How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (2024)

Today I’m talking to Kelsey Kiel, a longtime elite CrossFitter who recently made the switch to bobsledding. As she trains toward qualification for Team USA, Kelsey joins us to talk about how her training has shifted, decisions that changed the course of her athletic career, and how bobsledders train most of the year off the ice. It’s a good look at managing performance and explosiveness, and why we can never underestimate technique in any sport. We hope you enjoy.

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (1)

On this episode of The BarBend Podcast, host David Thomas Tao talks to Kelsey Kiel about:

  • “I typically lead with ex-CrossFitter” (01:50)
  • Kelsey’s accomplished CrossFit career (08:40)
  • Discovering bobsledding via an Instagram message (and Kelsey’s similarity with Blaine McConnell’s story) (14:45)
  • The bobsled learning curve (20:15)
  • Misconceptions about bobsled training (27:10)
  • Kelsey’s current training program (29:00)

Relevant links and further reading:

Transcription

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (2)Kelsey Kiel

The current World Champion bobsled pilot for Team USA her name is Kaillie Humphries, her husband and then her, they messaged me on Instagram. The only reason I knew anything about bobsled was because I had met Blaine at Invictus previously and then I watched his journey with it, but that was it. I didn’t even know what it would entail training for bobsled, none of it.

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (3)David Tao

Welcome to the “BarBend Podcast,” where we talk to the smartest athletes, coaches, and minds from around the world of strength. I’m your host, David Thomas Tao, and this podcast is presented by barbend.com.

Today, I’m talking to Kelsey Kiel, a long time elite CrossFitter, who recently made the switch to bobsledding. As she trains towards qualification for team USA, Kelsey joins us to talk about how her training has shifted, decisions that changed the course of her athletic career, and how bobsledders train most of the year off the ice.

It’s a good look at managing performance and explosiveness and why we can never underestimate technique in any sport. We hope you enjoy. I do want to take a second to say that we are incredibly thankful you listen to this podcast. If you haven’t already, be sure to leave a rating and a review of the BarBend podcast in your app of choice. Now, let’s get to it.

Kelsey, thank you so much for joining us today, and the first question I have to ask is, you’re a multi-sport athlete at this point, when people ask what you do or what your sport is, what do you say? What is the short answer?

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (4)Kelsey Kiel

Man, is there a short answer? A lot of people know me as a CrossFit athlete, I typically lead with ex-CrossFitter, [laughter] and current team USA bobsled athlete. That is where I live. Was a CrossFitter, now working to fight for my spot on the USA bobsled team.

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (5)David Tao

We’ll go in chronological order to make it easier. Let’s go back in time. You discovered CrossFit, when was that? How was that? Everyone’s story is different. It’s always interesting.

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (6)Kelsey Kiel

Yeah. I played soccer in college. I’ve always been relatively active and I love team sports and that kind of thing, but CrossFit and nutrition and all that was nowhere on my radar in college. Thinking back to what I used to eat during soccer, it was mind-blowing sight.

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (7)David Tao

We had a few former soccer players on this podcast, and the diet stories for college soccer players are concerning. [laughs]

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (8)Kelsey Kiel

Didn’t know anything, that’s always funny to think about, but I found CrossFit, my sister took me for my first CrossFit class back in 2014. I was so bad at it that I wanted to keep going back. Now that I coach CrossFit and been in the world you either have people who do their first class and never come back, or they do their first class they’re like, “OK, I need to come back and try not to be that bad at it anymore.”

That was me. I didn’t want to be so bad. For a while it was like I will go three times a week and use CrossFit as my form of exercise. I didn’t think about seriously pursuing CrossFit until the end of 2015. I did a local small individual competition and I enjoyed it. I did well. It showed me some of my weaknesses, as did the 2015 Open. Those were two times that I was like, “OK, maybe I could make regionals.” That was the goal. Maybe I could be one of the local regional level athletes.

