“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.