Training for Power

This particular article focuses on the most significant neuromuscular utility in many sport actions, the ability to produce maximal muscular power. Power can be interpreted as the devoted force multiplied by the rapidity of movement. As work is the result of the force and the distance carried, and velocity is the distance moved divided by the duration of movement, power can similarly be conveyed as work completed for each unit of time. Power yield for one can encompass anywhere between fifty Watts, fashioned during light cycling or jogging, to roughly seven thousand Watts, created during the second stage of the pull for the clean in weightlifting. The capacity to burst out of the wedges as the gun discharges, leap above a bar 2.45 metres in height, dodge an adversary by swiftly shifting direction, snatch 2.5 times one’s body mass, or propel a golf ball well over 300 metres are all extraordinary acts of maximal power. As can be seen, power applies to the majority of sports to some degree.

This beckons the question, how does one target power development? Well, usage of slow-velocity, heavy resistance training for the progression of maximal power is reasonable on the grounds that power is equivalent to the result of the force and velocity of the muscle movement. While such thought is sustained by research concerning untrained subjects over short-term training, it does not contribute to trained athletes who have formed a solid base of strength. If one is to capitalise on developments in power performance in such athletes, then one must train together the force and velocity mechanisms. Since the range of motion is typically fixed by one’s joints, velocity is established by the time reserved to execute the movement. For that reason, if one trains using techniques that cut the time over which the movement is formed, one increases the power production.

Approaches for developing power include heavy resistance training (in agreement with the power necessities of the sport), ballistic training (which should constitute a substantial percentage of the training volume), plyometrics, and weightlifting.


  • Heavy Resistance Training

To be powerful, one must correspondingly be appropriately strong in the actions requiring high power manifestation. This connection becomes more undeviating as the power necessities of the precise sport gain larger emphasis. As a universal rule, one should be capable of producing three times the muscle pressure required during the genuine performance. This matches the statement that the neuromuscular structure can yield the highest power output when it is working with a weight of circa 30% maximal strength. In the same manner with a sport for which a high vertical jump is fundamental (i.e., volleyball or basketball), one should be sufficiently strong enough to squat with a capacity totalling two times his or her body mass on the barbell. That is to say, when athletes are bounding with no peripheral load, they are exerting effort equivalent to 30% of their all-out strength. In spite of the fact that the use of heavy resistance training is crucial to the growth of strength and power, additional improvement in maximal power entails the contribution of other, more specific movement configurations.


  • Ballistic Resistance Training

Ballistic activities (jump squat, bench throw, etc.) remove any slowing phase by demanding one to accelerate throughout the complete range of motion to the point of take-off or release (depending on the movement). Due to the absence of any inhibition on the part of the athlete, concentric swiftness, power, and muscle stimulation are greater than those produced during a comparable old-fashioned exercise for resistance training. These movements are characteristically performed across a selection of loading circumstances (i.e., 0% to 80% of one rep maximum) grounded on the particular exercise utilised and the necessities of the sport. It may be valuable to execute a heavy set (80%) precisely before a lighter set (0%) due to the post-activation potentiation outcome. Another technique is to carry out one light and one heavy day rather than to mix weights within a training session.

  • Plyometrics

Plyometrics are an exercise modality concerning exercises in which one executes speedy stretch-shortening movements. A considerable portion of exercises are classified as such, comprising an array of unilateral and bilateral catch-throw, press-up, leaping, vaulting, and jumping variants. Characteristically, they are performed with little to no external resistance as overload is added by enhancing the stretch rate (reducing the duration of the stretch-shortening cycle) or the stretch load (extending the height of a drop throughout depth jumps). The nature of the exercise can be tailored to meet specific individual needs. Similar to ballistic movements, plyometrics are speculated to bring about explicit adaptations in neural drive, activation configurations, and inter-muscular mastery that expands the rate of force development. As a result, plyometric-based exercises are a vital component to a successful training programme tailored to enhancing force production in a specific movement.


  • Weightlifting

Olympic weightlifting movements (termed the snatch, and the clean and jerk) and their offshoots (namely the power clean, hang clean, power snatch, hang snatch, high pull, hang pull, and push press) are ordinarily integrated into power training programmes. These exercises call for one to accelerate throughout the whole propulsive phase, causing the thrust of the barbell (and every so often, the body,) into the air. The innate high-force, high-velocity essence of weightlifting actions creates the capacity for these exercises to yield large power outputs across a diversity of loading settings. For instance, power output has frequently been found to be highest at loads corresponding to 70% to 80% of maximal effort in weightlifting actions. The pure skill complexity concerning such movements, along with the use of hefty loads, are posited to stimulate unique neuromuscular alterations that allow for improved rate of force development.

As can be seen, the use of a variety of training methods (high load, slow velocity with low load, high velocity) is best, and then specific training phases are realised with recurrent follow-up testing. Only with these steps can one continue to elicit gains in power performance.

  • Baechle, Thomas R., and Roger W. Earle. “Speed, Agility, and Speed-Endurance Development.” NSCA Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning. 2nd Edition. Champaign, Illinois: Human Kinetics, 2008. 473-480.
  • Hoffman, Jay. “Power Training.” NSCA’s Guide to Program Design. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2012. 95-117.
  • Rippetoe, Mark, Lon Kilgore, and Glenn Pendlay. “Understanding Training Goals.” Practical Programming for Strength Training. Second Edition. Wichita Falls, Texas: Aasgaard Company, 2009. 43-47.
  • Siff, Mel Cunningham, and Yuri Vitalievitch Verkhoshansky. “The Development of Explosive Strength and Reactive Ability.” Supertraining. 6th – Expanded Version. Denver: Supertraining International, 2009. 267-285.
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