The importance of power training for everyone

Workout Anytime
Greg Maurer

People typically think power training is only good for athletes, but power training is important for everyone – including seniors!

Power is the ability to produce force quickly which is not the same as strength – although there is a relationship between strength and power. Using power specific training along with strength training is the key to building power.

The reason power is important is that in sport, and in life in general – things often happen quickly. As such if you are not capable of moving quickly bad things can happen.

For example if you step on an unstable surface and become unbalanced – your ability to quickly adjust is the key to preventing a fall. Another example is if you are walking across a road and driver is texting and drifts over the yellow line and is heading right for you!  Your ability to quickly move can literally make the difference between life or death.

Furthermore, as you age you lose fast-twitch muscle fiber – the fibers that produce explosive force which is why power training is very important for aging adults!

What is Power Training?

Power training involves fast movement with a load, and there are many different ways to achieve this.  The most well known is barbell Olympic lifts like the clean, high pull, and snatch.

While these exercises are definitely effective for power development – they also have several key drawbacks including:

  1. Done incorrectly they have a very high injury potential.
  2. Proper execution takes lots of practice with a good coach trained in how to coach these movements.
  3. They demand high levels of mobility which many people lack.
  4. They take a lot of space.

Practical Power Training Exercises

The great news is that there are many power exercises that do not involve high levels of skill or mobility and have a much lower risk of injury including:

  1. Single Arm Dumbbell Cleans and Snatches – because they involve one arm the movement is much easier to learn and requires much less shoulder mobility.In addition in the event you have an issue it is easy to drop the dumbbell to the side unlike a barbell.
  2. Medicine Ball Throws – are super easy to learn and because the ball is padded there is not a whole lot of risk.Many different options from wall ball throws (overhead, underhand, sideways, etc.) are available.   To learn the one arm dumbbell snatch and some key medicine ball exercises check out this excellent instructional video from Mike Boyle:
  3. Ultimate Sandbag Cleans and Snatches – the ultimate Sandbag provides several highly effective functional power exercises that can be safely including cleans and snatches.The advantage of using this bag is that it really changes stability so that you can use less resistance but get more functional benefit out of the exercises without high injury risk.  To get a sense of all the benefits of this amazing product for functional power development check out this video:

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