What Are Some of the Biggest Mistakes I See People Making When Training to Improve Power?

1.        Way too much volume:  If you want to improve your power you have to be at the high end of power output in order to get an overload.   Power exercises are taxing.  Too much volume changes the workout from getting an overload in power to an endurance exercise.  Volume should be low and intensity high. 

2.        Not enough rest between sets:  So you get the volume correct, but then you do not get enough rest between efforts.  You want to get full ATP replacement and Creatine replacement in the muscle so the next effort has value.  I like 4 to 6 minutes between sets.

3.        Too much weight:  Power cleans, push press, hang cleans, snatches, etc are the go to power exercise for most athletes.  However you can throw plyos into the mix, but you just have to measure the output differently. Power training has a velocity component.  If the velocity is too low and the force production too high (too much weight) then you are not getting maximum output of power and therefore no overload and little improvement in power.  I always err to the side of more velocity and less force.  Most athletes spend plenty of time on the force production side, so even if you are a little light in the weight in your power training, you are getting a high speed stimulus that you do not get with heavier weights.   Studies have shown that max power is typically produced around 30 percent of one rep max.  If you are not measuring this with gym aware, or an iso-inertial equipment like a Kbox or Versapulley, etc. then you have to eyeball the movement.  If the movement looks slow then the weight is typically too heavy.  Egos will drive the weights higher.  Don’t be that guy. 

4.        You can measure power in your intervals as well:  Time and distance is the poor person’s power meter.  Determine what types of power you want to overload and then whatever you are using for your intervals you can figure out how to measure the power.  EX: Sprint up the hill for 20 seconds and mark the distance.  The next time if you got there faster than the first effort you have increased your power as long as you have not lost a significant amount of bodyweight.  

So remember you will not get better if you do not get overloads.  Pay attention to the overloads in your power training so you can get more time in power ranges that make a difference.

Check out our video on this subject here: https://youtu.be/0NN-r8Psvfw

Truth in Fitness,

Jacques DeVore , CSCS