The next step in our program is where things start getting fun and we really start getting after it. If you haven’t read the Part 1 or Part 2 be sure to go back and check them out first. It’s cool, I’ll wait…
Power is often misunderstood, and that’s probably why you often see someone jumping on and off a box haphazardly, or doing really ugly looking heavy reverse curl looking thingamajigs where a guy is humping a bar up to his chest, thinking he’s “doing cleans bro,” and working on explosiveness but in reality he’s wasting his time and setting himself up for injury.
So if that’s NOT power training, what the hell is?
Power=force applied x distance/time. And what in the shit does that mean? It means that you need to apply a lot of force in a short amount of time, like hitting a hard, fast shot, or sprawling hard and quickly. If you’re more powerful than your opponent, and your technique is up to par, then you win the exchange.
So how do we develop power? We do it in a few ways. First, we use jumps and medicine ball drills. You can’t jump high if you don’t jump fast and your medicine ball won’t hit the wall or floor with much pop if you don’t chuck it with some speed! (and for the love of God, after you jump onto the box, STEP off it, don’t jump off. If you jump off, there’s no point in using the box in the first place!)
Typically, 1 or 2 medicine ball drills done for 2-3 sets of 8-10 and 1 jump done for 2-3 sets of 3-5 jumps is what we’d be looking for in each training session. If you do more, then you’re going to start getting fatigued and will no longer be producing maximal power. This is the most common mistake I see, and good power work starts to become sloppy conditioning work.
Another huge tool to use to improve power are Olympic lifting variations like the hang clean, hang snatch, and dumbbell snatch. These are explosive lifts that move a heavy weight in a fraction of a second throughout a good size range of motion, which fits our power definition. These are very technical lifts that take a little time to get comfortable with, but they are well worth the cost of admission in the benefits that you’ll reap. 3-5 sets of 1-5 reps typically work best on these types of lifts. Again, the most common mistakes made with Olympic lifts are too many reps or too heavy a weight, either of which lead to the movement not being very fast, so you’re not getting what you want out of it. You’ll be far better served using a lighter load and executing a few perfect, lightning fast reps, I can guarantee you that!
In the next segment of this series, I’m going to break down the strength section of a properly designed strength and conditioning program step by step, so add this page to your bookmarks so you don’t miss it!