Being powerful is an aspiration most people walking around desire to some degree. Power though, has a multitude of definitions depending on what angle you are viewing it from. In politics, power is your influence and your ability to cause action. In writing, power is the ability evoke emotions and create lasting impression with your words.
In kinesiology, AKA movement sciences, power implies the ability to produce force against the variable of time. As an equation we view power as:
P = F/T.
This equation reads that power is equal to a force being divided by the time it takes to move. Thus, a person who can move 100 pounds in 2 seconds has a higher potential for power than someone moving the same 100 pounds in 5 seconds. We measure power in “watts”.
We don’t need to dive any further into the science and math of power for us to help you though. This article is going to explore why your lower body needs power, what you can do to train it, and how we apply it at CoreStrength1.
Why does my lower body need power?
Power is not just a mathematical equation. It is also an expression of our athleticism and our ability to produce and reduce forces.
- A sprinter accelerating to top speed is demonstrating incredible power
- An Olympic Lifter hitting a PR on a Power Clean and Jerk is demonstrating power
- A person landing on their feet from a fall is demonstrating power too.
In all these instances the human body is working to accelerate a load, whether it be external or just the body against gravity, in space. The sprinter is powerful because they are moving at such a high velocity. Meanwhile, the Olympic lifter is powerful because they can overcome a high load going from the floor all the way to above their head. The person falling? They are accelerating too, but in the other direction. What we call deceleration is known as negative acceleration.
How to Train Power
Power can be trained in two specific ways. We are looking at this from the 100-thousand-foot view and not diving into the specific exercises that can be done for power.
- High Velocity – exercises that lack external resistance (or use very little) are movements that train the ability of the body to move at a high rate of speed. Sprinting, jumping, and bounding fit here. Our time variable is usually very low.
- High Load – exercises that have significant external resistance (such as a Kettlebell Swing) will require more time to go from start to finish. However, due to the amount of load being used, there is an incredible expression of power taking place. Once again, our formula uses two factors to calculate power, and so a higher “F” value will counter a higher “T” value.
How we do Power at CoreStrength1
First and foremost, we always determine what level of power a client can do safely. Every person on Earth can benefit from power training so long as we make it match their needs, goals, and current fitness level.
Power decreases in aging populations and so we must train them to be powerful. Sure, their expression of power looks different than the twenty-something athlete, but it is power, nonetheless. We have had people in their seventies doing step-ups on our low step while alternating with a younger individual doing box jumps to the very top.
It all comes down to our ability to scale programs to the individual. The foundational concepts never change – but people do. Always train people.
See you next month.