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SURGE® Training for Explosive Power

The SURGE® Storm training approach is based on neuromuscular and proprioceptive training. Athletes, as well as active youth and adults, must develop the physical tools that support skill execution. SURGE® Hydro Training represents whole body, integrated training and contributes to optimal power expression by training elements of strength, reactivity, stabilization and speed.  

Building Power with Water

The key is that you’ll be using a relatively light load that is unstable, reactive and unpredictable — the water in the SURGE® Storm. Less load is generally better, especially when developing power, as speed + strength = power output. Plus, if you fill the Storm to its full capacity, the reactivity qualities of water are largely lost and you’ve really created a fixed weight of 40 lbs. or 60 lbs. Less is better when using SURGE® Hydro Training products. 

Bottom line, to develop power, you’re lifting “something challenging,” quickly. It is important to train explosive acceleration as well as deceleration. If you can’t control the movement, you won’t optimize power development. Coaches like to say, when emphasizing deceleration, “You can’t go fast, unless you know how to stop.” That means, be sure to prioritize deceleration training. Remember, most injuries occur during the deceleration phase — stopping or changing direction — of movement. 

SURGE® Storm training introduces whole-body instability in multi-planar movement that your body must react to and control. In turn, this teaches your body how to stabilize and position in a timely manner (reactivity), whether joint specific or total body. 

Key Point: Emphasizing and maintaining proper positioning and optimal movement mechanics leads to performance improvements and high-power output.

Benefits of Training Power with Water

  • Unstable SURGE® Storm resistance exercises require relatively greater trunk and joint muscle activation, which translates to greater stabilizing function
  • Instability resistance training exercises can also provide training adaptations for coordination and other motor control issues, which have performance implications for any level athlete or fitness enthusiast
  • Accessory training and instability resistance training result in a win-win whether you simply want to get fit, perform better in your sport, avoid injury, lift heavier weights or increase power capability 
  • An important aspect of accessory training exercises and equipment is to lift, or train, with submaximal loads to a) off-load the body for recovery from heavy lifting protocols, and to b) simultaneously increase total body stability, body control, and/or to practice similar movement patterns under lighter loading that transfer well to traditional lifts or sport movements 

In other words, if you can improve your balance, reactivity and stability capabilities, then strength, power and performance will improve! 

Building Explosive Speed and Power

Athleticism requires a foundation built upon acceleration, deceleration, mobility, stability, rotation, balance, integrated whole body coordination, reactivity, motor control, strength and power. Arguably, of these, I believe the most important to train is power expression. 

Building explosive speed, strength and power relies on: 

  • Multi-directional movement capability
  • Controlled movement before explosive movement
  • Unloaded movement before loaded movement
  • Correct take-off and landing skills
  • Agility
  • Plyometrics
  • Sound movement fundamentals
  • Timing and rhythm

Try the following SURGE® Storm exercises to improve power and reactivity:

Rotary Hip Block

Grip: Neutral

Water Action: Oscillate

Stand, holding the SURGE® Storm with neutral grip to the side of one hip. Rotating the hips and pivoting the foot, swing the Storm across the body and over the opposite shoulder. Repeat for 8 – 10 reps, then repeat on the other side. 

Squat & Overhead Thrust

Grip: Neutral

Water Action: Crash 

Stand, holding the SURGE® Storm with neutral grip in front of the chest. Lower into a squat while pulling the elbows down toward the knees. Extend back to standing and thrust the Storm overhead, crashing the water at the top of the motion. Repeat for 8 – 10 reps.

Clean & Split Lunge Lateral Dump 

Grip: Neutral

Water Action: Dump

Stand, holding the SURGE® Storm with neutral grip in front of the chest. Lower the Storm to the floor, then pull to the shoulders with a “clean” motion. Jump to a lunge position and simultaneously rotate the Storm to the outside of the front leg, letting the water dump. Jump back to start position and repeat the sequence, lunging and dumping the water to the opposite side. Alternate sides for 8 – 10 reps. 

Under & Over Lateral Shuffle

Grip: Underhand & Overhand End Grip

Water Action: Oscillate

Stand with the SURGE® Storm centered in a vertical position on the floor, hands on the end caps. Shuffle laterally, tilting the Storm down to the floor, with the outside hand in an underhand grip. When the Storm is horizontal on the floor, quickly pull it up and shuffle laterally to the opposite side. Repeat the lateral shuffle with an overhand grip, crossing one arm diagonally while lowering the Storm. Alternate sides for 8 – 10 reps with each grip. 


Douglas Brooks, MS, Exercise Physiologist, is the Director of Programming for Hedstrom Fitness, BOSU® and SURGE®. The former Kona Ironman® triathlete directed Athlete Conditioning for Sugar Bowl Ski Academy for 8-years, working with elite junior and professional athletes. Douglas was inducted into the U.S. National Fitness Hall of Fame and has been honored by Can-Fit-Pro as the International Presenter of the Year. Coach Brooks is the author of numerous fitness education books, and was the recipient of the IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year Award.