power is so often misunderstood, the trainers at Athletic Edge spend a lot
of time educating their hard-working, power-hungry athletes before putting
together an effective program for them. The biggest misconception is that “power” can
be used interchangeably with “strength.” The fact of the matter
is that power is actually strength multiplied by speed, and to build power, the
athlete must understand whether the strength component or the speed component
is of greater importance to his or her sport.
Olympic lifts are effective for building
total body power
That critical distinction is often misunderstood or ignored by many coaches,
and the outcome translates into poor results on the playing field where power
is needed most. For sports relying on strength-speed (like shot putting),
speed development is important, but strength is more critical. For
sports geared to speed-strength (like sprinting), training against resistance
is needed, but strength acquisition from that resistance is somewhat less important. Again,
grasping the difference is crucial to proceeding with the right plan, for even
within the same sport, sometimes, the need for one type of power or the other
can vary from position to position. In football, for instance, a lineman
has great need for strength–speed, while a running back needs speed-strength. To
maximize performance, the training done to elicit these effects must be specific
to the goal.
How do the differences in
training for power show themselves in the gym? If
strength is the primary component of an athlete's power needs, the resistance
levels (weights) used during training should be high. Therefore, the speed
at which the exercises are performed might tend to slow down due to the exertion
used in trying to lift the weights at a good, normal pace. If speed is
the primary need, lower levels of resistance are used with exercise movements
performed as quickly as possible. (This, however, does not mean using poor
technique or locking out joints.)
jump-training on the Vertimax elevates the vertical jump
Aside from differentiating between the components of power before proceeding
with the right type of conditioning, coaches have to choose the right methods
to use, as there are many ways to train. Training can include Olympic weightlifting
exercises such as cleans, jerks or snatches. Plyometric exercises are also
great, since they use the stretch reflex properties of muscles. These can
be done using various forms of jumping, hopping, bounding, or with medicine balls
and other stimuli to elicit the stretch reflex.
Westside weight lifting is also being used to develop power for athletes. In
this type of training, traditional power lifting exercises, such as the bench
press and squat, are used with the addition of chains or bands hooked to the
bar to make the resistance the lightest at an athlete’s weakest point of
the movement and highest at his or her strongest point. This variable resistance
allows the athlete to move the bar quickly without locking up their joints or
having the weight bounce or get away from them due to excessive momentum.
push-ups translate into explosive upper body power
As one can see, while everyone wants to build power, there are really only a
few who know how to properly get those gains. The coaches at Athletic Edge
are ready to help athletes build power like they’ve never built it before.
Of Power Sport
Make sure to know whether your sport is a single-repetition power sport,
such as shot put, or power endurance, like football. Then train appropriately.
Doing excessive reps of an exercise for a Shot Putter would be counterproductive,
since their throw is one single explosive movement, followed by rest, with
another attempt after.
Be sure to do upper body power exercises, such as medicine balls or