Training for Muscular Power
Time to Read
Points of Interest
- What is Power Training
- The Science
- Training Plan
- Nutrition Guidance
- Sportswear to Support Power Training
Muscular power commonly means the ability to recruit a large number of muscle motor units quickly to move a load.
Power is associated with a variety of activities such as Olympic lifts, sprinting, jumping, ice hockey, football, netball and boxing.
It is also required for everyday activities like climbing stairs, catching a bus, stooping to pick things up or rising from a seated position.
This blog discusses the benefits of muscular power, the physiology involved and how to train to improve it.
Power vs. strength and endurance training
Strength training involves putting loads on your body to increase muscular and skeletal strength. Whereas power training improves your ability to use your strength at higher speeds.
Both are very important to develop, even if your primary goal isn’t to train for a specific power-oriented sport.
Every activity we perform, whether on the playing field or during everyday activities, require individuals to react and generate force quickly to certain demands place on our structure. It is critical that individuals are trained at speeds that are functionally applicable to everyday life and sport, decreasing the risk of injury and enhancing overall performance.
Power training is on the opposite side of the spectrum of endurance training.
Endurance training involves improving your ability to perform a physical activity for a prolonged period of time, whereas power training optimizes your ability to use explosive force over a shorter period of time.
Knowing your fitness goals will help you determine how to incorporate power into your training regimen.
The physiology of power
Muscular power generation relies primarily on type II muscle fibers, which specialize in anaerobic power generation. This process depends on ATP, the cell’s most basic form of energy. As the ATP is depleted, creatine stores help produce more. Since creatine stores are limited (approximately 100 contractions) power can only be sustained for a limited time. But there are ways that you can train to improve your muscular power, delay fatigue and improve recovery.
Training for power
Being strong does not always translate to being powerful. For example, a strong lower body can do a heavy squat slowly, but it can't necessarily generate the power to do the same lift with speed.
Power is explosiveness.
Power training can take many forms depending on the goals of the individual and the demands of the sport. Here are some basic guidelines for power training:
Sample power training workout
Keeping the training guidelines mentioned above in mind, do the following workout three-times-a-week to improve your power performance.
- Goblet Squat (3 sets of 12-15 repetitions)
- Barbell clean (3 sets of 8-12 repetitions)
- Barbell push press (3 sets of 8-12 repetitions)
- Bench press for speed (9 sets of 3 repetitions, 3 positions)
Plyometric drill circuit (4 circuits of 10 repetitions)
- Decelerated lunge
- Step up
- Mountain climbers
- Squat jump
Eating for Power
You can improve your power performance through the food that you eat. In fact, it is incredibly important to provide your body with adequate nutrition relative to your training intentions.
Eating foods that support a healthy nervous system is important, since the speed of nerve communication between your brain and muscles facilitates power performance. Foods that contain B6, B12 and folate assist nerve metabolism.
Excellent food sources of vitamin B6 include:
- Poultry such as chicken or turkey
- Wholegrain cereals such as oatmeal, wheatgerm and brown rice
- Vegetables (spinach, broccoli, beets, turnips, romaine lettuce)
Sources of folate include:
- Leafy greens
- Citrus fruits
- Nuts and seeds
Sources of B12 include:
- Beef liver
- Fish (trout, salmon, tuna, haddock)
Supplementing for Power
Ideally you should be getting the nutrition you need for performance through the food you eat, but it is difficult to get the right balance on a daily basis.
The following supplements have been shown to boost your body’s ability to perform.
- Vitamin D – helps prevent injury
- Vitamin B Complex – facilitates nerve communication between your brain and muscles
- Creatine – helps replenish depleted ATP, increases strength and power
- Protein powder - assists in muscle repair
- Amino acids – assist in muscle repair
- Magnesium – aids muscle performance
- Carnosine and Beta Alanine – assist with anaerobic output
- Arginine – assists in healing, promotes hormone secretion
Another consideration for improving the effectiveness of your power training is to consider your workout attire.
Kymira Sport produces products to specifically enhance muscular performance and promote recovery.
The way they work can be summarized in these basic steps:
- The human body wastes 60% of the energy consumed
- This energy is harnessed by specially made fabric
- The fabric convert the harnessed energy, along with latent energy from surroundings into Far Infrared Radiation (FIR)
- FIR penetrates deep into muscle tissue with the following effects:
Power isn’t something that is specific to Olympic or CrossFit athletes. Everyone at any age can benefit from improved power performance.
Yes, it is important to train for strength, and sometimes endurance. But training for power will give you the ability to lift loads (including your own body) at a greater speed, which is important in everyday activities.
For example, if you trip you need to be able to use your muscles to react quickly to protect yourself. Or you may need to cross a road quickly before the light turns red. Even getting up from a chair or stooping down to pick something up requires muscular power.
It’s especially true as we age, power diminishes even more quickly than strength.
Training for power will help you preserve muscle and bone density. So, include some element of power training in your workout regimen and you’ll see both short and long-term benefits.