In my post, Muscular Strength made simple, I introduced you to some of the theory behind the different types of muscular strength.
Today, we get specific about training to maximize your muscular power. By the end of this post, you will know the ‘whys’ and ‘how-tos’ about getting brutally strong and powerful.
To get you started, I will also give you a ‘tried and true’ program designed to turn you into the strongest, fastest, most powerful version of yourself that you could ever imagine.
First things first – What is Power?
Simply put, power is the ability to move heavy loads, fast. To do that, we need to do two things. Build your maximum strength as high as possible and teach your muscles to contract as fast as possible.
Before We Begin – a brief disclaimer
This program is designed for trainees who:
- Make regular visits to their doctor and have been cleared for resistance training. That means you have no medical conditions that could be aggravated by moving large weights very quickly. Serious.
- Have established a basic level of physical fitness. This is not a beginner program. I will be writing an article on establishing a basic level of physical fitness in the near future.
- Do not have serious muscular imbalances. While this program is designed not to cause muscle imbalances; it is not a rehab program. I will also be writing an article on that topic in the near future.
- Are serious about transforming their body. Don’t waste your time if you are not willing to commit yourself fully to this program.
Seriously, this a bad-ass program and unless you’re willing to train like a bad-ass, you might as well stop reading.
Power = Maximum Strength + Maximum Speed
To develop Power, you need to combine maximum strength with maximum speed.
In a linear periodization model of resistance training, strength and speed training are never performed concurrently. However, my review of the current literature as well as my first hand experience has led me to believe that training both strength and speed concurrently is not just possible; but essential.
With this method, we avoid the de-training effect of switching from one program emphasis to another.
In the linear model, hard fought strength gains begin to dissipate soon after strength training is abandoned for speed training. The same holds true for losses in speed. You are always playing a game of two steps forward and one step back.
Another benefit of concurrent strength/speed training is that since gains in strength/speed are happening incrementally and simultaneously, your increasing speed is not effected by your increasing strength, and vice-versa.
In a linear program, you might focus on 4-8 weeks on your maximum strength. During that time, you might increase your max strength by 10% (X + 10%). Due to lack of stimulation, your speed my drop by 3% (Y-3%). After completing the strength portion of your program, you shift your focus to speed training.
However, not only are your muscles slower, but you are asking them to lift weights 10% heavier than they have lifted. Now, you are two steps forward and three steps back.
When we train both strength and speed together, they both increase together. Your strength may only increase by 7%, but your speed will also increase by 7%.
Remember: Strength + Speed = Power
Maximum Strength Training
In my program, maximum strength is trained twice per week.
- During each workout, you will focus on 1 major movement.
- That movement will be performed in consecutive sets of 3 repetitions until you can no longer perform 3 repetitions with decent form.
- Once you have maxed out your Sets of 3, drop the reps per set to 1 and keep adding weight each set until you reach your 1 Rep Maximum.
After your major movement is completed, perform a series of complementary exercises in sets consisting of 5 to 10 repetitions.
Each of the two maximum strength workouts will focus on a different movement.
As well, since this workout is very intense, you WILL perform a thorough warm-up before hitting the serious weights. Not just cardio. Calisthenics, dynamic stretching, overhead squats, snatches, or light weight training is required.
Maximum Speed Training
Like maximum strength training, maximum speed is trained twice per week.
Like max strength day, you will focus on 1 major movement. While it doesn’t have to be the exact same movement as max strength day, it must be in the same family of movements. (Barbell bench press & push-ups or band speed-bench press)
Like max strength day, you will be performing sets of 3 reps. However, the number of sets will be predetermined and the weight will be between 50 and 60% of your 1 Rep Maximum on that lift.
For simplicity’s sake, you may want to keep your movements consistent between max strength and max speed day.
Like max strength day, you will be performing a series of complementary exercises after finishing the main movement.
Off days should focus on rest and repair of your body. This program will test both your musculature and your nervous system. Stretching, chiropractic, massage, light cardio, restorative yoga, hydrotherapy, etc. is recommended.