Safely “Increase Explosive Power” at Impact with the Hulk Up Technique

Gino Benetti

Gino Benetti

Athlete Performance Specialist
Youth, High School, College and NFL

Literature Review

On helmet to helmet impact discovered by tensing the neck the striking player recruits a greater amount of mass from the torso because of a better coupling of the head/neck and torso when compare to an un-tensed neck player (25).

A biomechanically based assessment suggests that bracing of the abdominal muscles provides greater lumbar spine stability (37). For “explosive power” movement to occur anywhere in the body force must be transferred through the core. (36)

The Valsalva Maneuver, a natural technique designed to assist the body to get into maximal effort (48). By quickly inhaling air and holding the breath for activities of short duration (49), this helps to increase intra-thoracic and intra-abdominal pressure (47) and transfers force generated by the muscles through the object being effected (33).

The Hulk Up Technique

Works by shrugging (rising) the shoulders and contracting the neck muscles prior to impact. This stiffens or tenses the neck while increasing neck stabilization or coupling with the torso by seating the lateral edges of the helmet into the collar of the shoulder pads, putting the shoulders pads in a raised configuration. Like the Hans Device (32) in auto racing keeps the head/neck inline and stabilized with the torso, this stronger coupling of the neck and torso has proven to be effective in transferring energy to the much stronger shoulders, chest, back and torso.

front_relaxed Hulk Up


Hulk Up Hans Device

Safely Increasing Explosive Power at Impact

The Hulk Up Technique “increases explosive power” because tensing of the neck creates a stronger and safer coupling of the head/neck with the torso (24, 25, 31) and transfers a greater amount of mass at impact (25).

The Hulk Up Technique further “increases explosive power” by incorporating bracing a critical component used in power lifting which contracts both anterior abdominal muscles and low back muscles at same time, “like preparing to get hit in the stomach.” Bracing activates all three layers of the abdominal wall, improving both stability and performance (38) and stabilizing the spine transfers movement through the core. (33)

The Hulk Up Technique combined with bracing and the Valsalva Maneuver can enable a player to better transfer the force generated by the muscles through the opponent at impact (33). The Valsalva Maneuver utilizes the act of briefly holding a small quick breath of air just prior to and through the impact effort (51). Often this followed by a grunt which can help with a player’s “explosive power”, grunts are air being forced out of the lungs after a brief Valsalva Maneuver (50).

The Valsalva Manuever applied properly for a brief burst of 2.5 seconds, can be the greatest single producer of an instantaneous explosion in force, speed and strength known in science. (48)

The Valsalva Maneuver is frequently used safely as a natural function of the body to increase strength, but it is only held for two to three seconds (48). Think about opening a jar with a tight lid after the first attempt fails. On second attempt, intensity is increase to turn hard with maximal effort that is the Valsalva Manuever (48). In football Valsava Manuever “increases explosive power” and help a player from breaking on a ball to making a tackle (48).

Although the body is designed for the Valsalva Maneuver it needs to be trained on how and when to deploy the technique (48). Like many techniques, this one is so powerful that it can cause harm it is VERY IMPORTANT coaches fully understand the Valsalva Maneuver before instructing players. (48)

In conclusion the Hulk Up Technique effectively enhances a player’s fundamental mechanics of offense and defense enabling him to ultimately Play SAFER and BETTER Football.

Note – the Hulk Up Technique, bracing and the Valsalva Maneuver can ALL be trained properly and developed in the weight room.

advocate_redemer“I would like to encourage coaches to evaluate the “Hulk Up” technique. Our linemen immediately felt safer and were able to play with greater force through the point of contact. I highly endorse the “Hulk-Up” technique.”
Justin Redemer
Head Football Coach Hayward HS, Hayward CA
Former Lineman Wake Forest University

To Play SAFER and BETTER Football”
Head Up – Eyes Up – HULK UP!

The Football Safety Academy acknowledges the coach has the responsibility to decide which football techniques should be taught for the well being and safety of his players and there is not one specific technique including the Hulk Up Technique or safety device that can completely eliminate the risk of injury from impacts related to football including catastrophic injury and death. To the knowledge of the Football Safety Academy no specific research has been done regarding the Hulk Up Technique, however the Football Safety Academy is actively pursuing this goal.