Training for Power: What’s Missing? Series Overview
Brian Lyons, MS, CSCS, NSCA-CPT
Performance Training Specialist, The Movement Guild
I have never met an athlete from any sport at any level who did not want to improve their power output. More specifically, baseball and softball players want to get faster on the base-paths and hit more home runs. Tennis players want to improve their serve velocity and their ability to repeatedly get to a ball anywhere on the court. Golfers want to hit longer off the tee. Even endurance athletes can benefit from an extra “push” at the beginning or end of a race. Football, basketball, etc.—we can agree that all sports have some type of power demand needed to excel at the sport and reduce injury risk.
When I ask sport coaches what I can do to help their athletes perform better on the field or court, I often hear “we need to get stronger and faster”. As a performance coach, we can substitute “faster” for “more powerful” in our programming thought process. Traditionally, coaches train for power with unloaded, explosive body-weight movements such as plyometrics or SAQ (Speed-Agility-Quickness) training. Another traditional option is to use a relatively lower load such as a med-ball (MB) or kettlebell (KB) and attempt to move it as quickly as possible with movements such as a MB throw or a KB swing, snatch, or press. Finally, you will see a lot of traditional Olympic lifting variations with barbells. All of these are relevant and should have their place in a performance training program. I have used all of these modalities depending on the athlete’s needs and available equipment.
What I want to touch on in this series are some types of power training we may be overlooking, missing, or implementing incorrectly due to traditional dogma or lack of education. At the Movement Guild, these are the types of power training we tend to emphasize in order to “fill the gaps” that traditional models do not fully cover:
Part I: Rotational Power
Part II: Multi-Directional Plyometric Training
Part III: Multi-Directional Quickness or Reactive Training
Part IV: “Loaded Movement Training” (LMT) for Power
We also need to assess which type of power training needs to be emphasized for each athlete or client based on individual strengths & weaknesses with specific testing:
Part V: Power Performance Testing
Note—for the purposes of this article series we are exclusively focusing on power training independent of mobility, stability, & strength. All of these movement qualities are interdependent& need to be programmed and trained appropriately to maximize power output.
See below and read part I to learn the basic rationale & some ways we train for rotational power at the Movement Guild.
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