Speed and Power: Use ’em or Lose ’em
Run a few short sprints (30-60 yards), throw 6-12 pound medicine balls, do some jumping exercises, or do some boxing/kickboxing on pads or a heavy bag. Basically, do movements that require you to move fast and explosively.
Do a few sets of explosive jumps or medicine ball throws (outside or against a wall) after your warm-up and before you lift. Or do a few rounds on the heavy bag as conditioning after you lift.
It doesn’t have to be a formal part of your workout. You can run a few short sprints with your dog while out for a walk. Whatever best fits that day. Just make sure your effort is to move as fast as you possibly can on each sprint, throw, jump, or strike.
Why Do It?
It’s really just power training, which is about developing force (using your strength) as quickly as you possibly can by using exercises that involve moving loads as fast as possible. Remember, if you don’t use it, you lose it.
Speaking of losing it, although power is related to strength, it’s a separate attribute that may exert a greater influence on physical performance (1). Between the ages of 65 and 89, explosive lower-limb extensor power has been reported to decline at 3.5% per year compared to a 1-2% per year decrease in strength (2).
So, power training isn’t just for athletes. It’s for everyone. As legendary Olympic wrestler Dan Gable said: “If it’s important, do it everyday.”
- Bean JF,. et al. The relationship between leg power and physical performance in mobility-limited older people. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2002 Mar;50(3):461-7.
- Skelton, D.A., et al. 1994. Strength, power and related functional ability of healthy people aged 65–89 years. Age and Ageing, 23(5), 371–77.