Michael Adams
Michael Adams

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Original Article: https://www.strongerthanyesterday.org/single-post/2017/09/26/Move-Fast-Hit-Hard

   Power. It is the holy grail of martial arts, and sports development. You can be strong, but lack power, you can be fast, but lack power. Power is after all the ability to create maximum force in minimum time. A boxer needs to have powerful punches, a swordsman needs powerful cuts, a quarterback needs a powerful throw, hockey player’s powerful shots. Everyone needs powerful legs. The question is not need though; it is how to achieve this power. Well let’s get to it.

   Power by its definition requires strength. Maximum force output. Our first step to creating power is to build the base strength levels. This is best done with a simple linear progression for novices in the primary strength movements. Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press, and some form of overhead press (Be it military press, overhead press, or landmine press). If you are already past the novice stage, power training becomes part of the picture.

   The second step is speed. We need to develop speed in the movement. Speed Squats, Speed Deadlifts, Speed Bench, and so on. This is done at normally 40-65% of your 1RM. 3-5 reps, with as much speed as possible in the concentric portion of the movement. As we develop this speed in our movements, we can start looking at combining the attributes. Speed and Strength.

   Power is step 3. This requires more advanced variations of our movements. Power Clean, Squat Jump, Push Press. Combined with Box Jumps, Medicine Ball slams and throws. Our advancement is Deadlift – Power Clean. Squat – Squat Jump. Bench/Overhead Press – Push Press. Box jumps and Medicine ball work is a great way to work power, without taxing the central nervous system.

   The guidelines to know if you are ready for a focus on power work are simple:

                        Men:                                    Woman:

Deadlift:         1.5x BW                        1.25x BW

Squat:              1.5x BW                        1.25x BW

Bench:             1x BW                            0.75x BW

Overhead:     0.65x BW                     0.5x BW

   Now these guidelines are simply that, guidelines. Some people will be ready sooner; some will take longer. Long legged lifters may struggle to get the squat to that number; where as long armed lifters may struggle with the two presses. Use your best judgment to know if you are close enough to begin power training. Generally the first two movements to enter your routine are power cleans and push press. Power work is not rushed, it is not hurried, its deliberate, focus on quality of movement. 3-5 reps tops. This is not high rep work. This is technical work that trains us to engage our strength and speed in one single fluid motion.

   Your workouts should break down to be in this order:

Warmup – Power – Strength – Hypertrophy – Conditioning.

Now get out there and lift something!