Become a Bullet: What is Ballistic Training?

By Pedro Candeias     |     4 min reading


Have you ever seen a strange guy at the gym throwing the Smith Machine bar into the air with light weights or jumping after a squat because he wanted to fly with just a few kilos on the bar?

Why isn’t this guy lifting heavy weights to show everyone in the gym how “strong” he is? That’s what all men do, right? Especially when there are beautiful girls around 🙂

I’ll tell you why: he’s probably a karate athlete who knows exactly what ballistic training is and its importance for developing speed and power!!!

That’s right, follow that guy and do what he does: mix ballistic training with plyometric exercises, maximum strength, endurance strength, etc. All of these are crucial for you to become a faster and healthier karateka.

All you need to know is how to use them in your classes and workouts.

Most karate movements and actions are ballistic, aren’t they?

They are fast movements that go at full speed until the end.

Ballistic training is essentially used to improve the Speed dimension of Power.

When you perform “Traditional” Power Training with light loads (so you can improve the speed of movement), the speed of your movement decreases long before its end.

That happens because you have to hold the bar or dumbbells, right? And you know what? When you practice those quick “traditional” Power exercises with lighter loads, your neuromuscular system starts to slow down your movement before the end!

In this way, you are not fully stimulating your muscular Power!

Ballistic Training solves this problem! Instead of doing a quick squat (on the way up), you do a jump with maximum speed and height; instead of doing a quick bench press, you throw the bar as fast and high as you can.

Simple, right?

This is Ballistic Training… don’t slow down the movement at the end;
take off your feet from the ground or throw the bar or medicine ball and catch it again (or you can do several exercises with a partner or a wall).

This way, you can achieve much higher levels of concentric Power and speed. And your Karate will become much, much more Explosive.

But, should you rely exclusively on Ballistic Training? Of course not…

First, you must prepare your muscles and tendons (and other anatomical structures) to withstand ballistic exercises. Because it demands your maximum effort and can cause injuries to weaker body structures.

Start with “Traditional” Strength/Power Training and low to moderate intensity plyometric exercises…


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