Tag Archives: power
Is that weight too heavy for you?
A solid question, however the answer is not always the easiest thing to ascertain.
The other day I saw a cracking little video that displayed some new tech available on an app to measure bar speed.
I know right, it’s pretty cool.
Back in the day you could only track this with some elaborate contraption or a rather costly tend unit, now though we have a whole host of tool available for the cost of a mere tuppence, yay for technology.
All you need do is type in ‘Bar speed tracking app’ on the google’s and boom, endless options.
So, bar speed.
Do you know what it should be?
Based on the collective data (mostly from weightlifters) you want to me moving the bar at 0.8m/s to achieve optimal rates of force development.
*m/s=meters per second
Depending on what info you read and the context that comes with it you may see the bar speed range being 0.6-0.8m/s, however you’d do far better to aim for 0.8m/s.
Hitting this every rep would mean a high level of motor unit recruitment, a decent amount of muscle fibres hit (1,2 a/b etc), you can also find a lot of this linked in with the older work of Dr Squat (Dr Fred Hatfield, a great mind and damn strong lifter).
Tracking you bar speed and trying to keep in the 0.6-0.8m/s will yield some rather positive results because it means the loads are optimal.
How can this help you understand/track your strength?
As you get stronger you may find that in a set of say 6 reps at the start it looks like this:
That shows the loads was just about right, if the reps had dropped below the 0.6m/s, while you could have ground out the reps you’d be actively making yourself slower.
Louis Simmons of WSBB compares it to, Tow Truck VS Ferrari, one is slow and constant,the other is powerful, worth digging in to.
Back to the point.
If you get stronger over time the above set of 6 may end up looking like this:
Give the higher velocity overall adding some load to the bar would be useful.
How much load?
For arbitrary purposes I’d say one that takes off about 10% of your bar speed, so if it topped out at 0.9m/s about, then that would take the average down to about 0.8m/s again, you get the idea.
*Of course the opposite to the above is also relevant, if you can’t maintain bar speed then you should lower the load by around 10%, just as a starting point.
We have all these lovely tools at our disposal.
First things first though, know how to use them because once you do you’ll find your programming knowledge shoots through the roof.
There you go, a basic breakdown.
This is a massive topic and one that is well worth your time delving in to.
Any questions, pop them down below.
“I need more power…..” – Vergil
Me too man, me too.
Most people use that word, yet it does not mean what they think it means.
Some thing power is strength, and while they’re not entirely wrong, it’s not what they think.
How can you best describe power with one question, well if I had to it would be with this one:
Do you ever train to get faster?
I should more specifically say to improve your overall power output in each of your main lifts or sporting endeavours.
To the majority this will be a resounding no, sadly.
While there are many ways to build some good old fashioned power, before we can delve in to that we must first understand what it actually is.
First you need to understand Force.
Force = Mass x Acceleration
In simple terms, it’s the maximum energy you can transition into an object or max force/torque (rotational force) that a muscle can create.
Think of a max deadlift, you need a lot of force to lift it.
Next up you have Work.
Work = Force x Distance
Basically, it’s how much energy is effectively being used to move something.
If linked in with a max DL it is high force, high work time as it’s a slow lift.
Knowing these leads us to the much sought in sport, Power.
Power = Work/ time
Power is the rate of energy consumed in a unit of time.
Essentially transitioning force into something practical really quickly, like a barbell snatch for example, high force at a high velocity (as much as can be produced in as short a time as possible). Unlike the max deadlift (high force, slow speed).
You will often hear of people claiming to perhaps do power based movements, yet they are done rather slowly, or slow by power standards anyway.
Typically power movements in lifting related tasks move on average more than 1 (or more)Meters per second.
Depending on what it is you’re doing this will change and you’ll need to investigate the norms required for your sport to be considered fairly comparable.
So in regards to hoisting the iron, how can we train power?
Now that is a good question.
The heaviest load you can lift without losing your desired rate of ‘meters per second’ would be the cop out answer, even though it’s true.
To give an objective answer a lot of detail will be needed, however you’ll find anywhere from 30-50% of your 1RM is often the common recommendation.
Some even say as specific as 78% of 1RM because if that goes up you’re getting it all just about right, however you can do some digging and come to your own conclusions.
Then you get asked about sets, reps and rest….
My advise, 1-5 reps, rest until you feel recovered and do as many sets as you can before you lose speed in your movements (same for reps too if I;m honest).
