How to Develop Power, Beyond Jumping

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Last week I wrote a post about different types of jump training.

The point of that article was to talk a little bit about how to change conditions to change the focus of the jump.

Most jumps are used for developing power and explosiveness but they do not have to be the only option.

Jumping is a great way to get closer to these goals. It is a ground based movement and transfers very well to sports.

Some of the same qualities is jump training are essential for improving speed.

Jumping is limited in a way because the legs produce the force and then there is no transfer into the upper body.

Some sports require that force is developed from the ground, transferred through the core, and then the arms do the work.

Baseball, hockey, golf, and lacrosse would all be examples of this. A lot of the time the rotary sports need to be trained with more than jumps.

In the sports that I listed above it is obviously essential that an athlete can turn their body explosively. Those that can’t probably will not have much of a future in that sport.

Jumping is also not always feasible for a lot of athletes. Plyos and jumps put a lot of impact and stress on the lower body. Combine that with the fact that most athletes are over run, over conditioned, and their bodies are failing to keep up.

Incidences of shin splints and nagging knees mean that some athletes need to take a break from the pounding on the body.

Enter other variations.

  1. Medicine Ball Work

Medicine balls are hugely versatile when it comes to power development. They can be thrown, slammed, or swung in pretty much any direction.

mb throw

The movements can be as simple as a slam into the ground and be as complex as a crow hop overhead throw.

A big mistake that most people make is using the heaviest med balls that they can find. Some gyms are buying 14 and 20 lb balls for god knows what.

 

To train power, there is very little use for anything heavier than an 8 lb ball and most people will be fine with 2 or 4 pounders.

Power is developing force quickly. Too heavy of a ball means the movement will be too slow. Slow does not equal powerful.

I know, I know, you are really super strong. Let’s just ease back for a minute.

  1. Speed Work

In this case speed work is going to refer to strength movements, with a light load, done quickly. I like squats, deadlifts, bench press, and push presses for this. Cleans, snatches, and jerks have a place but that is a wormhole I am not getting into.

When doing speed work the weight should be between 35-65 percent of a 1RM (if people still use those) and the idea is to move quickly.

Weights should be rattling and it should be iffy as to whether or not you are going to remain on the ground.

There is even some evidence that just thinking about moving quickly helps to improve power production.

Lighten the load and move it as fast as possible. This will not feel like grinding out a heavy set of 3 and nor should it. It is a completely different method of training and requires a different mindset. Most people will wrongly dismiss this because “it’s not hard enough.”

Some of the strongest people in the world benefit from speed work.

  1. Do things as hard as possible

Sprinting is an explosive movement. When you sprint, sprint as hard as you possible can and you will become more powerful.

The same goes for throwing a med ball or even jumping. Try as hard as you can and then find another 5% more.

There is a movement in young golfers about power development. The idea is to get the kids to try to hit the golf ball as far as they can when they swing. You would have to ask a junior golf coach more about this but the preface is that power development is a skill that is learned young. If the kids just try to smash the crap out of the ball they will be able to control it when they are older.

I like this idea and it is not exclusive to young people. When doing an explosive movement, you need to be excessively explosive. This will help anyone tap into their potential.

Go all out and you cannot help but get more powerful.