In the industry of athletics the ability to produce power is a mysterious topic. Helping an athlete improve their ability to produce force will help them become more athletic. The pathway to produce power is still not clear. There are many different options for a coach to train their athletes and get similar results. Underneath all these special ways of training athletes there are some principles that they all share.
In order to develop power the athlete must have the mindset to perform repetitions of an exercise as fast as possible. Power = Mass x Velocity. For any type mass or force you want to try to produce the highest Velocity possible. No depending on the load being used for the exercise the speed will differ greatly. Lighter loads will move faster than lighter loads. The load doesn’t matter because if you are moving light loads slowly the amount of power will not be great. The goal is to try to move weight as fast as possible.
Keep Reps Low
To train for power you should not have sets with more than 5 reps. After the 3rd rep in the set speed tends to drop due to fatigue. If a coach says they are working on power development and reps are greater than 5 in a set. That is not power development. That is either strength work or endurance. Lets look at it from a running perspective. If someone asked you to sprint 40 meters you could sprint the entire distance with problem. Now if the same person asked you to maintain the same speed over a mile. You would give them a crazy look. As distance, Repetitions, or time increases for an exercise the ability to produce power/maintain speed drops dramatically. Power should be trained in short burst. Think Quality over Quantity
Lots of Variety
Power should be trained with a variety of different exercises and loads. Based on the force-velocity curve training one aspect of power could lead to deficiencies in other aspects. Using heavy loads or light implements to produce force can be very beneficial to improving the athlete overall. The French Contrast method is a favorite of mine to implement. The French Contrast method is when you pair a Strength-Speed exercise with a lighter weight plyometric exercise.(Example Back Squat @ 75-85% of 1 Rep Max and Box Jumps or assisted Jumps Squats).
Longer Periods of Rest
When trying to build strength and Power you will need longer periods of rest. Allowing the body to replace ATP and Creatine Phosphate will greatly improve you training sessions. Giving your athletes 2-3 mins between sets will insure that they are moving weight with maximum intent. Without adequate rest the body will not produce maximum force. To get faster you must make sure that every reps is the best rep possible.