Power is among the most desired qualities when it comes to athletic performance. The question is, how do we train it? And how do we do so safely with our young athletes? Let’s talk about how to get stronger, run faster, and jump higher as a beginner.
Power is critical in order to succeed in most sports. Research has gone so far as to show that power output is directly correlated to what level an athlete will compete. It involves the combination of strength and speed and can be measured as follows:
Power=Force x Velocity
Simplified, this means power is an athlete’s ability to exert the max amount of force over a short amount of time. And how well can that force be produced during relevant movements of the athlete’s sport?
3 WAYS TO IMPROVE POWER
Ballistic resistance training? Technical Olympic weightlifting? Advanced plyometrics? There are tons of complex exercises and training methodologies that improve power but what if you’ve only just set foot in the weight room? Here are 3 surefire ways to improve your power early in your career.
First and foremost, a proper resistance training program focusing on the basic foundational movements is paramount. Squats, vertical/horizontal pushes and pulls, hinges, lunges, and carries are part of any good resistance training program. As a beginner, your first phase of training should focus on building strength and a base before moving on to speed and power.
Check out this simple workout plan that incorporates these movements:
1: Med Ball Slam
2a: Trap Bar Deadlift
2b: Dumbbell Bench Press
3a: Single-arm Dumbbell Row
3b: Tricep Extension
3c: Reverse Lunge
1: Med Ball Chest Wall Throw
2a: Goblet Squat
3a: Single-arm Overhead Press
3b: Dumbbell Biceps Curl
3c: Dumbbell RDL
4: Palloff Press
4: Farmer’s Carry
Your weekly schedule might look like:
Perform 3 sets of 12 repetitions with 60-90 seconds rest in between sets.
Simple Jump Variations
Most sports involve at least a little bit of jumping. Here are 3 simple jump variations to have you jumping out of the building:
Paused Squat Jumps
3-4 sets/5-8 reps
Paused Squat Jumps help build power from a static position. Set up with the feet shoulder width apart. Bend your knees and hinge your hips back with a neutral spine. Pause at the lower portion of your squat with the thighs parallel to the ground for 1-2 seconds before exploding up for maximal height. Land softly, reset, and repeat.
3-4 sets/5-8 reps
Box Jumps should focus on technique, not volume. The jump itself is the only fast part of this movement. Bend your knees and push your hips back as you swing your arms back. Press off of the ground and swing your arms forward, jumping onto the box. Land like a cat (as quietly as possible) before stepping down, resetting, and repeating.
3-4 sets/10-15 yards or 6-12 reps
The broad jump, also known as the standing long jump, is a measure of explosive leg power. Swing your arms back, hinge at the hips, and jump forward as far as you can, landing in an athletic position. Repeat successively for 10-15 yards.
Medicine Ball Work
Med ball work is a great substitute for Olympic weightlifting when it comes to power, without the specialized training needed to perform. Here are a few exercises that build power and explosiveness without years of Olympic training.
Med Ball Slam
3-4 sets/10-12 reps
The Ball Slam is a great hinge movement that challenges the whole body and core stability. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart while holding the med ball. Raise the ball up and over your head, extending up onto your toes. Forcefully slam the ball down while slightly bending your knees and coming back down onto your heels. Repeat!
3-4 sets/5-8 reps each side
Being an old baseball guy, I had to include this one. The Rotational Toss incorporates the hips and obliques, stressing rotational strength. Stand about 3 feet away from a wall (or a partner). Push your hips back with the ball starting at your back hip. Pivot explosively, trying to throw the ball through the wall. Catch the ball in the finish position before resetting and repeating. Focus is on the speed of the movement, not the weight of the ball.
Reverse Scoop Throw
3-4 sets/5-8 reps
The Reverse Scoop Throw is an ideal lower body power exercise that challenges your lower body and core. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart as if you’re about to do a vertical jump. Hinge forward at the hips with a neutral spine and hold the ball at arm’s length in between your knees. Drive your hips forward explosively and throw the ball over your head and behind you as far as you can. Walk to the ball and start your next rep.
Kevin is a former collegiate baseball player turned Personal Trainer and Fitness Consultant to a global corporate wellness company. He is passionate about fitness and the importance of a holistic relationship with health/wellness. He loves anything outdoors, a good cup of coffee, and chasing his hyperactive 3-year-old (all of which oddly correlate with each other). To learn more, reach out to him at [email protected]
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