Power. It’s the ultimate difference maker when it comes to sports. Things like strength, speed and quickness are great, but it’s power that’s going to make the difference.
So what is power, exactly? Power is a combination of things. It’s part strength, part speed, and part quickness or acceleration. Power is the ability to bring to bear maximum force and do so as quickly as possible when it comes to running, jumping, accelerating or throwing.
Some see it as quickness but it’s more than that. The term that best describes power for most people is probably explosive.
Think of a professional running back. He might be strong, fast, and quick, with the ability to change direction on the proverbial dime. But it’s his ability to hit the hole at the line of scrimmage explosively and be out the other side and into space. That’s power. It’s that ability to exert maximum force and accelerate quickly.
Strength is about the maximum force that can be applied to any given load. But power is about the speed at which that force can be applied.
When it comes to exercises think of it like this. Player A can bench press 300 pounds and it takes him six seconds to complete the repetition. Player B can bench press 300 pounds and it takes him three seconds to complete that repetition. Player B would be considered more powerful on the bench press.
Power is crucial to success in so many sports. In addition to the football player mentioned above, the soccer dribbler needs to be powerful so after a fake he can get away from a defender. The basketball players needs not just a quick first step, but a powerful one to get past a defender and finish at the basket.
In boxing, a quick punch can connect. A powerful punch will knock someone out. Power is involved in baseball, most track and field events, hockey and more.
Power can be improved with resistance training, as well as explosive or plyometric exercises.
So what about plyometric exercises for power?
Plyometric exercises are crucial for developing power. But first, it’s important to keep in mind that plyometrics are not for beginners and they are not for those just coming back from an injury. They are easy to overdo and can cause severe injury by using an improper training program or performing an individual exercise improperly.
That being said, plyometric exercises for power can also help to build muscle and strength, while also burning body fat and improving overall conditioning.
Plyometrics, while intense, are not designed to train to failure like typical weight training exercises. That’s just an injury waiting to happen. They are also not to be done in high rep fashion if improved power is the goal.
While people will do lots and lots of burpees, a plyometric exercise, for fat burning or conditioning, that’s not going to develop power. Remember, power is about the speed at which you can exert maximal force. The more repetitions in a set, the less force you are producing. This won’t improve power.
If you’re new to plyometrics and want to use them to develop more power, consider only using three or four exercises in a training session, performed for a few sets of three to eight reps. Rest two or three minutes between sets. Remember, it’s about developing power, not a conditioning workout. Take a full day of rest between training sessions.
Be sure an exert maximal force on each repetition of each set.
A study done in 2008 showed that even two short plyometric workouts per week helped to increase both strength and power.
Here are a few plyometric workouts that can be done for more explosiveness and power. Always take at least one day of rest between plyometric workouts.
Explosive Push Ups
Squat Thrust With Jump (a Burpee without the push up)
Reverse Lunge With Knee Up
Explosive Push Up With Clap
Alternating Lunge Jumps
Full Body Explosive Push Up
Single Leg Deadlift into Jump
180 Degree Tuck Jump
If you want more power and improved performance be sure and include plyometrics in your training.