Does More Strength Mean More Power?
If you’ve read my blog, or watched my videos, for a while, you know I specialize in creating power athletes. The magic formula for power:
Power = Force * Acceleration
So, logical thinking leads us to the idea that the ability to produce more force means more power, right?
Well, if that was the case, those big bulky powerlifters would jump the highest, run the fastest, and you’d watch them throw down windmill dunks on ESPN Top 10.
Clearly, there are other factors involved. Today, I’ll talk about three of the factors you have to account for to turn your strength into explosive power.
1. The Mechanism Keeping You Bound to the Ground
Believe it or not, there’s a neuromuscular mechanism that limits the amount of force you can contract your muscles with.
While this might sound like a good thing, it’s actually highly overactive. Golgi Tendon Organ Inhibition limits the force of your muscle contractions to 60% of full capacity.
How do you work around this?
You bypass this mechanism by training in absence of the stretch shortening cycle.
If you don’t know, the stretch-shortening cycle is the active stretch of a muscle followed by an immediate shortening. Think of the vertical jump. The stretch is the eccentric portion, and the shortening occurs when you go to jump.
You can remove, or at least limit the effects of, the stretch-shortening cycle by slowing down the eccentric portion of your movements.
I like to use specially picked tempos to maximize this.
2. You’re Not Recruiting Enough Motor Units
If you’re lifting weights without emphasizing the isometric phase of your lifts, there’s a large chance that you’re not recruiting enough motor units.
Motor units are responsible for coordinating the contraction of muscle. In general, large motor units are composed of fast-twitch muscle fibers that are responsible for explosive power output.
Thing is, when you’re lifting with a normal tempo, you’re probably only tapping into a small amount of the larger, fast-twitch, motor units. The way to recruit more of the large motor units is to perform isometric tempos.
These isometric holds fatigue the first-responding motor units, forcing the body to tap into those larger motor units that are responsible for power output.
3. Muscular Coordination
Explosive movements rely on a complex set of neuromuscular mechanisms to be effective. If there’s just one glitch in that laundry list of mechanisms, the explosive movement won’t be as powerful as it could have been.
Meaning you won’t jump as high, or run as fast.
To create consistent coordination in your explosive movements, you have to be efficient in those motor patterns.
High jumpers who can’t dunk, and fast guys who can’t jump can’t do so because they are uncoordinated in specific motor patterns.
So, Does More Strength Mean More Power?
In a vacuum, yes. In practicality, no.
You have to account for many factors if you want your strength to be seamlessly translated into power. Most of these factors have to do with neuromuscular mechanisms. You can manipulate these mechanisms with the right training program.
This program would emphasize the eccentric, isometric, and concentric phases of a movement.
Want to Learn How to Program In this Way?
In my Advanced Strength Series, I talk more about programming in a way that emphasizes the eccentric, isometric, and concentric phases of a movement.
This is easily the best way to build strength that seamlessly translates into power.
To join the Free Advanced Strength Series, click the link below: