coaching@joedowdell.com

“What is Power? And how do you increase it?”

Power has been an industry buzzword for a very long time, “build powerful arms” or “follow this program to increase your leg

power” are standard phrases used by the fitness industry to sell supplements or training programs. However, while most people

would say that being powerful is a good thing, you would probably struggle to find many people who could define what it

actually is!

 

Your power is a measurement of strength and speed, so being powerful is a combination of the two. If you are using power to

produce a movement or exercise, then you will also require reflexes and coordination. You cannot perform a powerful serve in

tennis if your technique is poor.

 

When you say the word power, most people would think of plyometric movements (box jumps, plyometric push-ups, etc.), but

power can apply to almost any movement – even comparatively small movements. You could produce a powerful shot in pool,

which in comparison to an Olympic Clean & Jerk would actually be quite slow and weak.

 

Increasing power is one of the main goals of strength and conditioning, and in many sports, the more powerful an athlete is,

the better (provided he also has the requisite skills and coordination). In this article, we will look at how to increase power.

 

Plyometrics for power

 

In an article looking at increasing power, it would be insane to ignore the effectiveness of plyometrics. Also known as jump

training, plyometrics uses explosive movements such as jumps, bounds, hops, and skipping to increase power.

 

Want to get better at squats? Try adding squat jumps, box jumps, or depth jumps into your routine. Want to increase your

bench press power? Plyometric push-ups, medicine ball chest passes, or single arm medicine ball throws can all help increase

chest, shoulder, and triceps power.

 

Strength & Conditioning

 

Remember that power is a measure of strength and speed, so you can also benefit from good old-fashioned strength training.

Just as jumping can help squat power, squatting can help improve your jumps!

 

Concentrating on multi-joint (compound) movements such as squats, deadlifts, presses and pulling movements will all help

massively to increase strength. Through the repetition of the movement patterns, you will also improve coordination, which will

allow for greater speed of movement. Concentrate on low reps (i.e., 3-5 RM) performed at a very high intensity (85-90% of your

1 RM), with lots of rest in between sets – aim for around three minutes rest.

 

Coordination

 

When scientists have looked at the difference between professionals and amateurs across certain sports, they have found that

both the professional and amateur may be able to generate the same power in the movement – but due to the professional’s

improved technique, the ball (let us use soccer as an example) will travel faster, further, and with more power. This is due to

coordination of the movement. If you ever want to use the extra power you have gained, then you need to spend time

practicing and improving your technique.

 

Sample Programming:

 

Ideally, power work should be performed after your warm-up but before your strength training exercises. That being said,

below is a slightly different approach to incorporating power work into your program by pairing a strength-speed exercise

followed by a speed-strength exercise (each using a similar movement pattern).

 

A1) Clean Grip Pull—Barbell—From Medium Blocks

 

  • 3-4 sets; 5 reps (reset yourself after each rep); 2010 tempo, rest 30 seconds
    • Use a load where you could get 6-7 reps but only do 5 reps.

 

A2) Box Jumps—Body Weight—Non-countermovement—Linear

 

  • 3-4 sets; 3-5 reps (reset yourself after each rep); 10X0 tempo, rest up to 120 seconds (or until your heart rate is between 60-65% of Max HR)
    • Beginners should use a 6-12” box and intermediate/advanced trainees can use a 12-24” box.

 

B1) Bench Press—Barbell—Flat Bench

 

  • 3-4 sets; 5 reps (reset yourself after each rep); 2010 tempo, rest 30 seconds
    • Use a load where you could get 6-7 reps but only do 5 reps.

 

B2) Push Up—Body Weight—Plyometric—Bench

 

  • 3-4 sets; 3-5 reps (reset yourself after each rep); 10X0 tempo, rest up to 120 seconds (or until your heart rate is between 60-65% of Max HR

 

Please Note:

  • The goal in any vertical jump is to achieve a maximum height or to put it another way, you want to create the most distance between your feet and the floor at the apex of your jump while the body is fully extended (straight line from head to ankles). That distance is truly your maximum vertical jump height.
  • When it comes to Box Jumps, we are looking to move your hips or center of mass vertically. Your landing position in the box jump should look very close to (or even identical) to your start position. In other words, it’s not about how high you can bring your knees to your chest (which is what you will often see people doing on YouTube or Instagram) but how high you can elevate your hips from the start position to the apex of the jump.
  • Therefore, if you are performing a lot of hip flexion (i.e., bringing your knees to your chest) in order to make it onto the box or if you are landing in a much lower position than your starting point, use a lower box.

