Visit us on Google, leave a review or get a map of our location

Sprint Speed - Agility - Explosive Power - Strength - Sports Performance - Elite Fitness

Recent Updates

  1. Sprint Coaching

    May 23, 18 06:14 AM

    Sokudo Training offers Sydney sprint coaching services, and strength & conditioning in the Merrylands, Granville, Parramatta and Guildford area....

    Read More

  2. Sprint Training

    Apr 30, 18 06:41 AM

    Sprint training is a form of training applicable across a large range of domains for both the individual and the athlete....

    Read More

  3. Sokudo Training Challenges

    Apr 25, 18 08:20 AM

    Welcome to the Sokudo Training Challenges section. Here you will find benchmark challenges and fitness tests based on the Sokudo Training methods....

    Read More

Power Training

A Look at Physical Power and its Applications

Power training is often a very confused and confusing component of training, for both the general public and among coaches/trainers. Most trainers and athletes have a very rudimentary understanding of power and how it is applied in a given context. Here we will look at power overall and explain what it is, how it is used and applied and how to train for it.

Definition of Power

Power is often characterised by fast, explosive activity of a short duration. This is somewhat accurate, in that short and explosive bursts of maximal effort are an expression of power in its rawest form. However this is only a partial explanation. Power training indeed does most often refer to short maximal bursts of explosive and fast activity. However overall power output involves every single component of fitness and physical component. Power operates on a sliding scale, which will be discussed soon. Keep reading.

In physics, power is the rate of doing work. In other words, power refers to the physical output expressed within a time frame. It is the amount of energy consumed per unit of time. So it’s both work and time related. More work in a shorter amount of time equals more power. In most cases this is measured by watts.

Again, power is the amount of work performed within a given time. If you are to walk 5km it is the exact same volume of work as running 5km. The work is the same, but there is more power in running 5km because the same volume is performed within less time. Another example is lifting. If you deadlift 100kg for 3 reps your work volume is 300kg. If you deadlift 300kg just for 1 single rep, then your work volume is also 300kg. The first set took a longer period of time to complete the same amount of volume, therefore the second has a higher power output.

Volume Considerations

Work can be completed regardless of how long it takes. However in most competitive and training contexts it is necessary to complete that work in less time. Volume is the measure of work that has been performed. Volume is one factor of training that will determine a given training adaptation or physical response.

Structural changes occur at a given volume or given level of work. Volume can be manipulated to produce a certain result or to avoid a certain result. Volume is cumulative, in that the volume performed within a single session leaves only a small adaptive response, whereas the consistent volume performed from one session to the next produces greater, more pronounced structural changes. For instance, a higher training volume for squatting will lead to greater hypertrophy (mass) gains than training at a much lower volume.

Training volume will significantly influence the adaptive response in terms of performance. If volume is high and induces fatigue, it will have a negative impact on the development of explosive power because explosive power requires efforts of maximal output in the absence of fatigue. Fatigue will hinder the development of explosive power by teaching the body to operate at a lower intensity for a longer period of time.

Time Considerations

The other piece of the power puzzle is time. Power is a measure of work/output performed within a given time. There are a large number of possible performance goals people will be aiming for. For each person the required training protocols will vary significantly. A weightlifter requires extreme levels of explosive power in very brief, one-off bursts. A 1500m runner requires around an 85-90% output over a period exceeding three minutes. Their goals are different, therefore their application of power is different.

Power occurs on a sliding scale. The shorter the duration of effort, the higher the level of work output per unit of time. Sprinting 10m requires absolute maximum explosiveness. This is a 100% effort with the time being too brief to cause fatigue. So the power is at a peak. The same applies to one-off efforts such as shot put, javelin, weightlifting or powerlifting. Power, or watts, is high. There was a high level of energy output compared to the length of time it took to do it.

Over a longer duration power is still applicable, however the body will not be performing the same high level of work in comparison to the length of time to complete that work. Having said that, the goal, even for longer durations, is to maintain the highest possible level of average power.

The Work – Time Ratio

As we have discussed, power equates to the amount of work performed within a given time. The more work performed in less time the greater the power. Training has become complicated enough without having to measure power precisely. Below are some simple ways to roughly calculate power.

The more power you have over a given duration, the fitter you are overall. This applies to strength training as much as it does to cardio based intervals. Power equals performance. All training, no matter what one is training for, should aim to increase power. More work output performed in less time.

Calculating Power

For strength training: The weight on the bar combined with the number of repetitions and the time it takes to complete a set. Set a target for each set. The goal is to beat that target each time you train. This should take into account the main goal. For maximum strength, such as with a powerlifter, you might be performing sets of just 1 single rep. In this case you will be aiming to perform that single rep as fast as possible (while still using good form). Another is hypertrophy. The repetition range and therefore the volume of work is greater than with training for strength. Power is naturally going to be lower when you perform 12 reps instead of just a single. The goal in this instance is to firstly complete each rep in a short time, but to also shorten rest times and pauses between individual reps. All reps within a set should aim to be completed in the shortest time without sacrificing quality of movement.

For sprinting and running: This one is as simple as the distance travelled combined with the time it takes to complete that distance. Again, shorter distances will have a higher level of power output. Aim either to run a set distance in the shortest time, or run for a set length of time and aim to cover more distance.

The same applies in all modes of training. More work output completed in the shortest time equates to greater power output.

Using a Ratio For Measurement

As we have discussed, power is a combination of the amount of work performed and the time in which it is performed. This can be calculated roughly, like in the above two examples, or it can be calculated using a ratio. The following are some examples of work to time ratio. The aim is for the work output to be significantly higher than the time it takes to complete that work.

