Power= Force x Velocity
This simple equation tells us that you must generate force rapidly to increase power production. Both of these components, strength training and the ability to apply force rapidly, we’ll call it speed here; need to be included in a properly constructed trained program to develop a powerful athlete. If both components are not trained properly you end up with two different scenarios. In the first scenario the athlete only focuses on strength training, which produces a rather strong athlete with an ability to generate force rather quickly, but you know it could be faster and it doesn’t look quite right. In the second scenario the athlete is really focused on doing things quickly, this produces an athlete that seems to move rather well, and he is slightly faster and can jump slightly higher but it looks like something is missing.
Let’s take a look at things when both components are trained properly. Training strength and speed will give you an athlete that is both strong and can use that strength explosively. That is the key, being able to use strength explosively. Now we have developed the complete package that will lead to improvements on the field of play. Sprinting faster, jumping higher and throwing harder all include components of power production.
When this well developed athlete takes the field of play they will have the greatest chance at success. The basketball player that wants to be able to jump higher or sprint down the court faster will have the ability to do so, the football player that wants to drive back the opponent or leap to catch the ball will make it happen, the lacrosse player that wants to throw the ball harder or chase down the loose ball will win the race; the list goes on and on. For every athlete that has to run, jump, swing, throw, strike and catch, the ability to be powerful should be priority number one.
So now that I have convinced you that athletes need to train both force production (strength training) and velocity development (speed/explosive training) how about some examples of things that the athlete should include in a training program. Without getting into too much detail strength training includes performing lower body movements that can be both single and double leg hip dominant and knee dominant, upper body horizontal and vertical pushing & pulling movements, and a variety of core stability and anti-rotation movements. Explosive training includes Olympic lifting with barbells, dumbbells or kettlebells, medicine ball throws & slams, Plyo box work and moving anything else as quick as possible.
If your goal is to be the best athlete you can be include both strength and speed/explosive training in your program.
SPU's Alex Drayson and Matt Migiano write the SPU Athletic Performance Blog.
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