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Power Training

Power training is training to develop a muscle/muscle group’s ability to contract at maximum force in minimal time. Power is important to develop in every single type of athlete and individual alike. All athletics require the output of power in one way or another. A sprinter obviously needs power in order to take off fast and keep accelerating down the track to the finish line. An endurance athlete’s power requirements are less obvious. They need power in both of the domains we refer to. The individual, non-athlete needs power in order to sustain mobility throughout life and daily tasks.

Power development is the king of fitness. To explain it simply, it is hard and fast. Power is the time rate of performing any kind of physical output. Power is not only explosiveness as it is often narrowed down to. Power is the definition of intensity, which is the defining factor for just about every positive physiological adaptation in response to fitness training. Increases in all of the other nine components of fitness all rise in proportion to the intensity of output. Since intensity is simply power, it means that power may just be the single most important aspect of fitness. Power is the cornerstone of the Unleashed Training workouts and our most prominent defining theme.

There are two ways of looking at power and power training. In essence all training is power training, however there is narrow, specific power and then there is power in terms of overall intensity and work output.

Explosive Power/Force times Velocity

Power is commonly defined as force time velocity. This is the definition of muscular power as demonstrated in punching, sprinting, throwing, jumping etc. In this sense it is not necessarily the most important factor, it is equal to most other fitness domains in terms of importance.

Explosive power is needed in any athlete who requires hard and fast movement. It is also important to develop power-endurance in many circumstances so that power may be called upon into later stages of fatigue.

Power training is not placed on the high priority list for endurance athletes, however it is an important component to consider. Power development contributes greatly to economy of motion and the ability to sustain lower intensity efforts. Since the upper limit is higher when power is developed, endurance becomes much easier because there is a larger gap between maximal output and sustainable output.

In the individual power training is also necessary. It has been shown in numerous recent studies that the development of muscular power may actually be as important as strength training as people age. Most often power is what is lacking, which results in things like the inability to absorb impact whilst correcting balance.

Work Rate/Rate of Output

Power can be defined as the rate of work performed over a given time frame. This directly corresponds to intensity. The faster the work rate, the higher the intensity, simple. Basically you can sum it up as cramming as much work as possible into the smallest period of time.

Fitness adaptations are not made as a result of overall volume. If that were the case then strolling 10km over a period of four hours would produce the same training response as running the same distance in 35 minutes. This is not the case. The adaptations that take place are a response to the intensity, not the amount of overall work performed. Power output is the measurement of how intense the training is and can be used to predict the outcome of the training response.

Power Training

Power training is approached in response to both definitions of it. Our method for developing explosive muscular power is to specifically train for it. If a muscle is required to work at maximal velocity with a high level of force then power is developed. This is most often developed in short, low volume intervals with long recovery times.

Our method for developing increases in work output over a given time frame are what permeate many of our workouts, most notably density training. We put as much as possible into the shortest period of time. So we may prescribe as much of an exercise or activity as possible into a time of seven minutes. That means you will perform as much as you can within that seven minutes, resting as needed. This applies to more localised exercises such as a pull-up, or systemic activities such as running.

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YOUR COACH – Chris Lyons

Chris Lyons is an experienced strength and conditioning coach, having trained athletes of all ages and levels since 2002. Chris specialises in coaching athletes for speed and power specific to fast-moving sports such as rugby league, rugby union, soccer, Aussie rules football etc. Since 2002 Chris has conducted close to 15,000 hours of training and coaching directly with athletes and members of the general population. From this experience comes Sprint Ninja, based on tried and tested training methods combined with up to date research. Chris continues to challenge himself not only as a coach, but also as an athlete, competing in sprinting events, strongman and Olympic-style weightlifting.

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