I ended up switching gyms. I was going to a gym in Philadelphia, and I started going to a gym a little bit of a higher caliber athlete right over the bridge from Philadelphia to New Jersey. As soon as I did that it started opening up these doors, and that’s when I met Rachel Goldenberg who owns CrossFit Parallax down in Claremont, Ocean City, and New Jersey area. It took off.

That was the first year. When it came time for the 2016 Open, it was Rachel’s idea to try to put a team together. My other friend Kelly and I were the other two. This was when there were teams of six, and we were like, “All right, let’s give it a shot.” [laughs] It was probably the craziest eight months of my life. It was back when CrossFit required you to be at the affiliate that you were representing at least 50 percent of your training. I lived in Philadelphia and so did Kelly.

We would road trip down to about an hour 15 minute drive every Friday and stay all weekend, and train and come back and work our nine-to-five job. It was a bit crazy, but we ended up qualifying for regionals and almost winning the Northeast regional. We missed it by like four or six points. We got second. This team of misfit rookies made it to the CrossFit games.

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (9)David Tao

That was such an interesting time, too, because there was like a 50 percent rule. You had to do at least half your workouts at the affiliate. You had all these rumors online of folks sneaking workouts in their base.

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (10)Kelsey Kiel

It was crazy.

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (11)David Tao

It was the weirdest thing, and social media was such a powerful tool. Everyone was like…

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (12)Kelsey Kiel

Coffee, at practice?

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (13)David Tao

Coffee, at practice. Then everyone’s like, what if they’re actually training extra at a different gym secretly? It’s like, what? It was such a weird environment for conspiracy theories and tracking.

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (14)Kelsey Kiel

Thinking back in my head, I was like, we were so nervous. We would make sure that we got there Friday night so that we could go to the gym, and hit a piece, and take a selfie, and have the time stamp. I’m thinking back, there was no shot in hell cross that was going to come knocking on our door asking us, no one knew who we were. [laughs] It was funny to get back then.

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (15)David Tao

It’s also, when you’re training at that level, especially 2016, that’s not the early days of CrossFit, but when you’re training at that level, you’re doing multiple sessions a day, multiple times a week. It’s not like you’re doing three workouts a week. It’s not like Monday, Wednesday, Friday, I workout.

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (16)Kelsey Kiel

Right. That was also a factor was then we would hit our individual pieces Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and then we’d get there Friday and try to cram in all this team training. If one person couldn’t make it, then we’re like, throw our arms up. What do we do now? Let’s get our alternate in, and we didn’t have an alternate. We barely had it, but that kind of thing.

It was a rollercoaster eight months. We went to the games and we finished 19th, nothing crazy. We had an event win, which was cool. We even beat Mayhem in that event, that’s maybe one of the best ones on my resume.

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (17)David Tao

I was going to say that I know you all remember that, but I was like, I wonder if they do? Then I’m thinking, Rich definitely remembers every time he’s ever lost that event as a team. He also remembers?

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (18)Kelsey Kiel

I’ll talk to him about that.

November 2016, it was the sprint event, it was funny in my life right now, sprinting, but you weren’t carrying anything, no worm, no nothing. We had football player and soccer players on the team. We were all out sprint. Then it came to the time when it was a Worm Sprint. We had to carry the worm as a team and sprint and we got there last. [laughs] There you go. Yeah, that was our team for you.

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (19)David Tao

Post 2016, tell us about your CrossFit career over the next three or four years after that? You lived as a team, did you go individual? Give folks an idea there.

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (20)Kelsey Kiel

I ended up moving out to the West Coast. I moved to Reno, Nevada for 2017. I tried to do the individual thing. My goal was to qualify for regionals and I did, the second wave. I was 22nd. I got that after a couple of girls went team, I got in.

My goal for regionals that year was I kept saying have fun, smile the whole time and knock it last. That was my goal for regionals. That was also the year that Dave Castro programmed zero barbells for the regional. It was all dumbbells and all everything else.

I’m like, OK, the one time I get into regionals, barbell is my best friend and I don’t get a barbell, but it was fun. I finished 11th at regionals, not awful. Then, I moved back to the East Coast and that’s when I moved to Boston.

