This exercise provided courtesy of Billy Polson, founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006.
To combine flexible strength with explosive power, try alternating jumps out of a squat with stepback lunges and upper body twists. The weight plate in your hands adds mass, but also challenges your reach as you stretch into each movement.
Stand upright with feet hip-width apart and a weight plate held in both hands at your chest (see Photo 1).
- From the starting position, sit back into a squat, pressing your hips back behind you as you keep your back flat and weight in your heels. As you descend, keep the majority of your weight back on your heels while still applying pressure through the balls of your feet (see Photo 2).
- From the bottom of your squat, jump explosively up into the air, bringing the weight plate overhead as you jump (see Photos 3 and 4).
- As you descend from the jump, bring the weight plate back to your chest. Land in the starting position with the weight held at chest level (see Photo 5).
- Step your right leg back into a lunge, dropping down through your right thigh until your knee nearly touches the floor. Do not let your front knee go further forward than your ankle (see Photos 6 and 7).
- While in the lunge, extend your arms straight forward, and then bring them to the left, twisting your upper body 90 degrees from the starting position. Your hips should stay facing forward even as your shoulders turn to face the left side (see Photos 8 and 9).
- Bring your arms back to center and the weight back to your chest. Push off with your right foot to bring your legs back together.
- Repeat the squat jump, but this time step your left leg back into a lunge, and bring the weight plate out and to your right.
- Repeat the sequence, alternating directions after each squat, for a total of 12 (6 on each side).