Let’s talk about power.
Not the controlling people kind or anything to do with outlets.
But the kind of power that almost every trainee forgets is important in their fitness: explosive power training.
Here’s the thing.
Everyone knows about strength. Lift heavy stuff. Get strong. Awesome.
And everyone knows about speed or endurance. Go fast or far (or both). Simple.
But the big mistake most trainees make is that they can’t or don’t combine the two. And that means they’ve got no power.
So what is power?
Power is the combination of strength and speed.
Check out this continuum. This is the Strength – Speed continuum.
One side, you’ve got strength. People who only care about how many plates they can load up on the bar. Strong, beastly, hulk-wannabes.
On the other side, we’ve got endurance. The people who can run a 40 in under 4s. The folks that only care about dropping precious milliseconds off their time.
And right in the middle – that’s where explosive power is. The ability to mix strength and speed. To combine force and velocity.
To lift heavy stuff quickly. The ability to explode. To move. To produce force.
It’s all power.
Why do we want power?
When most people start following a training plan, they pick a camp: strength or speed. And they focus only on that one specific element.
The problem is that very few people need to be just strong. And very few people need to be just fast.
For nearly every sport, we need a combination. We need power. To jump high enough to dunk the basketball. To throw the football while stepping quickly and twisting. Those come from power.
But I know what you’re thinking…. I’m not an athlete. I just want to look sexy. I want to be fit and I want to have a rockin’ bod.
And I applaud that goal – but I’m still going to tell you – you need power. And I already know your argument:
The First Argument:
I don’t need power – I need heavy weights. Because I just want massive muscles.
You’re right. Lifting heavy weights will lead to muscle growth. BUT you can’t lift heavy every day. Your muscles, your nerves, your entire body would hate you (not to mention start shutting down, breaking and deteriorating your muscles).
So in between heavy days, to keep your strength and muscle size goals progressing forward, you can lift lighter weights with explosiveness. This keep your muscles threshold high and recruits more muscle fibers in a different way than you uber heavy lifting days. That means those muscles are still working – but you aren’t breaking them down or damaging your nerves in the process.
Still working, still developing and still growing. Through power.
The Second Argument:
I don’t need power – I just want to run fast. And if I want to be fast, I don’t need to train with weights.
Sure running fast, doing sprints on repeats, will help you get faster. But there’s a limit. Eventually, you’ll cap on how fast those legs can go. But you know what keeps you progressing and keeps your pace dropping? Building strength at the same time as training for speed. No, you don’t have to be able to bench 250 pounds – but being able to run up an incline with resistance or squat jump while holding a kettlebell (power moves) are going to activate your muscle threshold and give you a more powerful backside. And that increase in strength my friends, is the secret to getting faster.
The Third Argument:
I don’t need power – I just want to lose weight and drop fat. Gimme a treadmill or some heavy weights and let me do my thang.
You, my fat loss seeking friend, still need power in your fitness training! Explosive power training is one of the most effective ways to transform your body! Explosive power training happens in your first energy system – the one that gives you 5-10 seconds of crazy human strength! And when you use up all of that energy, but your muscle still need energy to carry you for a few more seconds of explosive work – you start tapping into your second energy system – the one where all the fat burn happens! Explosive power training builds your strength and your speed, jumpstarts your muscle development and doesn’t leave you too sore to walk (a perk if you’re going to be training again tomorrow). And it does it all while prepping you for your second energy system fat burn phase.
Explosive power matters.
For athletes and every day Joes. For dunking, scoring goals, running up the stairs or catching your balance before you slip and fall on the ice.
Functional movement comes from power. And when you can move functionally – you’re training is more effective, your muscles grow and your fat burns, AND you can move through life without breaking bones or twisting ankles around every corner.
Okay, I’m sold. How do I start explosive power training?
Power comes from lifting submaximal weight with maximal explosive intent.
Let’s me explain:
Strength: Lift heavy weights. Take as long as you need to get it done. It’s like maxing out on weight.
Speed: Don’t use any weight. Go as fast as you possibly can. It’s maxing out on speed.
Power: Lift some weight as fast as you can. It’s maxing out on EXPLOSION.
So that can come from plenty of different ways – from powerlifting to ballistics training to plyometrics. It’s just about how hard you push yourself.
- Taking a med ball and throwing it as high as humanly possible.
- Doing jumping squats with the bar on your shoulders.
- Trapping yourself in a resistance band and doing lateral hops as far as you can go.
Combining strength/resistance with explosive speed. And doing it as a regular part of your training program.
Don’t get tricked into training for just strength or just speed. Include explosive power training to build muscle faster. Shed fat quicker. And start moving better – in sports, in the gym and in every day life.
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