Are you looking to become more powerful for your sport? The best way to do that is to find the right method for your Power Training, right?

The aim of this article is to show you, how you can design your own Power Training Method!

Bold statement?

Just read on, no strings attached.

There are quite a few different strength training methods out there and in late 2015 EliteFTS published 20 Most Popular Training Methods of 2015  based on a survey to find out what are the most popular strength training methods. In conclusion, strength training methods or training methods in general are a hot topic.

While my take on training methods is a bit different, I would like to quote Ralph Waldo Emerson

“As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.”

This quote outlines the importance of understanding the underlying principles, which will ultimately allow you to select your own method or give you the ability to evaluate popular methods whether they make sense or not.

What Method to use for Power Training?

What are strength training methods and power training methods? 

While strength training methods and power training methods have certainly evolved over time, if you look at early definitions in the classic sport science literature, you can see three different types of training methods.

The continuous method

The interval method (further divided into extensive interval method and intensive interval method)

The repetition method

The methods are based on the rest periods between efforts or the work to rest ratio.

 

Training Method

Rest

Continuous MethodNo rest
Interval MethodIncomplete rest
Repetition MethodComplete rest

 

The rationale behind these training methods is based on the energy supply and the duration it takes to replenish energy for the next effort.

The human body makes use of 3 distinct energy systems

  • The Phosphagen System (ATP – CP System), which delivers high amounts of energy and lasts for short a duration
  • The Glycolytic System, which delivers moderate amounts of energy and lasts for a medium duration. The glycolytic system can further be sub-divided into the aerobic glycolysis (delivering energy in the presence of oxygen) and the anaerobic glycolysis (delivering energy in the absence of oxygen)
  • The Oxidative System, which delivers low amounts of energy and lasts for a long duration

Please note, that all energy systems work at the same time, depending on the intensity there will be a dominant energy system. For more information on energy systems read the article from Breaking Muscle Understanding Energy Systems: ATP-PC, Glycolytic, and Oxidative, Oh My! –  or have a look at the video below

To be honest, they missed the aerobic glycolysis in this video.

Have a look how that unfolds in the table below.

 

Training Method

Rest

Dominant Energy System

Continuous MethodNo restOxidative System
Interval Method (extensive)Incomplete restAerobic Glycolysis
Interval Method (intensive)Incomplete restAnaerobic Glycolysis
Repetition MethodComplete restPhosphagen System

 

As you have already seen in the video, each energy system provides energy for a certain amount of time before it’s literally empty.

Let’s use the numbers below as a rough guideline

 

Training Method

Rest

Dominant Energy System

Time (in sec)

Continuous MethodNo restOxidative System<  120 sec
Interval Method (extensive)Incomplete restAerobic Glycolysis> 120 sec
Interval Method (intensive)Incomplete restAnaerobic Glycolysis> 60 sec
Repetition MethodComplete restPhosphagen System> 6 sec

 

So the next look is to see, how long it takes to restore each energy system. Once you know how long it takes to restore or replenish the energy system for the next effort, you can determine the rest period in seconds or minutes.

 

Training Method

Rest

Dominant Energy System

Time

(in sec)

Rest

(in mins)

Continuous MethodNo restOxidative System< 120
Interval Method (extensive)Incomplete restAerobic Glycolysis>1201 – 2
Interval Method (intensive)Incomplete restAnaerobic Glycolysis>602 – 3
Repetition MethodComplete restPhosphagen System>6>3 – 5

 

As we have discussed in previous articles, Power Training requires a great effort

Consequently, you need the Phosphagen system to supply sufficient energy to produce high amounts of Power and you need to give the Phosphagen system enough time after your effort to restore or replenish sufficient energy for the next effort (set).

How many repetitions for Power Training?

Let’s look at the table

Power Training Strength Training Energy Systems Strength Training Methods

Power Training, Energy Systems, Strength Training Methods

The question that stands out is basically how many reps can you squeeze into 6 seconds.

As a practitioner I say, it will be around

  • 4 – 6 hurdle jumps
  • 2 – 5 box jumps
  • 3 – 4 weighted Jump Squats
  • 6 – 8 repeated med ball wall drills

So you get a good idea, how many reps you can do for Power Development.

How many sets for Power Training? 

As I have outlined in the article The Holy Grail of Strength Training – Sets and Reps there is a close relation between repetitions, sets and intensity / load.

In Power Training the load is not necessarily a limiting factor, since it’s most of the times sub-maximal loads, but it’s a maximal effort.

The fact that every repetition is a maximal effort leads to low training volumes (total reps : reps * sets). To be really honest, there are a few sources, which suggest total amount of repetitions for a Power Training, but I have found from my experience that the training volume should be much lower than what is usually prescribed. The reason is, that you are looking for a high quality in effort, which can be measured in velocity (in meters per second) or Power (measured in Watts) and what I have seen is that athletes are just not able to maintain high velocity or high Power output for an extended period of time.

My deduction from that (which is purely based on my observation and experience) is that I tend to keep total training volume at the lower end of the spectrum around 15 – 30 total reps per session.

How much Weight should I use for Power Training? 

I have discussed different training intensities, training modes and efforts in the article The Importance Weight Training Has On Power and I have attached the table from that article here below.

Intensity

Mode

Effort

50 – 70% 1RMFree weights

with accommodating resistance

Dynamic effort
20 – 50% 1RMFree weights

Medium-light implements (kettlebells, medicine balls)

Ballistic effort
0 – 20% 1RMBodyweight

Light implements (medicine balls)

Plyometric effort

 

Concluding What Method to use for Power Training

The intention of this article was you being able to design your own Power Training method and your own Power Training program. So here are the steps:

  • Chose a load and training mode appropriate to your training goal
  • Chose a repetition and set scheme, taking the total training volume in consideration
  • Ensure enough rest between sets so the energy system is restored and able to deliver sufficient energy in the next set

There you have it, your own Power Training method in three steps.

More information on Power Training

The 101 of Power Training for Beginners

The Importance Weight Training Has On Power

What Is Power Training?

What does Power Training Do?

What Is Plyometric Training?

What are the Benefits of Plyometric Training?