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.
Step 2: 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 a 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.
Step 3: How much Weight should I use for Power Training?
In my experience, the selection of load or weight for power training isn’t always clear, and in addition to that, there seems to be some conflicting information regarding the appropriate training intensity or load choice.
For example, if you check a popular article on the topic training methods Size, Strength, Or Power? A Training Method Primer you can see, that the prescribed training intensity for strength, size and power is very similar (all intensities are in the range of 65-90% 1RM), and only differs by rep range and the rest between the sets.
To add to the confusion, the power training method is prescribed with 75-90% 1 RM and high speed, just try to lift 90% of your 1 RM with high speed. Good luck!
I have outlined in the article What is Power Training? that power is the product of force and velocity (force * velocity = power), hence in order to maximize power, you can either maximize the velocity, which means lower loads and higher velocity or you can maximize force, which means lower velocity, or you can work just in the middle of this range.
Check out the table to understand what I mean:
- Plyometric effort: maximizing velocity
- Dynamic effort: maximizing force
- Ballistic effort: the middle range between maximizing velocity and maximizing force
I have discussed the different training intensities, training modes and efforts in the article The Importance Weight Training Has On Power.
Further recommended reading:
The article Power Training for Sport from Jen Reviews has collected some of the most important aspects of the scientific literature and outlines different methods to develop power for sport.
If you are interested in more advanced power training methods, the article Power Training (Methods) from Strong By Science offer some examples as PAP (post-activation potentiation), cluster sets, and a form of VBT (velocity based training) with velocity cut-offs.
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.