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Hero Status: The Spiderman Workout

by Jeremey DuVall on October 23, 2012
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Welcome to the first installment of Hero Status, a series designed to help you build the characteristics of your favorite superheroes. To kickstart this series, we’re covering the Spiderman workout, a hero known for his incredible ability to vault through the night sky snatching up villains. While it’s unlikely that you’ll get hit with a gamma bomb and turn into the Hulk as a result, proper training methods in the gym can give you the edge over your buddies and give you superhumanesque abilities and traits.

You’ve seen him on the movie screen catapulting from building to building hanging by a single thread. While you probably won’t be able to shoot web from your palm, you can develop some spidey-like ups to impress your buds both on the basketball court and in the gym (red suit not required). The key to having better hops is increasing both strength and explosiveness. In the comic series, Peter Parker assumes his superpowers through being bit by a spider. For you, it may take a few more weeks of work and more than a couple sweat sessions in the gym.

The Spiderman Workout: Starting With Strength

spiderman workout

Being that jumping is a lower body move, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that you need a good amount of lower body strength in order to jump higher. The core of your program should be exercises like squats, deadlifts, and lunges, all exercises that can develop insane amounts of strength. Baseline fitness and strength are prerequisites for any explosive moves. Do yourself a favor and master the basics before moving faster.

Since the premise of this post is about developing explosive power, I’m not going to spend much time outlining how to build strength. However, I will say that in order to maximize your jumping ability, you should aim for at least 1-1.5 times your bodyweight for back squat and 1.5-2 times for deadlift. With those strength numbers under your belt, you should be prepared to give plyometrics and other explosive moves a go.

It’s also important to note that core strength is essential for both producing and absorbing force throughout any explosive move. The core is the foundation for transferring strength from the lower body to the upper body so it’s imperative for your success. Along with the lower body moves, incorporate challenging core exercises like roll-outs and standing planks while holding a cable.

The Spiderman Workout: Superhero Plyometrics

spiderman workout

Plyometrics refers to any explosive move where force is generated rapidly. Box jumps are perhaps the most commonly used and well-known plyometric variation, but there are many variations to choose from. Becoming better at plyometrics hinges on your ability to generate impulses very quickly that stimulate muscle contractions. They require more than just brute strength; they require neuromuscular coordination. Don’t worry, your ability to jump higher doesn’t hinge on the definition of scientific terms. It does mean that speed and coordination are key. When performing explosive moves, the key is speed.

It’s important to note that plyometrics induce a different type of fatigue than your typical muscle-building workouts. You likely won’t feel the same pump, and your muscles won’t be hanging on for dear life at the end of the workout. Don’t confuse this with a wimpy workout. You’ll likely feel more mentally tired and drained. In fact, to maintain proper form and the right amount of intensity, plyometric workouts require longer than normal rest times in between sets. Instead of the traditional 60-90 seconds, you’ll be taking roughly three minutes before repeating the set. This amount of rest time is crucial to ensure that you aren’t sandbagging any of the sets by giving 70%. Focusing on giving it your all during each rep, and you’ll need the entire rest time before repeating the effort.

The Spiderman Workout

spiderman workout

To get your spidey-like ups, perform the following workout 2-3 times a week with at least a day in between. The workout consists of both plyometrics, traditional strength exercises, and a variety of core moves. Also hidden within the lifts are moves like farmer’s walks that will help to give you spiderman-esque grip strength. Make sure these lifts are heavy in order to challenge the grip and the core all together.

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Jeremey DuVall
Deliverer of happiness at @Automattic. Awesome high-fiver. Outdoor enthusiast. Lover of coffee and craft beer.

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