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Power Training; Types and Applications

Kinetic Excellence and the international group of athletes got after it in an intense Plyometric workout by Matt Goreski
Kinetic Excellence and the international group of athletes got after it in an intense Plyometric workout by Matt Goreski
Matt Goreski - Pro Performance Sweden 2008

Power is the ability of the neuromuscular system to produce the greatest possible force in the shortest amount of time. Physiologically we are working to recruit the most motor units/Fast Twitch fibers (FT) possible in as short a period as possible.

Pro Performance Sweden Plyometric Day
Aaron Scott

Max Strength increases the available FT fibers, thus Power is vital to increase the speed you can engage them.

Power is the result of increased Strength or Speed, or a combination of both. Neural adaptation helps to achieve greater performance capability by unconsciously altering your physiological response to stimulus. Neuromuscular adaptation to power training techniques amplifies muscular coordination, thus the Central Nervous System (CNS) becomes more efficient as it sends impulses to muscles performing specific movements.

Listen Up;

What this is implying is that the CNS adapts innately to the weight you are lifting, the movement you are performing as well as the speed at which you are performing it. Thus adaptation results in increased contractile speed in the case of power training.

The speed of a contraction and the anatomical and neurological adaptation which occurs, explains the importance of rep cadence for bodybuilders during Hypertrophy phase, and athletes during Max Strength phase.

Thus as the cadence for bodybuilding reps is slow to medium, Power will not be a consideration during Hypertrophy phase, but can be useful in MxS to increase muscle tone without adding weight.

As for athletes adding Power training exercises into your existing MxS program will intensify your training, however it is an addition and must be second to the primary focus of the program.

Application;

The combination of endurance and speed is called speed-endurance. Agility is the product of a complex combination of speed. In every athletic activity there will be one dominant component of which there is a higher contribution required, however peak performance could be needed in more than one area. Strength, speed, and endurance are important components of sport specific performance, the ratio of each you will need to develop will depend on your situation. Just like the article "Choose Your Exercises Carefully" the exercises you choose are crucial to your overall growth.

Types;

There are many ways to train Power however two of the best are Ballistic and Plyometric. The specific training program will be coming up this week so keep on reading.

Why Plyometric training? The mechanism which allows explosive responses to occur during Plyometric training is stretch reflex. As this response monitors the muscle tissue and fibers to protect them from overstretching and tearing, the benefit of Plyometric training includes building increased resistance to injury. Reactive, throwing, jumping, starting and acceleration power are all incorporated into Plyometric training, thus the spectrum of specific benefits is enhanced significantly. Ballistic training such as shot put throws, and med ball work is excellent sport specific power training as well because it has qualities that compliment active warm-up, mid workout set insertion as well as post workout Power Training.

Plyometric and Ballistic training are also useful for the development of general coordination and the improvement of motor skills in younger athletes. If you are going to choose one or two types of power training techniques to work into your Periodization training than these two are the right choice.

Coming Up;

A DIY approach to working Plyometric and Ballistic exercises into your MxS training program, also how to increase coordination and flexibility leading up to these Power training elements.

Yours in Health,

Matt