Movements:

Clean Grip Pull—Barbell—From Medium Blocks


Primary Muscle(s):

  • Total Body

Secondary Muscle(s):

  • None

Starting Position:

  • Position a pair of Medium Pulling Blocks several feet apart and place an unloaded barbell so each that each end is resting on the blocks.
  • Next, load the barbell with the proper resistance that will allow you to perform the prescribed number of repetitions.
  • Take an overhand or hook grip just outside the legs.
  • Lower your hips (weight shifted onto your heels), back straight, shoulder blades squeezed together, head facing forward, and chest up with your shoulders just in front of the bar.
  • The bar should be somewhere just below knee level.

Execution:

  • Begin by driving down through the heels and extending your knees in order to start the first pull.
  • Your back angle should stay the same and your arms should remain straight.
  • Move the weight with control as you continue to pull the bar just above the knees.
  • Once the bar clears the top of your knees, begin the second pull (i.e., the acceleration phase).
  • As the bar approaches the mid-thigh position, powerfully extend through the hips, knees, and ankles in order to accelerate the bar upward.
  • As you achieve full extension, aggressively shrug the barbell upward while allowing for a slight bend in the elbows.
  • Lower the weight; reset yourself and perform the prescribed number of repetitions.

Coaching Tips:

  • Keep your core tight.
  • Make sure good posture is maintained throughout the lift.
  • There should be no need to actively pull with your arms to accelerate the weight.
  • The powerful extension of the ankles, knees, and hips, as well as the shrugging of the shoulders, is what creates the upward movement of the barbell.
  • At the end of the second pull, the body should be fully extended, leaning slightly back, with the arms still extended.

Movement Regression:

  • Use a lighter weight.

or

  • Clean Grip Pull—Barbell—From High Blocks


Movement Progression:

  • Use a heavier weight.

or

  • Clean Grip Pull—Barbell—From Low Blocks


 

Box Jumps—Body Weight—Non-countermovement—Linear


Primary Muscle(s):

  • Lower Body

Secondary Muscle(s):

  • Core

Starting Position:

  • Select the appropriate Plyo box height (usually 12-24” in height) for your current fitness ability.
  • While facing the Plyo box, start at the bottom of a squat position with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms behind your back.

Execution:

  • From the bottom of a squat position, explosively jump (i.e., two-foot take-off and two-foot landing) linearly onto the box.
  • Hold a stable landing position for one to two seconds.
  • Step down off the box; reset and repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.

Coaching Tips:

  • Use your hips and arms to generate the force.
  • Land softly by absorbing through your hip.
  • Do not allow your knee to collapse to the inside upon takeoff or landing.

Movement Regression:

  • Drop Squat—Body Weight


Movement Progression:

  • Box Jumps—Body Weight—Countermovement—Linear

Bench Press—Barbell—Flat Bench


Primary Muscle(s):

  • Anterior Deltoids
  • Pecs
  • Triceps

Secondary Muscle(s):

  • Core

Starting Position:

  • Load the bar with the proper resistance that will allow you to perform the prescribed number of repetitions.
  • Lie back on a flat bench and align the bar so it is directly over your eyes.
  • Grip the bar slightly wider than shoulder width.
  • Keep feet planted firmly on the ground.

Execution:

  • Un-rack the bar and line it up over your chest.
  • Breathe in; lower the bar to chest level; exhale and drive the bar back up to the starting position.
  • Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.

Coaching Tips:

  • Keep your core engaged throughout the exercise.
  • When lowering and raising the bar, your upper arms should form a 30-45° angle with your torso.
  • Make sure you use a smooth and controlled motion.

Movement Regression:

  • Use a lighter weight.

or

  • Floor Press—Barbell


Movement Progression:

  • Use a heavier weight.

or

  • Bench Press—Barbell—Flat Bench—Bands

or

  • Bench Press—Barbell—Flat Bench—Chains

Push Up—Body Weight—Plyometric—Bench


Primary Muscle(s):

  • Upper Body

Secondary Muscle(s):

  • Core

Starting Position:

  • With your hands elevated on top of the bench (arms should be about perpendicular to torso), position yourself in a push-up position with the hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Your body should form a straight line from the ankles to your head.

Execution:

  • Quickly lower your body toward the ground as a single unit (i.e., maintain the straight line) and then explosively reverse directions so your hands come off the bench.
  • As your hands return to the bench, absorb the momentum with your arms; reset into the start position and repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.

Coaching Tips:

  • Keep core and Glutes tight throughout the movement.
  • Keep your body in straight line from the ankles to your head.
  • When lowering and raising yourself, your upper arms should form about a 45-degree angle with your torso.
  • Reset after each repetition.

Movement Regression:

  • None

Movement Progression:

  • Push Up—Body Weight—Plyometric—Bench—Continuous

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joe dowdell

This Post Has 4 Comments

    1. Thanks, Tony for sharing my post! Appreciate it!

    1. Thank you for sharing my post!

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