#AskGrizzly – Power Development
Yesterday someone asked me about Glutamine and I think I did a fair job representing both sides of that equation, so I thought I’d take a stab in another direction, something I know much less about. I should probably read some books before even trying to answer this one, but ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat. This is the internet, I don’t need any knowledge or credentials to spread information to the uninformed public! It’s beautiful!
Thanks again to Wikipedia
In physics, power is the rate at which energy is transferred, used, or transformed. The unit of power is the joule per second (J/s), known as the watt…Energy transfer can be used to do work, so power is also the rate at which this work is performed. The same amount of work is done when carrying a load up a flight of stairs whether the person carrying it walks or runs, but more power is expended during the running because the work is done in a shorter amount of time.
Got it? Good. So the specific question was, “What is the best way to squat to develop the most power?” Basically how do you train a squat to lift the most weight as fast as possible, because power is a function of both weight and speed. Squatting 400# over 5 seconds is the same power output as squatting 200# over 2.5 seconds. Mathematicians are getting their pitch-forks and torches ready, there is a lot more to power than this, but I’m simplifying things a bit.
Training for Power
Now that we’ve established what power is, the question remains, how do we train for it. The simplest answer I can think of is to train weights and rep schemes that force you to remain powerful. Sounds a bit like circular logic eh? Well it is, just like Weightlifters train the snatch by snatching. Train how you compete and when competition time comes, nothing changes and you perform how you’d expect. Remaining powerful means not focusing only on 1RM efforts that force you to grind through movements. Those are beneficial certainly, and strength goals cannot be ignored. When it comes to power though, 3 sets of 10 at 75% where you keep the weight moving quickly will generate more power than a heavy set of 3 that you have to squeeze through.
Greg Everett at Catalyst Athletics posted a great 12 week routine for strength and power development based on Olympic Weightlifting, a fantastic book that I am still working through. You’ll notice through the weeks there is very little single rep work with “testing” days every Saturday where you work up through some decently heavy singles. I put absolute faith in his programming, hell he wrote a whole book about programming, clearly theres a large base of knowledge there.
That’s really about all the information I feel comfortable prescribing in the realm of how to program for power development. I don’t program, not even for myself, never have, likely never will.
Hope that’s a step in the right direction for you – I would look into back issues of the performance menu and maybe invest in a copy of Olympic Weightlifting and/or Weightlifting Programming. That being said, if you’re following some half way decent programming you’re likely already doing most of the right things. If you’re following Crossfit.com or your gyms programming, ask your coaches if they’ve got a planned strength & power progression or invest in some individualized programming. At that point it really depends on your goals, ambitions and budget.