It is my philosophy that we should ‘Push for Power’ in every way we can, stand amongst those that are willing to push, and push hard to get where we want to be. After all….
“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
Power is defined as force at speed, or as Newton put it, ‘force is equal to mass times acceleration’, meaning force (strength) at speed = power. Power is integral to maximising performance, some sports or activities might not depend solely on power e.g. marathon running compared to say sprinting or rugby, but power helps to minimise ground contact time thereby increasing propulsion, drive and efficiency.
There are several key principles to consider when developing power, here are 4 of the best!
1.) Reps in relation to load
The weight (load) on the bar should be determined by ascertaining what weight you can lift for 6 reps, gradually increasing the speed of the reps over time (usually a couple of weeks to allow for rest). Once the speed is approx 1 second up, 1 second down increase the number of reps performed to 12. Once you’re able to manage this in a smooth, fluid motion, increase the load so that you can only do 6 reps again. To avoid injury be careful not to try to move the heavier weight at the same speed as before straight away, take it easy and gauge it!
2.) Plyometric Training
Plyometrics are highly effective at improving explosive movements such as vertical jump or linear speed. They target the type IIa and type IIb muscle fibres which are responsible for our more explosive, powerful movements. The fundamental principle of plyometric training is to reduce the time it takes to switch from an eccentric contraction (muscle lengthens when contracting) to a concentric action (muscle shortens when contracting)…the quicker you can perform these contractions, the more power you produce, the further you can jump or the harder you can hit.
3.) Take Creatine Monohydrate
Arciero, Hannibal, Nindl et al. (2002) found that creatine monohydrate increased strength, peak power and total work load in young and old athletes. Intense activities lasting less than a minute (with best results seen in activities lasting 8-10 seconds) were seen to benefit most from creatine monohydrate. Creatine supports our anaerobic energy system known as the Adenosine triphosphate-Creatine phosphate system (ATP-CP). This quick release system supplies energy for about 8-10 seconds and is the chief energy source for strength and power exercises.
4.) Take Nitric Oxide
2 words- INTENSITY + POWER!
Ironically, the increase in INTENSITY and thus POWER is a direct result of RELAXATION.
Let me explain……
The main function of nitric oxide is to RELAX SMOOTH MUSCLE TISSUE such as that found in the walls of blood vessels, the hearts aorta, pulmonary vein and small arteries, respiratory tract (wind pipe) and the stomach. The benefit of relaxing these muscles means the body’s circulatory system goes through what is known as vasodilation (widening of the blood vessels). Wider arteries mean more blood gets to the muscles, brain and heart, this results in greater insulin delivery (one of the bodies main growth hormones), oxygen delivery, and therefore more focus, better uptake of glucose, fuller muscle pumps (due to increased blood supply), and ultimately an increased workload leading to enhanced muscle contractility and thus power (Kreider, Wilborb, Campbell et al. 2010)!
Arciero, P.J., Hannibal, N.S., Nindl, B.C., Gentile, C.L., Hamed, J., Vukovich, M.D. (2001). Comparison of creatine ingestion and resistance training on energy expenditure and limb blood flow. Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental. 50: 1429-1434.
Bompa, T, O, (1999). Periodization. Theory and Methodology of Training. 4th Ed. Strength Training. Champaign: Human Kinetics.
Kreider, R, B., Wilborb, C, D., Campbell, B., Almada, A, L., Collins, R., Cooke, M et al, (2010). ISSN exercise & Sport Nutrition Review: Research & Recommendations. Journal of the international society of sports nutrition. 7: 1550-2783.