What is the difference between power and strength? Strength refers to the ability to move a certain amount of weight. Power is the ability to move weight quickly (Power = (force x distance)/ time), which is highly beneficial for athletic performance.
Training for strength and training for explosive power are not the same thing. When training for strength, speed doesn’t matter. This is certainly not the case when it coms to power development. That is not to say that increasing speed is the goal here. As the speed of movement increases, force decreases and at very high speeds force production is very low. Between these two extremes is an optimal point for power development.
So, how do you train for power?
Unlike when you train for strength you do not want to train till fatigue, each repetition should be performed fresh, as the quality and speed of each lift is the most important factor. For this same reason it is important to take longer rest periods. Loads should be between 75-90% but volume relatively low. An example is 5 sets of 2 reps at 80%.
There are a number of different exercises that can be used when training for power. Although a wide range of sports will benefit from power development it’s important to train sports specific. Olympic lifts, such as snatch or power cleans, are good for sports such as rugby, football and various track & field events. While sports such as soccer or hockey benefit more from plyometric exercises including various types of jumping.
Some examples of different power development exercises are:
- Power cleans & hang power cleans
- Snatch & hang snatch
- Jump squats
- Box jumps
- Broad jumps
- Band-resisted Kettlebell swings
- Sprints (hills, prowler etc)