Power, Power, Power
Power, Power, Power. I crave it ! I train for it. i want it !! I love power !
No, I’m not talking about authority, influence, money or control. I’m talking about wattage (watts). Say what?. A watt is a unit of power. Electrical power is measured in watts. Power can also be defined as work divided by time (W/T) or force times velocity (F x V).
As a strength and conditioning coach who trains athletes, I am fascinated and enamored with power. The more power an athlete can generate the more useful they are on the athletic field. You can always tell who is a powerful athlete by their performance in events like Olympic lifting, 10, 20 and 40 yard dash sprints, standing broad jump, vertical jump and any other exercise activity that is short in duration and requires maximum force production to produce a good result.
Is power different than strength? Yes, it is very different. Muscle power and muscle strength are not the same thing. Muscle strength is based and measured by the amount of force that can be produced against some form of resistance. Muscle power is the product of the muscular force produced and the velocity at which it is produced. Training to improve each require different protocols.
The benefits of strength training are well established and have become mainstream for both male and female populations. Strength training or resistance training improves strength, body composition, metabolic rate (calories burned) , bone health, cardiovascular health, mood and much more.
For a long time many people believed that strength was the most important thing to train for. Maximum strength is the highest amount of force that can be produced in a single effort but in relation to speed, is produced very slowly. Strength doesn’t require or consider speed or time the muscle is under tension. Think about someone performing a bench press max. It usually takes them a considerable amount of strain and effort to lower the bar touch their chest and push it all away off their chest while locking their arms out at the top of the lift. The bar doesn’t move off the chest and upward to the locked out position very fast like it would if the lifter were to use for example, a weight that they could perform for 10 repetitions. The lifter struggles and the bar speed moves very slowly during a maximum effort. While the force production by the musculature is at it’s highest, the velocity (speed) is at its lowest and therefore it is not very powerful. Much greater power is generated if the lifter used a lighter load and moves it at a much higher speed or velocity.
If you want to generate more power you must increase the velocity of the muscular contraction inside the body resulting in the external object being moved with greater speed or velocity. Meaning to be able to produce a good amount of force (maybe not maximum) and produce it fast. Certainly it depends on the sport or activity, but in most cases I would take a powerful athlete or the ability to produce power in an individual over a stronger athlete / individual any day! Power development is functional and transfers to all movement and life activities better than strength alone.
Now that we have established the need for power in athletics and athletes training programs what about fitness? So how does power relate to fitness and not necessarily sport performance? Training for power with your fitness program can benefit you in many ways over other methods.
Benefits of power training
- No matter your fitness level (athlete, weekend warrior, senior citizen) training for power and function takes physical / movement performance to higher levels
- More functional for life – improves movement ability, agility and speed. Training is not functional without speed
- Variable fitness routine (body has to adapt and recruit different muscle fiber) resulting in more complete muscular development or the preservation of lean muscle as we age
- Pushes the bodies strength and cardio limits simultaneously towards maximum capacity
- Produces a higher intensity in a shorter period of time. This increases metabolic rate and maximizes calorie burn while saving time
- Better for maintaining athleticism, joint and connective tissue function and elasticity
- Results in higher fitness levels in an individual especially, when power endurance is developed. Power endurance is the ability to produce high power output repeatedly, over extended periods of time
- Research shows that focusing on developing power might be more effective in managing osteoarthritis in the later years of life
In summary, getting more work done in less time is POWER. Get in, get after it and get on with your day. With the demands of life, people are as passionate as ever about maintaining their FIT bodies and lifestyle but are looking for ways to spend less time working out without sacrificing results.
I am one of those people I just described and I love to train for power! Power training is the majority of my fitness regimen now that I’m 43 years old. I have to be able to get an intense workout completed in under 35 minutes due to the demands on my time as a father of four, a dedicated husband and entrepreneur running my own businesses. I don’t have time to spend hours getting to the gym, training there and getting home. However, I am very dedicated to my fitness and will not let it slip. It is a benefit that I have the knowledge to create challenging workouts in almost any place, space, with or without equipment and any other variable thrown at me. I am like any other person though and if I can have less mental strain and can simplify the process, I’m all in.
Let me show you my secret weapon when it comes to simplifying the process and slaying my body with the ultimate workout for power development. It’s the Bio Force (bioforcefit.com) and it’s truly the power behind my workouts and has been for quite some time. You have to understand technology and the different types of resistance that exist with different exercise training methods and equipment. Most of the resistances are variable, meaning it changes throughout the motion and is inconsistent. Not with the Bio Force and that’s why I love it and train on it daily! The type of resistance that is in the Bio Force is known as pneumatic resistance. That means that the resistance is consistent and challenging throughout the entire range of motion. Also, it remains consistent at any speed of movement, therefore allowing me to move very fast and not sacrifice the consistency in resistance. This is huge and I don’t know of any other workout tool that is made for the in home user that provides this.
I am able to do explosive movements with my upper body, my lower body and my total body. This allows me to train like an athlete, at the speeds of an athlete without requiring a spotter or a workout partner. I get a maximum calorie burn, intensity to the muscle that I don’t get with free weights and the ability to challenge the functionality of my training because of this advanced technology. I also love the ability to change resistance in seconds by sliding and locking in the resistance, going up or down the machine to choose my intensity. It has been the force behind my FIT, 43 yr old body but I’m working hard every day to maintain. My Bio Force is in the room next to my home office. I get business work done and then I get Bio Force work done. I don’t let “too busy” or “no time” enter my thoughts or my vocabulary.
If you’re looking to add power to your fitness routine, push your body to its limits and save a ton of time you gotta check the Bio Force out.