My goal was to switch the focus back to team again. In 2018 and ’19, I went to the games, now, it’s Invictus, Boston. We were the Reebok Invictus or Reebok Athletes, I forget exactly our full name for 2018. That was interesting because that’s when it went down to four people.

That was when they did no longer training at the affiliate. That’s when the super teams started popping up, so you could train with, or you could go team with a bunch of individual athletes. We were lucky that all four of us were in Boston. We got a lot of good practice like with the Worm and that kind of thing. We won the East Regional in 2018, then went to the games. In 2019, with all the sanctionals, it was a tough ride. We went up to Iceland, or over to Iceland.

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (21)David Tao

Up and over.

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (22)Kelsey Kiel

[laughs] We got second. You could throw an individual athlete in there who was not intending to go team. There was one workout where you had to run up a mountain. They had Sam Burns on their team.

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (23)David Tao

They won. I have run up that mountain, back in 2013.

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (24)Kelsey Kiel

Have you?

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (25)David Tao

Visiting Iceland. It took me a lot longer than everyone else. There was a bunch of games athletes and me. That’s a tough workout.

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (26)Kelsey Kiel

It’s a little different. That was a hard one. [laughs] We didn’t do so hot on that one. We got second in Iceland. We didn’t get our qualifying spot there. Two weeks later, we went to the Rogue Invitational. We got second there, beat Mae Himagan. [laughs]

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (27)David Tao

They remember that one too.

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (28)Kelsey Kiel

Vividly, probably. We didn’t get our qualifying spot there. It was like, “OK, guys, you got one more chance. Let’s try to figure out how to get all four of us to Paris to do the French Throwdown.” We ended up getting our qualifying spot at the French Throwdown, and then had to go compete at the games about three-and-a-half weeks later.

That was a wild season. That was a little crazy. That wore us out. My training partner at the time, he and I, we fought hard to get this team together and get to the games. It was obviously a long season. We had no time to calm down and have that depth to then peak again.

It was tough on us physically and mentally. Going into the 2020 season, I knew he was shifting his gears more towards individual. I thought, “Hey, let’s give the individual thing a go. That’s been always dream of mine, get to the games as an individual.

I went to Ireland. That was the first sanctional the end of 2019, to see where I fell with all these amazing female athletes. I held my own. I was fired up about going to Ireland. I didn’t have a real coach. I knew what I was doing, but I was on my own doing it, and I surprised myself. That boosted my confidence a little bit. In early 2020, I went to London, and that’s where I got my invite to the games, finishing fifth at the Strength and Depth. That was amazing. Then COVID happened. [laughs]

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (29)David Tao

Then, COVID happened, and all that stuff was reset. In 2020, that’s also when you found what’s called your current sport, bobsledding, bobsleigh. Which is better? Bobsledding or sleigh?

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (30)Kelsey Kiel

I always say bobsledding, bobsled, but bobsleigh is the official. The whole world uses that term.

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (31)David Tao

Well, we’re not that fancy. We’ll say bobsled. Walk us through that you found in 2020 for the first time, which is a weird time, by the way to take up anything. Take us through that progression. What triggered that in your mind? I’ve had Blaine McConnell on the podcast before. He has a very interesting story about finding that. What was your journey? At one point in 2020 were you like, “You know what? Maybe I’m going to be an ex-CrossFitter and a current bobsledder?”

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (32)Kelsey Kiel

I have a very interesting story. The current world champion bobsled pilot for Team USA, her name is Kaillie Humphries. Her husband and then her, they messaged me on Instagram. The only reason I knew anything about bobsled was because I had met Blaine at Invictus previously. I watched his journey with it, but that was it. I didn’t even know what it would entail training for bobsled, none of it, absolutely none of it.

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (33)David Tao

Did you like cold outreach, they sled into your DM thing.

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (34)Kelsey Kiel

There was my DM asking me, “Have you ever thought about trying bobsled?” To be totally honest, it was 10:30 at night. I had had a glass of wine. I was looking at my DMs. I was like, “I’m glad. I don’t know what that would mean.” Then, the conversation started. That was probably in early 2020. It was after my invite had been taken. It was after the reshuffling of the invites to the games.

