Increasing the Power

061116 Increasing the Power

By Danny M. O’Dell, M.A. CSCS*D

A review of the literature reveals this common thread relating to strength and power output production.

Alterations of the force velocity curve to the left via increased strength and nanosecond explosive strength developed at the beginning of a coordinated movement are key factors of success.

The effect of strength on power is undeniable. But how you get it is open to debate. The effect of an athletic movement is the result of our body’s interaction with the controlling environment, be it another person or an object. Most movements begin and end with a zero velocity, therefore the majority of the power must be contained within the force velocity curve. Generally speaking this will be in or near the center of the curve also called the abscissa. Increasing the effect on the external environment results from increasing this area of the curve.

Training explosively-not in a ballistic manner-will move the force curve to the left, which means more strength, is needed to overcome the resistance in a very short period. Coordination of movement efficiency is also a necessary ingredient in this formula of power production. Combining the two with excellent training planning will lead to success.

Overcoming the resistance proceeds in this fashion:

1. Force or power increases are fairly uniform during the course of the exercise movement.
2. There is an insignificant decrease in duration of movement due to the training.
3. After which there is a significant increase in the maximum force with an attending decreased in the duration of the movement-its now moving rapidly.
4. The final stages of the training effect results in an increase in the initial force developed at the beginning of the movement, some increase in the maximal force displayed, all followed by a decrease in the completion time.

In the strength sports, it’s the first push on the resistance that often determines success or failure. The ability to recruit and synchronize the fast acting power producing type two-A and B fibers is the goal.

Plyometric’s is one method of attaining a significant increase in maximal force applied at the beginning of the movement and shortening the duration of the time of execution. In order for a plyometric exercise to work correctly, the muscles, by definition must first be stretched. Then at the exact moment when the eccentric motion changes to the concentric action, the muscles have to be able to ‘express great force’ to overcome this momentary direction change.

The outcome of a good training regimen shows up in these areas:

1. Increased maximum working force
2. Displacement of the instant of achieving maximum force to the beginning of the working muscular tension
3. An increase in the working amplitude of the movement and a shortening of its time of execution

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