Thought I’d share a few thoughts on power training with you; I’ve always been a fan of this form of training for its uplifting (or dare I say it, ‘empowering’) qualities!
There are many ways to define power, however from a gym perspective power can be considered as your ability to generate a large volume of force in a short period of time. This force is generally used to overcome an external force; whether it’s gravity in relation to our bodyweight or a weighted object that we are holding/pulling. What defines your power is how quickly you can overcome those forces just mentioned.
This is relevant to not only the athlete but also the average client. Numerous studies have linked power acquisition to improved strength levels, so for a person that wants to improve their chin-ups or perform a squat that’s one or two times their body weight that’s an important point to note. By training our muscles to move quickly, we increase the excitability of our motor neurons, which engages more muscle fibres to contract more quickly, particularly as they come out of the stretch reflex cycle.
My number one tip for power acquisition is this. Your nervous system is highly adaptive; if you train your muscles slowly, they will perform slowly every time. So regardless of how much weight you’re pushing, if you’re not moving quickly don’t bother moving at all!
My top 3 power exercises:
Power cleans: this is an advanced movement, but one that is worthwhile investing time into learning. It represents the perfect blend of speed and strength acquisition.
Split jumps on a box: this exercise creates a safer environment for your client to push themselves as hard as possible during plyometrics, without exposing them to the high impacts that come with other forms of plyometrics.
Squat jumps in a suspension trainer: adding a small active pull against the handles while jumping will give you an extra 10-15% in speed of movement and therefore height. The use of over speed training has been around for some time, and these jump squats are an easy way to apply this methodology. The theory of forcing muscles to move quicker than humanly possible encourages the motor neurons to re-wire and adapt to the new found speed of movement and ultimately creating a more power for you.
If you love power training then my book is a must for you, check it out via the red button below.
Tristan Hill, Masters of Sports Coaching, author of Lifting the Bar and mentor to Personal Trainers.