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (35)David Tao

COVID has hit. They’ve reshuffled everything. You are no longer invited to the games.

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (36)Kelsey Kiel

No longer. I was still training. I was still a skill games athlete. In my head I was like, maybe they’ll shuffle it again, and I’ll get an in. Who knew? I knew nothing. I had chatted with Kaillie a bunch. She lives in California.

It was a whole time in my life, even with COVID being as crazy as it was, I knew that I was ready to leave Boston. I was ready to transition my life a bit. I was working with a coach, Justin Cotler. He was also Kari Pearce’s coach. He made the move from New York City to Las Vegas and took Kari with him.

I thought, if I’m going to give this CrossFit thing a couple more years, I might as well go train under my coach’s eye next to Kari Pearce. You can’t beat that. That was the plan. I started that plan at the beginning of the summer. That was like, “OK, at the end of the summer that’s going to be I move my life out west.”

It was the bobsled conversation was always in the back of my mind. It was, maybe I’ll get out to Vegas. I’ll drive the three hours to where Kaillie lives. I’ll train with her. I’ll push with her, and see if I like the training, and that kind of thing. I was leaving Boston on a Sunday.

It was Friday in August, 36 hours before I was getting in my U-Haul truck to drive across the country, and Kaillie called me. She said, “Do you have a place out in Vegas yet?” As you look back, it’s everything happens for a reason.

I told her my lease fell through. It was a crazy lease but that’s a whole other side conversation. [laughs] I’m not signing this lease, and she’s like, “Well, they have a bed for you at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, New York.”

With COVID all the question marks of quarantines and that thing are happening. She’s like, “You can go out to Vegas and then get to Lake Placid, but you might have to have a longer quarantine. If you’re in I’m suggesting on the East Coast and then waiting it out to see when you can get up to Lake Placid.”

That night was a Friday night. I remember calling my mom, my mom was flying to Boston the next day to help me pack up my apartment. I didn’t know what to do. I felt what is God or the universe? What is happening? I had a phone call with one of the coaches. They said something like, used some kind of analogy like, “Life is a surfboard, and all these opportunities are going by you and you can decide to hop on one, or decide to let it pass you by. There’s no right or wrong answer to that.”

For me, I felt CrossFit’s not necessarily going anywhere. I’m getting older, but I can always do CrossFit. The chance to try out for an Olympic team will continue to come around. Instead of driving across the country, I drove my U-Haul truck down to Philadelphia, where I’m originally from, I got a storage unit. I have a bunch of stuff in storage, staying at my mom’s house who watches my dog when I’m away for bobsled, and I dove all in. [laughs]

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (37)David Tao

Tell us about the learning curve for bobsled. Obviously, you were recruited for a reason. You have to be a fast explosive athlete for bobsled, or bobsleigh if we’re being finicky. There’s a learning curve. It’s a sport. You have to learn it. There’s a lot there’s a lot going on, you’re moving very fast. Then at a certain point, there’s this crap moment I’m going down an ice tube in a steel tube fast. How long did it take you to learn enough to where you were getting on the track?

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (38)Kelsey Kiel

Yeah. When I got up to Lake Placid in September, and I quarantined for a week, I got out. I had heard that we are going to be able to get on ice, November, the beginning of November. I don’t exactly remember. Maybe, it was even mid-October. I don’t totally remember. The dates kept changing everything. There’s no set time ever with bobsled, I’m learning. I rolled off that.

What they have up in lake Placid, or they had at the time, was an outdoor push ramp. You’re in your regular tracks spikes. It’s definitely not the same as when you’re on ice. It mimics that the start ramp of a Bobsleigh Tracks. I was able to get practice out there. What I quickly learned is I was recruited, definitely because of my size, my strength, and my leaning towards shorter explosive type workouts.

