postheadericon Why power training is important, too

I was so tempted to start this discussion with a Star Trek reference in the title (Scotty, I need more POWER!!). It was a close call. But dilithium crystals aside, we actually DO need more power. A training regimen which includes power training is believed to benefit health as much as one that includes strength training. Power training may be even more effective than strength training in helping older adults carry out their daily activities. It is even recommended as part of training for endurance athletes, such as triathletes and marathoners.
strength training hand_weights_on_workout_mat
Before we get to power training, though, let’s do a quick review of strength training. Strength refers to the ability of muscle to exert force against resistance. That resistance can be in the form of a very heavy weight, from a resistance band, or from one’s own body weight. Typically, strength training goals revolve around how much weight a given muscle or group of muscles is able to lift. So when people talk about being able to bench press x pounds or squat y pounds, it is a strength measurement. Strength training refers to training which is designed to increase muscle strength. The variety of weight training exercises performed in succession (reps) and in repeated successions (sets) is the cornerstone of strength training regimens. As previously mentioned, resistance bands and body weight exercises can provide the necessary resistance to build strength in many cases, although weight training with heavy weights remains the popular choice for strength training.

power training basketball_hoop_at_park
Power is a bit different than strength. Power refers to the amount of work done per unit of time. There is a new component here – time. Power is the ability to do something, but it also matters how quickly it gets done – so now timing and speed become part of the training. Power training often includes exercises such as plyometrics (think basketball jumps), sprints, and quicker and reduced rest sets with weights (usually with much lighter weights than are used for strength training) – exercises that require explosive expenditures of energy in short periods of time. Incorporating these types of exercises into our training regimen can help us to be better at our athletic pursuits, our daily activities, and to be healthier overall.

Here is a very comprehensive article about power training and specifically what kinds of exercises to do.

And to quote Shaun T in the Cardio Power and Resistance DVD of Insanity, “It’s all about power, y’all.”

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