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A box jump, which is a lower body power exercise
Continuing Education3 Credits

Power (High-velocity) Training: Introduction

Introduction to power and high-velocity training - recommended progressions, sets, and repetitions for upper and lower body power and explosive exercise. Muscular, neural, and force requirement between power training, strength training, and Olympic lifting.

Course Description: Power Training

This course discusses power training, which could be viewed as a type of strength training (a.k.a. weight training, resistance training, strength workout) specifically designed to improve activities that require high velocity or maximal speed. For example, a power training routine may be designed to improve vertical jump height, and may not be beneficial for improving 1-repetition maximum strength during a back squat.

A comprehensive systematic research review is included in this course, detailing the neural adaptations, muscle adaptations (morphological changes), effect on short and long-term hormone concentrations, comparisons between strength and power training, and evidence-based recommendations for acute variables (reps, intensity, frequency, volume, power specific cues) and programming. Some findings from the included systematic review resulted in counter-intuitive, or at least less conventional recommendations. For example, the use of bodyweight resistance during many exercises may be more beneficial than barbell-loaded variations, and there is research to suggest that Olympic lifts are not ideal for power training.

Movement professionals (personal trainers, fitness instructors, physical therapists, athletic trainers, massage therapists, chiropractors, occupational therapists, etc.) should consider power training a pillar of athletic performance training, and potentially beneficial for fitness and rehabilitation programs. This course is part of our continued effort to optimize, evidence-based “exercise program design” recommendations.

Additional Courses:

Some Helpful Definitions for Learning about Power Training

  • Power - “How fast did you work?”, Power = Force x Distance/Time. In health and human performance power most often refers to high-velocity activity.
  • Force-velocity curve - The force-velocity curve expresses the relationship between the amount of force a muscle can generate and the velocity of the moving joint. Generally, an increase in peak power will result in a shift up and to the right of the force/velocity curve, representing a significant increase in the rate of force development (RFD).
  • Amortization phase - The transitional phase between eccentric and concentric contractions. For example, during a counter movement jump (CMJ), the initial quick descent and backswing of the arms would be the eccentric phase, and the bottom position would be the amortization phase. Generally, the focus is placed on shortening the amortization phase during training.
  • Stretch Shortening Cycle (SSC) - A successive combination of eccentric and concentric action; resulting in more power generated during the concentric action than would be generated if the concentric action was performed alone. Research suggests high-velocity SSC contractions start with a forceful eccentric lengthening of muscle fibers while EMG activity increases, followed by a period of near isometric contraction of the activated muscle fibers while the tendon continues to lengthen, followed by shortening of both the tendon and the muscle fiber complex during the concentric contraction.

Brookbush Institute Position Statement for Power Training

A combination of max strength and power training is likely ideal for improving high-velocity activity performance. When training specifically for power (maximum velocity and speed), repetition velocity is the most important acute variable. Repetitions should include a stretch-shortening cycle and a force-velocity curve that is analogous to the activities being trained for. Generally, this implies that power training repetitions should include a quick eccentric load, an amortization phase, a follow-through (no deceleration to stay on the ground or hold on to an object), and soft catches and landings. Load should be limited to the amount of resistance that can be used without decreasing velocity. Research implies that ideal acute variable recommendations for power exercise are 3-5 sets/muscle group and 3-10 repetitions performed until velocity decreases/set.

Study Guide: Power (High-velocity) Training: Introduction

Introduction: Power Training

2 sub-categories

Summary of Research Review

4 sub-categories

Definitions (Foundational Concepts)

2 sub-categories

Neural Adaptations

4 sub-categories

Muscle Fiber Adaptations

4 sub-categories

Hormones, Enzymes and Power

Relationship Between Strength and Power

Training Modalities

4 sub-categories

Acute Variables

2 sub-categories

Why Not Olympic Lifts

Power Training Progressions

2 sub-categories

Practical Application Summary


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1. Terminology

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