What I have never learned in my entire life is actual sprint mechanics. How to run with soccer. It was always run as fast as you can with that soccer ball. It was never, “Oh, you got to dorsiflex.” None of that. We never learned it. It’s been a learning curve. It’s continuing to be a learning curve for me. I’m grateful now that I have this time, and this off-season training that I’m working with a track and field coach. I’m working on that kind of thing. The strength is already there. I need to get faster. That’s cool.

It’s so different from CrossFit, in that, it’s so sport-specific. Your body is not used to it, necessarily. I suffered from a pulled adductor, because you’re running straight, but then you’ve got what they call over the crest. You’re sprinting as fast as you can, downhill. Then you hop in the sled, or in the outdoor sled.

It was, I know, my body can do things, and can do amazing things, especially going through being a CrossFit athlete, but it was so different. My body was definitely not used to so sport-specific training. It definitely is a learning curve. It definitely is still a learning curve. [laughs]

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (39)David Tao

How long has this off-season? What is the process for determining who’s going to make the team, and represent team USA?

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (40)Kelsey Kiel

I hope I don’t say this incorrectly, but you do have to remake the team every year. There’s team trial races. Everything was messed up with COVID. Because we’re going into Olympic year, every time you have a new Olympic track, they have to hold a test event. You get to race and you get to go down the track that will be in the Olympics.

That was meant to be in March. With COVID, they pushed it to this coming October. October is usually when Team USA holds their team trial races. Team USA had their team trial races at the very end of our season back in March. It was trying to go with the flow type of thing.

On the women’s side, not a lot of people know this that the women’s bobsled as a sport, they only have two man and monobob, which is just the pilot in the sled. Significantly less opportunity than on the men’s side who have the two man, but also have four man. It’s different when it comes to trying to make the team and that kind of thing.

If you’re not a pilot, if you’re not a driver, you don’t have a whole lot of say in what happens. Other than, as a brakeman which is my position, you go and you push as fast as you can. Then, a pilot will want to race with you, that kind of thing.

It was interesting. I didn’t make the national team that went over to Europe, but I was on Team USA as development squad, which was on what is called the North America’s Cup. We did some races over the winter in both Lake Placid and Park City, Utah.

It was a dream come true being able to put on a USA speed suit and got to do the whole thing. I’m grateful for that opportunity because I got more reps on ice. I was able to practice more, work on things that I knew that I wasn’t getting. I can practice sprinting and that sort of thing. Getting the reps on ice was what I needed and I feel I personally improved so much.

Come the team trials, we only have four pilots. Four brakeman got a race, I didn’t get a race in the team trial races. As a brakeman what I’m gearing up for is at the end of July, they hold what’s called push championships. That will be in Lake Placid in their new Ice House, which is brand new to opening up. It opened up yesterday or today.

It mimics the start ramp, but it’s all indoor and it’s ice. You’re pushing as if you were about to go down the hill. What’s cool about that is the repetitions, you get so many more reps. Whereas on a day of training you might get two runs total, so two reps. [laughs]

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (41)David Tao

Is it timed?

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (42)Kelsey Kiel

Push champs will get times. We can all have push offs and every brakeman will. It’s for the pilots and the coaches to see who is the fastest, [laughs] the fastest pusher, so that’s what I’m gearing up for. After that, it doubles push champs, which is in September or so. That’ll be depending on the outcome of the push champs. A pilot will ask brakeman to come do the doubles push champs, which will still be in that ice house. Then the season grants up, because they got to get ready for the Beijing Testament in October.

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (43)David Tao

What is the thing that surprised you most about the sport and being in the sport?

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (44)Kelsey Kiel

What a lot of people don’t realize is how much goes into the sport of bobsled that isn’t the running on ice and hopping in and going down the track. The iOS call it the blue collar side of bobsled. These sleds weigh upwards of 400 pounds. We’re moving them, we have to learn how to flip them.

We have to learn how to move them on ice, we have to load them, put them on their scabbers, take them to the garage. We are doing all of that. Then, we get to the garage, you better bring snacks, you’ve got to get ready to be in there for hours. The pilots are good at what they do, because they are so particular.

Particular is the only word I can think of. They are very specific about what goes into the sled, and you’re talking like thousands, and thousands, and thousands of dollars worth of these runners that you put on the sled. God forbid, I hold that runner like it’s a newborn baby.

