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Power Training For Athletes

Power training develops an athlete's explosiveness, which is important in many team sports such as basketball, football, tennis, soccer, badminton, and volleyball.

There are three different training methods an athlete can use to develop more power (aka "explosive power" or "speed strength").

Power is a function of strength/force + speed/velocity (as in speed of movement).

Stated again:

Power = Strength + Speed
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Methods for Improving Your Power

Improve just one of these two variables in the power formula above and you will become a more powerful athlete.

Let's say you're a basketball player and you want to improve the power in your legs so that you can jump higher. If you can only squat 95 lbs and improved your squat to 115 lbs, you will have increased your power output because you improved your Strength. The more Strength you have in your legs, the more power you'll be able to generate, and the better your vertical jump will be.

Likewise, if you improve the rate or speed at which you can jump, via plyometrics or ballistic training, you will improve your power output, or vertical leap, because you improved your Speed. 

Improve your Strength AND Speed together and you will experience maximal gains in power.

Methods for Improving Your Power 

Method #1: Heavy Weight Training

Heavy weight training specifically for power involves weight training with weights that you can only perform 1 to 4 repetitions. This rep range is proven to develop both Strength and Speed.

You can do this style of training with regular weight training exercises, but I recommend you include some power exercises for maximum results. Power exercises are great for developing 
Strength and Speed.

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List of Power Exercises:
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Guidelines for Heavy Weight Training for Power:

Repetition range: 1-4 reps for power exercises; 10-15 reps for non-power exercises
Rest between sets: 3 mins
Sets per exercise: 3-4 sets
Comment: Always warm-up with couple light sets before starting every new exercise in the workout.

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Method #2: Ballistic Training

Ballistics training is a very specialized form of weight training that involves accelerating the weight as fast as possible and releasing/projecting it at the top of the movement. The type of training develops the Speed portion of the power formula. Ballistic training teaches your fast-twich and slow-twitch muscle fibers to contract and fire faster, and more forcefully.

There are some ballistic exercises that can be done in a traditional gym such as jump squats and medicine ball throws; however, to do many ballistic exercises require specialized equipment. See the following video to get an idea of what ballistic training looks like and the specialized equipment required.

Generally, ballistic training is usually done with weights that are 30%-50% of your one rep max; however, this is not a hard fast rule. Some ballistic exercises such as the tractor tire toss involves heavier weights.

Rest between sets should be around a minute and a half.

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List of Ballistic Exercises:
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Method #3: Plyometrics Training

Plyometrics exercises involve jumping and bounding movements. Like ballistic training, plyometrics training is another effective way for athletes to develop power by improving the Speed at which they can move a given weight.

To learn more about plyometrics and for free ploymetric workouts, see our section on plyometrics training.

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