A huge aspect of power production relies on 1) landing mechanics, 2) triple flexion/triple extension occurring effectively at the ankles, knees and hips, and having the ability to—on demand—create 3) trunk stabilization and rotation for motor skills that include locomotion, landing, hitting, throwing, serving, and striking a puck. Power development is very much about timing and rhythm, thus the importance of fundamental movement foundations and skill-based regressions being part of any athlete’s program is essential.
Total Body Power Development
Before one progresses to, for example, a clean variation, total body control (a skill in of itself) must be demonstrated leading up to more complex movement patterning.
The ability to express power results in improved performance, but can also greatly impact health and fitness goals. Power development is appropriate for older adults and deconditioned participants, as well as world-class athletes. It is important to remember that power is based on speed of movement and force production. Power development, or expression, can simply represent a quick, reactive movement, yet can range all the way to maximal power development using 1-repetition max (RM) training.
Strength… Strength development comes before high-level power expression and generally occurs during a loading phase of a periodized program. Strength training focuses on the production of muscular force.
Power… Power training concentrates on creating the greatest amount of muscular force possible over the shortest amount of time possible. In other words, athletes try to lift “heavy” loads, or move the body, as fast as possible in the shortest amount of time. Power training moves away from producing high-levels of muscular force using controlled movement speeds, to increasing speed of movement, or movement velocity. Quick, or high-speed movements rely more heavily on type II fibers.
Often, transition to a power-development training phase after a base of strength and high-level muscular force capability has been attained, results in high-level performance outcome that includes greater metabolic demands and whole body coordination. Outcomes like these transfer better to real-life-activities and sport.
Setting The Foundation
Ladder Jump to Drop Jump: Landing Mechanics and Controlled Triple Flexion/Extension
Eccentric loading/deceleration is important for successful agility and plyometric training, which translates to many activities that we are challenged with on a daily basis and/or represent the qualities of movement that are present in the sports in which we participate! Power expression results from the body being able to quickly decelerate, and cut the coupling time between how long it takes to express concentric force production after eccentric loading. Training for power increases the speed of the stretch-shortening cycle, which increases the muscle’s ability to transition from a rapid pre-stretch/deceleration to an explosive/quick concentric contraction. In other words, power expression is dependent on decreasing the time between the “stop and go” of the movement being trained, which in turn has application for regaining balance after a stumble, or for world-class athlete performance. Welcome to real-life training demands!
See Part 1