You do not let that runner touch anything other than your hands, and all that. It’s like the blue collar, get dirty moving sleds, sanding runners. You’re spending hours sanding runners with your pilot, which is all stuff that I didn’t even really know, but as tedious and maybe not fun. It can be if you don’t bring your snacks.

I love it. You’re bonding with your pilots, you’re bonding with the other teammates. It sucks sometimes if you’re after a long day of training want to get home and eat dinner, go to sleep. It can be that tedious task that you have to do, but I enjoyed it. [laughs]

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (45)David Tao

That’s the most strength athlete thing I’ve ever heard, by the way. It’s like well, the snacks. We got to talk about snacks here. Snacks are very important part of this process.

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (46)Kelsey Kiel

I get hungry, and it’s so real. If I don’t have a protein bar and other things with me, my patience goes down.

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (47)David Tao

What is your actual in-gym training? You talked a lot about your track training, working with a coach and working on sprint mechanics. What is your in-gym training these days? The barbell is your friend. I see you’re using a barbell a lot. What kind of stuff are you prioritizing now?

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (48)Kelsey Kiel

I was lucky enough that when I stopped working with Justin on the CrossFit, because that’s just not what I need to focus on right now, and moving into working with the track and field coach. He was willing to give me some strength programming, that pairs well with the programming he’s given me for sprinting and pushing.

We focus a lot on the explosive movements. A lot of the Olympic lifts, but majority of them are power. I’ve swapped lead in a squat snatch. I’m working on moving that bar quickly and explosively. Same thing with the back squats and the front squats and that type of thing.

Usually pairing that with explosive weighted step-up, or med-ball throws, or other kinds of things to continue to drill that explosiveness, box jumps, those type of things. It’s fun, and what I was realizing and reflecting on the other day was that there’s a purpose for everything, every coach, has a purpose with what they’re doing.

He kicks my butt with my sprint training in the morning, and then I go home and I eat a snack. Then, I go to my lift in the afternoon. My energy systems are so taxed from that sprint session, that it’s so different than when with CrossFit. There’s something about going from a sprint session into lift that I have to focus so much more on my core and on things like that. It’s crazy.

Some things that I have to do even five-by-three hang snatch. I’m hitting like 40 percent because I’m so taxed, but I want to keep it explosive. It’s cool to see that, instead of going off of actual percentages, which can be good and bad if I’m going in and don’t feel like I can hit that percentage having going off of how you feel and maybe more of an RP type of thing is nice too. It’s been cool to reflect on that kind of thing. He knows that I love my lifting, so he keeps that in the programming, for sure. [laughs]

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (49)David Tao

Let this be a lesson to everyone. Sprinting is tough. If you’ve never trained in sprinting, there’s a difference between going out and running fast and truly sprinting and learning the sport of sprinting. It’s a different beast.

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (50)Kelsey Kiel

I also have an anterior pelvic tilt. He gets on me about keeping my rib cage down and getting that core activated. First of all, the warm ups he puts me through take an hour. My whoop has me out like a 12 strain in the warm up. I haven’t even sprinted yet. It’s been very taxing like you said. [laughs]

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (51)David Tao

Kelsey, I appreciate you joining us and giving some insight. You’re still very much in that very steep learning curve. I should say, what, crest, you’re in that crest right now?

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (52)Kelsey Kiel

Going over the crest right now.

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (53)David Tao

You’re going over the crest. That’s where I love analogies.

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (54)Kelsey Kiel

It’s great.

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (55)David Tao

Where’s the best place for folks to follow along with you, your training, as the season progresses, competitions?

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (56)Kelsey Kiel

Totally. I am mostly on Instagram. It’s @kelskiel. I’m active on there. I have thought maybe I would start a blog up again, but that’s to be determined. Instagram for now.

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (57)David Tao

You’re a strength athlete. People are used to Instagram. It’s cool. Hit that follow or if you want to apparently, if people want to recruit you for a new sport, just slide into the DMs.