Running – Every metre is given the value of 1 for work and every second given the value 1 for time. 100m completed in 10 seconds is a power output of 100:10, where 100 is the work (metres ran) and 10 is the time (seconds to completion). This can work at any distance, for instance a 20km race completed in 90 minutes. The power output is 20,000:5400 or 100:27. The shorter distance is obviously a greater power output, with the ratio having a larger difference between the distance and time. The idea of measuring power this way is to apply it consistently to the same distances or the same investment of time. This is used for comparison. So if your 100m power is 100:10 then you might aim for an output of 100:9.8 and the same applies to longer durations or distances. This can be used to also compare one distance or time to another and aim to consistently perform more work in a shorter time.

The above example applies not just to running, but anything else distance based, such as cycling, swimming, rowing etc.

With these forms of training it is most often not necessary to calculate and use a ratio to gauge training or competition efforts. Generally one aims to simply improve times over a given distances. For the next example though it is useful using the work to time ratio.

Resistance Training – Every kilogram is given the value of 1 for work, every second is given the value of 1 for time. Performing a set of squats at 100kg for 10 reps gives the value of 1000 for work output. If that set takes 60 seconds the power output will be 1000:60 or 100:6. As with running, a shorter duration generally equates to greater power output. A squat could be 300kg for just one single rep completed in just two seconds. This is a power output of 300:2 or 150:1.

The work ratio for resistance training is useful. The aim is to increase work output in each movement over time. Fairly simple concept. The greater the difference between the work output and the time, the higher the power output.

The Foundation For All Training

Looking at power as an expression of work output in relation to time, most training for performance purposes is power based. In all methods of training your aim is to increase power output, to perform a greater amount of work in a shorter amount of time. This concept is nothing new in practical terms. People have always trained to increase power output. The runner has always aimed to run their chosen distance in a shorter time. The same goes for swimmers and cyclists and anyone else you can imagine. In strength based activities it is slightly more complicated. We have always looked at the work output, such as with lifting a heavier weight or performing a greater number of reps. However time has never been a major factor in most strength programs. Using this power principle though we can measure training density, which is the same as power output.

Regardless of the training outcome, power is a factor in all expressions of performance. As an athlete or coach the goal should always be to increase power output in the times and durations relevant to the task one is training for. Thinking in this way will not necessarily alter training a great deal, but it will alter the direction of the training focus. More effort is applied towards increasing work output within shorter time frames.

Power training, Power training, Power training, Power training, Power training.

Power training, Power training, Power training, Power training, Power training.

Return to our home page from power training.

Sydney Sprint Coach Blog
The Sydney Sprint Coach blog will keep you up to date with all changes made to subscribe now to keep yourself updated.
Sokudo Training System
The Sokudo Training system is a complete system of sprint training and high performance...
Sprint Workouts - Sprinting WOD
The sprint workouts section is designed not as a complete training program in itself, but as a section providing sprint workouts...
Sokudo Training Challenges
Welcome to the Sokudo Training Challenges section. Here you will find benchmark challenges and fitness tests based on the Sokudo Training methods....
Contact Sokudo Training
Contact Sokudo Training: Join Us Or Ask A Question
Sprint Training
Sprint training is a form of training applicable across a large range of domains for both the individual and the athlete....
Strength Training Hub
Welcome to the Sprint Ninja Strength Training Hub. The aim here is to give people an in-depth, working knowledge of strength and how to obtain it....
Sport and Exercise Science Articles
Welcome to the sport and exercise science articles section. Here you will find articles and information that explains the science behind fitness and performance training, how the body works....
Sport and Athletic Conditioning Articles
Welcome to the sport and athletic conditioning articles section. Here you will find articles pertaining to specific sports and athletic events....
Nutritional Guidelines
Nutritional guidelines are a confusing topic for most people. There is so much contradictory information available online....
Early childhood physical development
Early childhood physical development is just as important as childhood mental and psychological development...
Weight Loss Articles
Welcome to the weight loss articles section. Here you will find articles and information specifically targeted at weight loss/fat loss....
General Fitness Articles
Welcome to the general fitness articles section. Here you will find articles and information that applies to fitness as a whole but does not fall into other categories....
Power Training
Power training is often a very confused and confusing component of training, for both the general public and among coaches/trainers. ..
Psychology of Speed
The psychology of speed, an often underestimated aspect of the development of sprinting speed...
Ideal Fitness Program
The ideal fitness program is something people have been searching for ever since we discovered that regular and planned training can change the....
Training Objectives
This is a comprehensive set of guidelines, training objectives and an overall plan to be applied to all training programs...
Ten Components of Fitness
The ten components of fitness are the aspects of physical development that UNLEASHED Training aims to facilitate. Most programmes focus on only one or a small number of these fitness components...
Definition of Fitness
The definition of fitness is so difficult to pin down. I have searched for a definition for years, ever since I first started my studies in fitness, strength and conditioning. I have witnessed...
Art of Movement
The art of movement is something you will see discussed in many texts, in one way or another. This is a concept that was visited, studied and developed hundreds and even thousands of years ago...
Body Weight Exercises
The following is a list of body weight exercises used by Unleashed Training as part of the Evolve fitness program. This page includes just simple text descriptions of each exercise...
Body Weight Workouts
Welcome to the UNLEASHED body weight workouts. Here you will find workouts of all kinds in a mostly randomised manner....
Minimalist Fitness Programs
Minimalist fitness programs are simplified fitness programs that can be used for total development of one or more components of fitness. ..
Military Fitness Articles
Welcome to the military fitness articles section. Here you will find articles and information that applies to military fitness....