Power Training is Anti-Aging Exercise
We rapidly lose the ability to generate athletic power as we age. Studies show that power begins to diminish after age 40, and those who manage to retain their ability to express power tend to live longer. So, power training is legitimately an anti-aging exercise.
Power has the shortest retention period. You lose power before you lose strength. So power is a "use it you lose it" quality. Luckily, you can build power qualities back up and easily maintain them.
Even if you're not an athlete, the benefits are huge. A more powerful body means a higher quality of life in the future. You'll be able to play with your kids (and grandkids) and have the ability to burst into action if uncertain times call for it. Power training will prevent injury and allow you to do the things you love for a long time. It'll also lead to a stronger, more aesthetic physique. Power training improves your "go" and your "show."
Training specifically for power is different than the standard 3 sets of 10 rep scheme. It targets different muscle fiber types and muscle functions. If you're familiar with power exercises but just need some ideas on what to do, watch the video. If you're new to power training, don't skip this next section.
1 Start slowly
Remember, the reason you're doing this in the first place is to increase your abilities and quality of life. It's not to compete in high-level athletics or even return to your old high school glory days. When training for power, keeping the intent and speed of each rep as high as possible is key. Recovering fully after most power exercises is non-negotiable.
2 Do half the volume
You won't need as much training volume as you think. Just start with half of the volume you think you need. You can always add more later, but if you start too aggressively, it could be too late to subtract.
3 Change the way you think about sets and reps
You can do total-rep sets or complete a total number of reps. So instead of performing 3 sets of 5 reps, just work to accumulate 15 total reps. You could even do 15 sets of one rep, taking the necessary rest in between sets. You can also flip the sets and reps. Instead of 3 sets of 10, flip that to 10 sets of 3. It's the same training volume, but now the quality of your reps will increase.
4 Be mindful with exercise selection
Explosive and powerful exercises include things like sprints, jumps, and throws, but find what's appropriate for you. Not every exercise is going to be a perfect fit for every body. Don't try to do something risky without working up to it and knowing for sure that it's appropriate.
Medicine ball throws are the easiest to implement, regardless of your starting point. The release of the ball decreases the impact on your joints and the stress on the body compared to other power exercises.
Throwing can be performed with an upper-body or total-body emphasis. You can also use throws for rotational movements, which feel natural and don't require a lot of skill.
End your warm-up with 1-3 throwing exercises. Start with 6-10 total throws for each variation.
Throw Series for Time: Chest, Forehead, Overhead
Med ball throws can also be used in an extensive fashion. Get closer to the wall and try throwing from the chest, forehead, and overhead. Perform reps sub-maximally at higher volumes to build up absorption abilities, tendon support, and conditioning.
Try an extensive throw series for 10 seconds on and 20 seconds off. Use a timer app that'll allow you to work on and off in this fashion for about 3-5 minutes. Several throws can be used for these, and it's best to use a ball that'll rebound so that the reps are fast and fluid.
Practice a little more caution with jumping exercises. The landing is where the stress occurs. Choose the right exercises to decrease the stress of the landing and impact or limit the height of the jump. You can also do jumps in an extensive fashion. Focus on rhythm and timing as you go through the jumps. Some examples include pogo jumps or even jumping rope.
The sled allows you to train power in a safe, effective, and fun way. It eliminates the eccentric (negative) phase on exercises like explosive rows and presses. Using the sled is relatively easy on the joints since you're not putting any load on the body.
When using the sled to train for power, keep the reps or distance on the lower end. Think 3-8 reps or 10-20 yards. Focus on doing each movement as violently as possible. The sled can be loaded heavier, but for explosiveness, speed is king. Don't use too much weight because then you'll be training more for strength than power.
You can do sled exercises to finish a warm-up or as the primary exercise of a training day.
Battle rope exercises are typically associated with conditioning and Tabata, but you can also do them for power. The benefit? You can do them in all planes of movement and get your entire body involved.
Do them for reps ranging from 10-15 or for time (8-12 seconds) as aggressively as possible. Take a full rest between sets. Treat these like a finisher toward the end of your workout.
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