Being a power athlete is the key to being a successful athlete for many sports and positions. Being strong or being fast is great but if you have the proper mix of both, you become virtually untouchable. For this article though we will not be calling athletes explosive, but rather powerful.
In science “power” is Velocity(speed) x Force (strength) and when these two intangibles meet at the proper levels that is where a powerful athlete is born. Ok so is this something that is a God-given gift? Well, maybe and possibly but the more likely scenario is that these athletes are manufactured and created using the proper training methods.
How to Build Power and Become a Power Athlete
Extensive studies have found that using percentages of 30-40% of any given one rep max is the best way to build power in an athlete. However, I believe that this percentage needs to be more specific to the type of movement the athlete is doing. There are a few movements I believe every athlete should have in their toolbox to achieve the most from their training, but we will get to that later.
Now that we know the percentage range for power we need to understand the best repetition and set ranges. As well as understand the concept of the repeated effort method.
Repeated Effort Method: How to Become a Power Athlete
This method is quite simple. The name says it all, and it is the method of repeating a certain load for multiple sets. Having the athletes do their best to maintain the same effort from the first till the last set. This method works best when trying to increase an athlete’s power. There are fewer reps per set which allows the athlete to focus on pure power output and not worry about fatigue.
A key component of the repeated effort method is to ensure the athlete is performing each set to a standard duration zone. To maintain it within reason throughout the given sets. So for example, if an athlete is doing 30% for sets of 4 and on the first set they manage to do the set in 5.3 seconds. We would add one second to that number making it 6.3 seconds, and that would be the cutoff, meaning the athlete must stop the exercise if they are moving any slower than this.
The use of velocity trackers such as the Push Band is a better way of tracking this! The reason for making sure the athlete is staying inside the zone is to reassure they are training the proper target and being the most efficient in building power.
Waving the Percentages: How to Become a Power Athlete
If we are to use the given percentages of 30-40% as the best percentage to build power in an athlete, then we need to use a three-week wave. Starting at 30% on the first week, 35% on the second week, and 40% of the third week. Now that we know the percentages what is the best repetition and set scheme for each week? Well, let’s break it down by each week:
1: 6 sets of 4 @ 30%
2: 6 Sets of 3 @ 35%
3: 5 sets of 3 @ 40%
Accommodating Resistance: How to Become a Power Athlete
The use of bands provides a huge advantage to athletes looking to build power. They virtually eliminate all bar deceleration. Training the athlete to push past any and all added resistances in the hardest part of movements. When using these as an additive to this style of training, I would not go any more than 10-20% resistance.
For example, if an athlete has a 300lbs squat and is focusing on power in the first week they will have 90lbs in bar tension then 30lbs in band or chain. The following week it would be 105lbs bar weight and 45lbs of band or chain. The third week would be 120lbs of bar weight and 60lbs of band or chain.
Top Three Exercises For Building Power: How to Become a Power Athlete
Below Parallel Box Squat:
Breaking up the eccentric and concentric makes the athlete use force and not momentum.
Trap Bar Deadlift:
The natural positioning and focus on hip drives make this a great movement for power.
The most effective movement for creating power in any athlete, proven by thousands.
Honorable Mentions for Developing The Power Athlete
There are millions of hundreds of movements that will help develop an athletes power. However, some of the movements are not easily accessible by athletes. Maybe their gym doesn’t have the right equipment or the proper space. There could be many reasons why they can’t-do some of the other movements possible.
I choose the above three because most gyms will have the equipment needed to do those movements. However, one of the best power developing movements is the Kettlebell Swing. There will be an article later on discussing how this movement is a great builder of power. The Cousin of the Kettlebell swing is the kettlebell snatch this is another great developer of power.
The biggest one the I did not list is sled work. If you want to build some serious power in your athlete, you need to use a sled. However, sled may not be available to you. That is why I did not list it early. That being said if you want to develop some serious power as an athlete putting some weight on a sled is going to do the trick for you! More articles on sled work to come!