block start.
5. Broad Jumps
Broad jumps also directly rely on your ability to triple extend, forcing you to get better at them as you jump further and further.
You want to start with a deep crouch, swinging your arms backwards to setup for the momentous drive forwards.
As you begin to swing your arms forward, drive your legs through the ground, straightening your lower body and hips as quick and hard as you can, and explode off of your toes.
Look at how there’s a split second where the guy in the video above is completely straightened out in the air – this is super important because you will NOT go as far if you lack extension anywhere through your hips, knees, and ankles.
6. Explosive Med Ball Toss
The explosive med ball toss is an exercise where you want to do exactly what the name implies.
Hold a med ball (begin with something lighter, 8-10lbs to practice the technique first) and bring it down between your knees with straight arms and a mini-squat.
Now swing your arms up as hard as you can, exploding out of the crouch and following the med ball into the air – your feet should leave the ground!
The goal is to use your lower body to generate power into your toss, really driving your hips, knees, and ankles into extension from that crouched position.
Shoot to hit the ceiling with the ball – but watch your head!
There are many great exercises out there, but choosing the right ones all depend on what your goals are.
You need to prioritize triple extension to become more explosive as an athlete, and avoid wasting time in the gym with exercises that won’t make a big impact on your athletic performance.
These 6 exercises have a ton of progression potential, meaning that you can always get better at them and in-turn improve your triple extension/explosiveness.
Let me know how these went for you, and ever-forward in becoming an A1 ATHLETE!