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (58)Kelsey Kiel

Let me know.

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (59)David Tao

Kelsey, thanks so much for joining us today. I enjoyed getting to chat with you.

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (60)Kelsey Kiel

Thank you.

How to Train for Elite Explosiveness (w/Kelsey Kiel) | BarBend (2024)

FAQs

How do you train for explosiveness? ›

If you aim to boost lower body explosiveness, consider incorporating plyometric exercises such as box jumps, broad jumps, tuck jumps, or other vertical jump variations into your workout routine. Additionally, exercises like kettlebell cleans and snatches are effective options.

How many sets and reps for explosive power? ›

Generally, explosive exercises should be performed with lower repetitions (3-6 reps) and more sets (3-5 sets) to allow for maximum power output during each movement.

How often should you do contrast training? ›

Finally, consider that contrast training is very taxing on the nervous system, so it should seldom be performed more than twice a week (with ideally two days rest between training sessions) to avoid overtraining. Using this type of training once every five days or just once a week may be the best approach.

Should I lift heavy for explosiveness? ›

Explosive movement and light-weight training have been shown to be more effective for developing explosive power than heavy-weight training.

What improves explosiveness? ›

Standard explosive training uses large muscle movements such as squats, power cleans, weighted or unweighted vertical jumps, heavy ball throws, or even hill sprinting. Smaller muscle exercises like bench presses or pushups can also build power but will limit the overall results of those muscle groups.

What are the negatives of contrast therapy? ›

It could also cause a heart arrhythmia. Contrast bath therapy isn't safe for every condition. It's important to talk to your doctor or healthcare provider before you try contrast hydrotherapy, especially if you're thinking of immersing most of your body.

What is the Russian contrast method? ›

Contrast training was developed by Soviet sports scientists in the 1960s and involves alternating between heavy resistance exercises and explosive or plyometric exercises.

Can you build muscle with contrast training? ›

The good news is there is a training method that can help build strength, power, speed, agility, fitness, and muscle mass all at the same time – French Contrast Training, or FCT for short. In this article, we explain why and how to do French Contrast Training and provide you with an FCT workout program to follow.

How to improve quickness and explosiveness? ›

7 VertiMax Exercises to Improve Explosiveness and Power
  1. Lateral High-Step. ...
  2. Repetitive Long Jumps. ...
  3. Paused Squat Jump. ...
  4. Three-Point Start. ...
  5. Palm-Loaded Standing Vertical. ...
  6. Single Response Max Vertical Jump. ...
  7. Two Leg Single-Response Long Jump.

How to get explosive legs? ›

Here are six great exercises for explosive leg strength that you can try out today.
  1. Box Jumps. Box jumps are a classic exercise for explosive leg strength, and for good reason. ...
  2. Squat Jumps. Squat jumps are another great exercise that focus on explosive power. ...
  3. Bulgarian Split Squats. ...
  4. Deadlifts. ...
  5. Lunges. ...
  6. Plyometric Lunges.

How do you build explosive strength for fighting? ›

If you're still anxious about doing the said derivatives, here are alternatives to Olympic lifts that you can try even without wearing a lifting belt:
  1. Medicine Ball Hang Clean‍ For any level. ...
  2. Explosive Tire Flips. For intermediate level. ...
  3. Barbell Power Jumps. For advanced level. ...
  4. Barbell Squat. ...
  5. Romanian Deadlift.

How do you test for explosiveness? ›

The test consists of two-parts: performing a typical broad jump hands-free, and performing a broad jump with the hand placed on the hips. Measure the length of each jump and compare performance by calculating the percentage as follows: (Typical Broad Jump/Broad Jump Hands on Hips) x 100.

How to develop explosive legs? ›

Using single-leg accelerated or decelerated movements will have a direct effect on improving overall game speed, maneuverability, and an increase in functional strength.
  1. Jumping split squats.
  2. Lateral squats.
  3. Pistol squats.
  4. Weighted step-up movements.
  5. Reverse/Forward lunges.
  6. Bulgarian squats.
  7. Walking lunges.

References

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