Power is the (literal) driving force behind any fitness goal you may have. To nail a big deadlift, you need vicious pulling power from the floor, and if you want a large chest, well, you better be able to push a lot of heavy weight for a ton of explosive reps. Even if you want to school your buddies in a pickup game, stronger leg drive leads to higher hops, quicker cuts, and a faster break down the middle. Power movements also burn more calories, namely from a metabolic response called EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). When working hard, your body uses quick, ready-to-use energy to meet the demands of the exercise, and, as a result, you burn more calories over a 24- to 48-hour period, consuming oxygen to help you recover.

The problem is that a lot of the moves that build the most power—namely, barbell clean and jerks and snatches—require precise technique, more than most ordinary Joes can muster. Combine lackluster form with a moderate-to-heavy load, and your average gym rat cleaning a bar up to a front rack position from the floor is putting his knee, hip, and shoulder joints at serious risk. And if you’re already injured and trying these, then you’re really asking for it.

This following list of moves riffs on the classic exercises you need to build envy-inducing power but are designed to be joint-friendly. The mechanics of the moves will stay the same, but you’ll utilize different equipment and slightly vary your angles to put your joints in a safer and more advantageous position. An example: Pushing weight in front of you at a 45-degree angle versus directly overhead isn’t as taxing on your elbow and shoulder. (Check out the landmine jerk.) So whether you’re staving off injury or working around an existing impediment, you can make yourself that much more explosive without the risk.