If you wish to delve in to just how deep this goes then you’ll enjoy this:
If you’re not someone who wants to do all the maths then here are some exercises that you can easily apply to help you achieve the above.
– Kettlebell Swings, Snatches, Jerks
– Barbell Clean & Jerk, Clean, Jerk, Snatch
– Plyometric Training (feet & hands)
– Throwing (light objects)
Of these I’d be comfortable recommending these two for any/all levels.
– Kettlebell Swing
– Medicine Ball Pass/Throw/Slam
These will get most people in the right ways and are easy to teach/learn.
You can put this in to a session like this for example:
A1 – Kettlebell Swing x3-5
A2 – Medicine Ball Pass/Throw/Slam x3-5
– Rest up to 5min (go when ready)
– Up to 15 sets of each.
^^ Regarding weights, if you’re not a beginner then 32kg bells and 5kg balls.
I recently read ‘Plyometric Training, by Yessis & Hatfield’ it’s worth your time if improving your speed/power is a goal.
If you’ve never given much thought to the above yet are no beginner then you may find adding in some Plyo work such as explosive press ups, broad jumps and rope slams very useful for helping you realise your latent power.
You’ll also find that power style training seems easy.
Since the TUT is often minimal the DOMS are non-existent, however they can still take it out of you and once you have lost speed it’s time to call it a day in your training.
Give the above some thought because this could be the missing link in your training.
“If you’re not assessing you’re guessing”
A good quote many would benefit from remembering.
When it comes to programming any form of training there is a large amount of people that do it blind.
This means they jump in head first without first assessing the basic strength, ability or condition of their trainees, it’s a shocking state of affairs.
While you may indeed get away with this if your clients are exclusively bodybuilders, this sort of behaviour won’t cut it with people who are interested in performance or strength. The chances of success are about the same as hitting a fish in a barrel with no fish in it.
So what tests do you have?
- RM Test (squat, bench, deadlift are the classics)
- Vo2 Max Test (1.5 mile run for example is often used)
- ROM Testing (movement/flexibility can be FMS or other)
That’s essentially it for most people, and something all coaches/trainers should do, yet many don’t.
You literally have endless tests you can perform, however they will differ depending on the overall goal of the client.
If you’re looking at some options I will share with you what I use (keep in mind most people I see are after strength and/or performance progress).
RM Test – 1,3 or 5 reps
- Power Clean
- Press or Push Press (goal dependent)
- Weighted Chin with Half Body Weight
- Farmers Walk with Body Weight
- Standing Broad Jump
The above give a good gauge of where the athlete is in regards to relative strength/power (Say I’m working with a sprinter, ideally they are hitting a 2xBW squat for 5 and 1.5xBW on the power clean, meaning they have optimal lower body strength/power)
Vo2 Test – Sport Specific
- Example: 40 yard dash
- Example: Watt Bike Test
- Example: 2k Row
- FMS (functional Movement Screen)
That’s essentially it.
This gives me a good idea of a persons level of strength, power, fitness and overall movement capabilities.
While a little different than what you may need, it’s worth remembering that having these is essential for good programming and progress.
Always assess, never guess.
A question was asked yesterday about what exactly a Daily Max is meant to be, today will be the answer to that question.
The term daily max is often used by Power Lifters and Strength Athletes and is in reference to building up to a kinda max for the day. There is little need to worry about percentages and it’s based on how you FEEL for that day.
This was popular in Russia and other similar countries and it’s also worth knowing that the Westside Conjugate Method is based on this principle so you know where to look for proof of its effectiveness.
Another trait of the daily max is that it doesn’t mean you have to go for 1 rep, the max for that day could be 3,5 or even 8 if you’re hard core. Maxing out daily might seem counter intuitive because for most people working at 90% or above of your actual 1RM for more than 3 weeks will literally destroy their CNS but a daily max doesn’t have to be based on one of the big 3 lifts; you can use any lift you like.
If you’re looking for a recommendation using any number of reps other than 1 is the way forwards because it’s often safer. The sam is true for exercise variation, but here is an example of a typical week for you:
Monday: 3rep DM – Front Squat
Tuesday: 6rep DM – Incline Press
Wednesday: 8rep DM – Good Morning/Box Squat
Thursday: 2rep DM – Comp Style Bench
Friday: 2rep DM – Comp Style Squat
Saturday: 5rep DM – Snatch Grip Deadlift
A daily max is a great way to keep your body accustomed to lifting heavy and being ready for a big lift. Use it to bring up your weaknesses so that your strengths become even stronger.