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Old 02-24-2010, 06:36 AM
gymcoach97
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First of all, which are you most deficient in - strength or power?

The very definition of power is: force x velocity

So, if you lack strength, I would concentrate on developing strength, first. That's the "force" aspect of the power equation.

It is very difficult to really maximize these two qualities simultaneously because both qualities are very taxing on the central nervous system.

So, I would begin with a focus on improving maximal strength. Personally, I actually like the approach of the Westside system for this - where you focus on two max effort days and two dynamic effort days. The max effort days allow you develop maximal strength and aids in improving nervous system maximal recruitment (i.e. "turning on") of muscle fibers/motor units. The dynamic effort days help train the nervous system to recruit ("turn on") those muscle fibers at a faster rate; thus, you are developing the "rate of force development."

Once you have built a foundation of strength, then I'd back off of the maximal strength and put it into maintenance mode. At this point, I'd focus on power through full-body, high-velocity movements such as plyometrics and Olympic lifts or Oly lift variations such as using dumbbells.

Another option is known as "contrast training" or "complex training." For this type of training, you would pair a strength exercise with a power exercise. The idea is that the nervous system would "turn on" more motor units (nerve + all of the muscle fibers that it stimulates) during the strength exercise and you'd get a greater neural effect for the plyometric activity. An example would be something like a heavy squat (reps x 3 or 5) coupled with an immediate set of 5 box jumps.

Now, the research suggests taking long breaks between the two exercises when contrast training - 3-4 minutes, I believe is what I have seen. However, most people that I have seen utilizing this training superset the two exercises. To me, it makes more sense to superset. Otherwise, I feel that you'll lose that neural stimulus that is gained from the heavy strength exercise if you allow the body a reasonably full recovery. I can present arguments for and against. But, I personally advocate a superset approach. A year from now, I may completely change my opinion. But, that's my approach for the time being.

So, those are some basic ideas.
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