Strength & Power
Overview on how and why I train my athletes to improve Strength, Power, and Explosive Ability—and its significance for Improved Performance:
Emphasis on Technical Skill & Proper Exercise Technique.
Training all spectrums of the Force-Velocity Curve to develop all qualities of athleticism.
Prioritization of Rate of Force Development (RFD) for greater transfer and capacity for Explosive Power.
Create durability for resisting injury and long-term health.
Improving joint mobility for promoting joint health.
Strength training underpins and underscores all aspects of athleticism.
Improving Work Capacity in order to combat fatigue and accelerate recovery.
Extensive, substantial empirical evidence for Strength Training to improve physical capacities of athletes producing enhanced athleticism. These include:
Higher levels of force expression due to neural and muscular adaptation.
Greater recruitment of fast-twitch motor units.
Increased neural drive, motor unit recruitment, firing rates, motor unit synchronization, reduction of inhibitory mechanisms (Golgi tendon organs), neuromuscular reflex potentiation, and inter- and intra-muscular coordination.
Muscular growth and fiber size changes (Hypertrophy).
Fiber type characteristic transitions (Type 1 slow-twitch to Type IIa and Type IIx fast-twitch).
Greater pennation angles for force expression and greater fascicle length for increased fiber conduction velocity.
Adaptations to Connective Tissue (bone, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and fascia).
Endocrine adaptations (hormonal).
Cardiovascular and Respiratory adaptations.
Appropriate, logical & progressive overload for continued growth and development.
For a more in-depth view on my philosophy regarding training to improve Strength and Explosive Power, see below.
My strength training programs are designed to surf the force-velocity curve so as to develop all spectrums of athletic performance—Maximal Strength, Strength-Speed, Speed-Strength, and Maximal Speed—throughout different blocks of the training program based on time of year, current training goal, and other factors. The rate at which an athlete can develop force (RFD) ultimately becomes the quintessential element in any strength training program in order for it to transfer to improved performance on the field or court. Moreover, stronger athletes generally are much more resistant to injury and strength training creates tremendous durability. In particular, the development of the Posterior Chain (the Hamstrings, the Glutes, the Lower and Upper Back) is integral to improved performance. It is argued that nothing is more critical to success in explosive sports than the ability and capacity of an athlete to display a high rate of force development. As the Strength and Conditioning research has shown, these two aspects (Strength and RFD) underpin not only Speed (specifically, Acceleration and "First Step Quickness"), but also Vertical Jump performance and Change of Direction (which concurrently includes the vital performance aspect of Deceleration as well). Further, developing and enhancing the Stretch-Shortening Cycle (SSC) through the use of Plyometric training has also been a major aspect of how I train my athletes. Specifically, exercises that enhance their ability to apply force into the ground in the fastest and most efficient way possible (i.e., RFD) are paramount in my programming. Importantly, I incorporate my programs based on and underpinned by the principles of Periodization (i.e., understanding the critical nature of acute and chronic workloads and its relation to fatigue, injury prevention, tapering, and supercompensatory effects as it relates to time periods and competition schedules). For this reason I try to mimic my training programming to match the demands that my athletes need to account for practices, games, tournaments, and ultimately the regular season, so as to avoid Nonfunctional Overreaching and worse, Overtraining Syndrome, which will lead to decreased performance due to fatigue and higher chances for injury. Therefore, it is of critical importance, as a coach, for me to understand proper and appropriate progressions in training load, timing of load increases, variations in training load, quantity of load increases, and overall training volume as it relates to competition schedules for a particular athlete.
Strength training for performance enhancement (power, explosiveness, speed, agility, vertical jump, stability, coordination) is integral and imperative for athletes that desire improved performance. Strength is the mechanism which drives speed and power, and, ultimately, the goal in gaining strength should be for the purpose of developing speed and power. Research has clearly shown that strength gains can improve sprint performance (DeWeese, 2016). DeWeese et all (2016) formulate that “while myriad exercises and combinations of training tools are available, a great deal of literature and anecdotal information points to the weightlifting (WL) movements as one of the most efficient methods of priming a sprinter for enhanced RFD production while ensuring the transfer of training effect through mechanical and task similarities.”
Local muscular endurance (particularly for the hip rotators, abductors, and adductors) of the glute (medius, maximus, minimus) is also important to develop for decreasing the risk of injury and is therefore also included in my strength training programs for all athletes.