Why Everyone Should Train For Strength & Power
Strength and power training may seem like advanced training methods or something that is exclusively used for professional athletes. In reality it's for everyone.
During my years of taking on one on one clients, group training sessions, and full team training sessions one thing that has stayed consistent is training for overall strength and power. To fully understand the benefits of training both strength and power I think it's important to distinguish the difference between the two.
Strength is the ability to exert force (measured in Newtons) in order to overcome the resistance. In the simplest terms strength training is being able to move the maximum weight possible for a given number of repetitions. This is usually trained in your big compound lifts such as Deadlift, Bench press, Squat, and Rows.
Power (measured in Watts) is the ability to exert force in the shortest period of time. Essentially power training is overcoming resistance in the shortest amount of time possible. This usually means lightening the external loads and upping the velocity of the movements.
Due to the definitions there is a large crossover between strength and power training. Both require you to overcome resistance to complete an action.
POWER = STRENGTH x SPEED
Looking at this formula you might think it would make sense to think to train for strength first. If you thought this you would be completely correct.
With the science and reasoning explained let’s get back to the topic at hand. Why should you be training for strength and power?
Strength Training Benefits
- Building true functional strength
The term “functional” gets thrown around a lot today in the fitness world. Most of the time it brings to mind people doing crazy kettlebell moves or running with sledgehammers and tyres looking like they came straight from a gladiator match. In actual fact functional training is simply training that improves daily function. If you start to think about functional training in improving daily life then big strength movements make more sense. How many times do you sit down and stand up, pick up and object or move an object? All these movements are the focus of the big compound lifts mentioned earlier. Train for these and you would quickly realise what true functional training is.
- Helps manage chronic pain
Chronic back pain is one of the most common forms of pain and discomfort in today's society. With the addition of a well-planned strength training program, you can expect to see significantly fewer symptoms of chronic lower back pain. The best part is you may even get to lose those pain meds.
- Increase bone mineral density
Bone mineral density refers to the amount of bone mineral per unit of tissue. Low bone mineral density (osteoporosis) means a weakening of the bones which can lead to increase risks of damage and fractures. This is more prevalent as we age. It has been shown that with resistance training we can slow down the effects of osteoporosis.
Power training benefits
- Large muscles fibre recruitment
The Central nervous system (CNS) is the master of the body, which means all the strength in the world equates to nothing if you can’t recruit it at any given time. With the use of power training the body becomes able to recruit? more muscle fibres at once, resulting in much more powerful lifts as well as being able to complete day to day tasks with ease. Ever seen those tiny guys that seem to be able to move mountains? Chance is they have great muscle fibre recruitment
- help older adults improve their quality of life and maintain functional independence during the later years of the ageing process.
Type 2 fibre muscles (the ones that move things quickly) often get neglected in older age and this can lead to atrophy and become dormant. With the use of a well planned power training program we can activate these type two fibres which will increase strength as well as dynamic balance and reduce the risk of fall injuries.
- Develop more resilient connective tissue.
Connective tissue (ligaments, tendons, and fascia) are what join our body together. With the use of an appropriate power training program we can see an increase in the strength of these connective tissues. This reduces the risk of sprains and strains.
So there you have it. I hope this has helped to shine a light on the many varied benefits of a mixture of strength and power training. It’s never too late to start and reap the rewards of these training methods. If you need help getting started with this style of training send me an email with questions or concerns you may have