Understanding this concept is crucial in training athletes. Examples of absolute power are a vertical jump, shot put, short sprint, broad jump etc. They combine force and velocity to overcome gravity. These are one shot efforts. However, in most sport you need more than one shot. What wins is who is jumping the highest or running the fastest at the end of the game. This is Power Efficiency. In other words how fuel efficient are you at producing power so that you can produce the highest percentage of your absolute power longer?
You do not jump higher, you just jump higher longer!
Below is a good example of how to train for improvement of your power efficiency using box jumps. In my center we utilize the Kbox and the Versapulley for these workouts. However, there are a lot of DIY substitutes. The objective of the workout is to produce as close to your absolute power for long periods of time. When you keep requiring the body to jump at close to maximum for long periods of time it adapts by recruiting more muscle fiber. You spread the workload out so that you can produce the same efforts with less fatigue. It is like carrying a log on your shoulders. Carrying it yourself you will soon fatigue. If you can spread the load out by recruiting friends to help you can carry the log much farther. With that in mind, you are not jumping higher on each jump you are just jumping at close to your highest output longer. The rest of 20 seconds allows this to occur for long periods of time in the workout. These are power cluster sets. You can adjust the number of jumps and the time to match the sport you are competing in.
#1. Establish a box height that is about 90% of your maximum jump height.
#2. Execute 4 jumps in a row, stepping down after each jump. Rest for 20 seconds, then do 4 more. Keep executing these jumps for as many rounds as possible without compromising form or reducing the height. Stop, when you start to question your ability to make the jump. You want to jump as close to maximum as possible or you will just be executing an endurance exercise.
#3. Mark how many rounds you were able to execute. Have complete recovery between sets and then go again. The rest between the 4 jumps allows you to replace ATP in the muscles. If you tried doing them all in a row you would quickly fatigue. As your efficiency improves you will be able to go for more and more rounds. Be careful as these are taxing, both metabolically and they will make you sore. In this example it is primarily a concentric load (jumping up). You have much less eccentric load as you are stepping down in between jumps.
Using the Versapulley and Kbox we add a much bigger eccentric load and are able to accurately measure the output.
After a few weeks of this type of training you will see huge gains in your ability to produce big power longer. Enjoy!
Truth in Fitness
Jacques DeVore, CSCS
Sirens and Titans Fitness