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Power Training 101

First, it would be beneficial to answer the question – What is power? Well, I'm going to take you back to your physics lessons (don't worry, it won't be nearly as hard as your exams!). Power is defined as the rate of doing work. In other words, it is a factor of energy and time. That simple!

So, what does this mean? This means that in order to have power, you need both strength and speed. With regard to training, power training needs a multifaceted approach. It is not like strength training where all you need is to be able to lift a very heavy load. Nor is it like speed training where you need to be able to cover a distance in the shortest period of time. Power training is actually a combination of both in equal magnitude.

Athletes who focus on power training can typically generate force quickly – You definitely do not want to be on the other end of a punch from these guys. This results in better performance in the gym in terms of lifting weight and better performance in your sport, be in basketball, cricket… whatever! You will be more agile, having better control of your movement by being able to quickly change direction, sprint, accelerate, decelerate and jump higher.

That will be one cup of Power, please!

The next question you will ask is how to get power. No, I am not talking about the popular series. Power training requires a lot of work and dedication. Many people take the approach of just getting strong and although this is a good start, it is only one piece of the pie. Maximal strength does, however, give you the ability to be more explosive but you need to follow that up with speed.

The best method to approaching power training is with an equal emphasis on both strength and speed. At least for complete beginners who have no experience in sports nor have they laid a foot on a gym floor. For many people who are looking into power training, though, you may have some experience, if you play sports that require you to be fast and agile such as basketball or soccer, you may have to focus on the strength aspect first until it is at the same level with your speed. For those who live for the gym and weights, you may have to spend some time on the track to develop speed first.

The most common training to gain power include:

  • Maximum strength training – This creates a baseline for your power training since you will be able to progressively lift heavier weights
  • Plyometric Training – These increase your speed, agility, and range of movement and include skipping drills and box jumps.
  • Ballistic Training – This erases the deceleration component of your lifts and focuses solely on the acceleration. An example includes medicine ball training.
  • Contrast Training – This involves performing a single strength-based movement followed by an explosive movement like a jump or sprint.

If power training is for you, you are well on your way to your first session after reading this.