What does Power Training Improve?

The physical formula of power is Power equals Force multiplied by Velocity (P = F * v). For a more detailed deduction of the physical formula, check out the article

What is the Power Training Definition?
Power Training can be defined as the ability to exert force in the shortest period of time. For a more detailed definition, check out

What is the difference between Power Training and strength training, check out

Practical Power Training example

The definition of Power and Power Training makes clear, that there is a certain velocity or speed component involved in Power Training. Consequently, it is important how much force can be exerted and applied in a limited period of time.

One of the best examples, that I am using over and over again, is the sprint stride in running or sprinting. This example can be applied to other sporting actions as well.

In order to propel you forward during running, you need to apply force into the ground. The more force you can apply, the more you can propel yourself forward.

If you look at world class sprinters, they have ground contact times of 60 to 80 milliseconds, so the foot just makes contact with the ground of fewer than 100 milliseconds.

Now, this is the time, where the sprinters need to apply force into the ground in order to propel themselves forward.
This example makes evident, that the real constraint isn’t necessarily the force that is being produced, the constraint is the time available to apply the force.

I have outlined these time constraints for different sporting action, such as jumping or throwing in the article

So, does that mean strength training has no place in developing power for athletes?

By no means, if you look at the definition of Power, Power equals Force multiplied by velocity, you can see that there are two variables, that influence power, Force and velocity.

Consequently, you need to work both ends of the continuum. I have outlined that in the article

Power Training terminologies

You might have heard different terminologies, such as explosive strength, speed strength, strength speed.

In my approach to keeping things simple, essentially they all describe the physical quality of power. The idea behind segmenting it into different terminologies is to describe different intensity zones.

I have outlined that Power can be trained through a broad range of intensities in the articles

The idea behind using a different terminology is to describe different intensity zones, consequently

  • Speed strength refers to an intensity of 20 – 40% 1RM
  • Strength speed refers to an intensity of 60 – 80% 1RM

Using the term explosive strength, however, is a bit misleading, as the term explosive strength originates from strength diagnostics. In strength diagnostics, explosive strength and starting strength are two variables used to evaluate power capabilities.

  • Starting strength is the measure of force that can be attained in the first 30 milliseconds
  • Explosive strength is the measure of the rise in strengthening particular movement

Explaining both variables in detail and the interpretations that can be drawn from both variables would go beyond the scope of this article.

Takeaway message:

As Ralph Waldo Emerson phrased it eloquently

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.

In my opinion, it is much more important to understand the principle of Power and Power Training, rather than different terminologies that may vary depending on the author.

What does Power Training improve – Power Training adaptations

There are three different ways to activate a motor unit. A motor unit is one nerve that activates different muscle fibers.

Bigger motor units have one nerve that activates many muscle fibers, these motor units are responsible for forceful gross motor skill. An example would be motor units that activate muscle fibers in the legs or hip region.

Smaller motor units have one nerve that activated fewer muscle fibers and is responsible for more coordinated fine motor skills. An example would be motor units that activate the fingers.

There are three mechanisms to activate the motor unit

  • Recruitment – how many motor units can be activated
  • Firing frequency – how fast motor units can be activated
  • Synchronization– the synchronised effort of activation

For more details, have a look at the articles

Adaptations to Power Training are an increased firing frequency, which means the muscle fibers get activated much faster and an improved synchronization, which refers to agonistic (working muscles) are activated while antagonistic muscles (opposing muscles) are deactivated.

Concluding What does Power Training Improve

Most sporting actions are characterised by time constraints, as the demonstrated example of a sprint stride made clear. It’s not important how much force can be produced absolutely, it’s much more important, how much force can be produced and applied in the limited time frame.

Power Training focusses on this quality of expressing force in the shortest period of time, consequently, Power Training should be a cornerstone of every training program where athletes have to develop and apply force quickly.


More information on Power Training

The 101 of Power Training for Beginners

The Importance Weight Training Has On Power

3 Steps to Develop your own Power Training Method

Power Training vs Strength Training – what is the difference?

What Is Power Training?

What does Power Training Do?

or the Power Training library