Want to run faster, hit harder, jump higher and become more powerful? You asked yourself ‘Why does Weight Training improve Power?’
On first sight, it might seem counter-intuitive you lift something heavy, that also doesn’t move that fast is supposed to make you faster and more powerful?
The article and video discuss
- Why does weight training improve power
- What adaptations are following weight training or strength training
- Which of these adaptations improve Power
I have discussed the difference between strength training vs power training in the article Power Training vs Strength Training – what is the difference between Strength Training and Power Training?
In a nutshell, strength can be defined can be defined as the ability to exert force to overcome resistance, consequently strength training trains the ability to exert force to overcome resistance.
Power can be defined as the ability to exert force in the shortest period of time. For a more detailed definition of Power and Power Training have a look at the article The 101 of Power Training for Beginners which looks more closely at the physical formula of Power and how that applies to Power Training.
Power Training, therefore, trains the ability to exert force in the shortest period of time.
So, now that I have discussed a definition of strength vs power and the application of strength training vs power training, what does all the have to do with weight training?
What is Weight Training?
Strictly speaking, Weight Training is a sub-category of strength training. As I have explained above strength training trains the ability to exert force to overcome resistance. This can be achieved through the use of different training modes, such as body weight, free weights, machines, resistance bands and much more. For more information on strength training and training modes, have a look at the articles
- The Fundamentals of Strength Training
- The Ultimate Guide to Strength Training for Beginners
- How to do Strength Training without Weights
Why does Weight Training improve Power or better Why does Strength Training improve Power?
From the definition above ‘Power is the ability to exert force in the shortest period of time’ or the formula P = F * v, Power is the product of force multiplied by velocity.
From the definition of Power and the formula of Power, it is evident that strength is one part of the Power equation.
What are the adaptations following Strength Training that improves Power?
I have written on the different neural adaptations in the articles
As a recap, the neural activation mechanisms are
- Rate of recruitment, how many motor units can be activated
- Firing frequency, how fast motor units can be activated
- Synchronization, how efficient motor units are activated
The higher the strength training intensity (as measured in 1RM) the motor units are recruited.
The adaptation that follows a strength training, especially a maximum strength training, is that the body is able to recruit more motor units voluntarily.
If you want to read up on the different training intensities and different forms of strength training have a look at the article What Does The Front Squat Work
The more motor units that can be recruited, the higher the force output or in simple words the more force you can exert.
Coming back to the Formula P = F * v (Power = Force * velocity), by increasing the ability to exert more force, you will be able to express more Power (given that velocity stays constant).
Is Weight Training / Strength Training enough to improve Power?
As we discussed, strength training improves one part of the Power equation, the ability to exert more force.
Is that enough?
If you really want to maximize Power you also need to look at the other side of the Power equation as well, the velocity.
In order to train the velocity, you need to use different training methods, with different training intensities. Have a look at the article 3 Steps to Develop your own Power Training Method that explains how different Power Training methods can be planned and applied.
Did that answer the question, if strength training is enough to improve Power?
As you might know me by now, the answer is seldom a yes or no, so here we go.
- If you don’t have a lot of experience with weight training, by focusing your efforts on becoming stronger you will see a lot of returns in becoming more powerful.
- If you are in an explosive sport, where you train the velocity component in your sport-specific training, you will also see a lot of returns by working on becoming stronger. Because the velocity training is taken care of in your sports training.
- If you are a well-trained athlete with a lot of strength training experience, you should combine strength and power training for maximum results.
- If you are in a sport, that is mainly strength dominant (for example Powerlifting), you will see a lot return by adding Power Training and Velocity training.
A quick word to experienced athletes, please check yourself against the benchmarks for the different exercises (they are listed at the bottom of each article)
- Back Squat: The Fundamentals of the Back Squat
- Front Squat: What Do Front Squats Develop and Why You Need To Do Them
- Power Clean: The Ultimate Guide to Power Cleans
- Power Snatch: The Ultimate Guide to Power Snatches
- Overhead Squat: 9 Benefits of the Overhead Squat and counting…
I have mentioned before, that these numbers aren’t written in stone.
What these benchmarks can do for you, compare yourself against these numbers
- if you are not able to get the benchmark of what is achievable, focus your efforts on becoming stronger
- if you get a ‘good’ or ‘very good’ consider adding some Power Training to your training routine
- if you hit the excellent, give me a call
Concluding Why does Weight Training improve Power
Power is the ability to exert force in the shortest period of time and can be expressed as the physical formula P = F * v (Power = Force * velocity).
Weight training commonly used synonymously for strength training trains and improves the ability to exert force and therefore improves one part of the Power equation, the expression of force.
Determining whether Weight Training or Strength Training is sufficient for each individual depends on various factors, including existing strength levels.
Comparing yourself against the benchmarks provided will help you determining whether you need to put more efforts into strength training or add specific power training to your strength training routine.
More information on Power Training
More information on Strength Training
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