When strength training, you use resistance (weights, body mass, resistance bands, etc.) to build the strength of your muscles. When training for strength, the focus is increasing the load from workout to workout to improve your strength. This will increase the amount of weight you can carry but it will not increase your bar speed; and can actually reduce the speed of your overall power.
How Power Training Differs
Power training takes more of specialized approach than strength training. When power training, the focus is maximizing the amount of force and speed you put into a movement. The combination of speed and strength increases your overall power. It improves how quickly you exert force to produce a desired movement more quickly.
You can imagine how focusing your workout to train for power would improve your overall strength, power, and speed. Since strength training is more of the focus in mainstream fitness centers, there are more resources and tips available for training in that style. To help you start power training, we put together 5 tips to help get you started.
Power Training: 5 Tips to Get You Started
1. Incorporate Power Training in Your Regular Strength Training
You can easily incorporate power training into your regular fitness plan. Before or after your regular sets, do a drop set of 5 reps that focuses on the speed of movement. For example: after each set of bench press, do 5 explosive clap push-ups or, after deadlifting do 5 box jumps.
2. Do not train to failure
Do 5 really good reps that focus on your force and speed. You’ll want to terminate the reps before you fatigue your muscles because the fatigue will slow your force and switch you from power training to strength training.
3. Train with Assistance
Power training can seem counter-intuitive because we’re traditionally told to max our reps and weight. Training with a friend, personal trainer, or a training assistant like a PUSH Band will help keep you in check when you have maxed your reps and slowed down. A PUSH Band will tell you the speed of each repetition, the velocity, peak velocity, and your acceleration. Research says to terminate the set when your rep speed has slowed down by no more than 20%. This keeps you training for power and is easier to recover from.
4. Know Your Fitness Level
Power training is not a training style for everyone because you need a higher level of strength in both your muscles and ligaments. Because of the force, you are exerting with your body, you will be at a higher risk of strains and sprains. For explosive training, you need a solid foundation of strength training to strengthen your muscles and ligaments. Due to the forces of jumping and landing, it is not recommended if you are carrying extra weight.
Due to the acceleration of power while training it’s a great idea to thoroughly warm up your muscles and joints. It’s important to always start any workout with some dynamic mobility drills such as mountain climbers or reverse lunges. Think ahead to what movements you will be doing and take the time to warm up those specific parts of your body.
If you’re looking for more training advice, you can check out our post from last month: An Expert’s Guide: Finding the Right Training Program.
Yours in health!