Posts Tagged ‘Power training’

Original post by Jonathan Ross at Ace fit


If you’re going to do it, you might as well do it right. This applies to just about everything in life, and strength
training is no different. It’s too important—and your time is too valuable—not to do it well.

Consider this quote from Chris Crowley and Dr. Henry Lodge’s terrific book, Younger Next Year: “Cardio training may save your life, but resistan0ce training makes it worth living.” This illustrates the essential quality that strength training possesses. Cardio makes your lungs, heart, and blood more capable while strength training improves the bones, muscles and joints—making you feel better while you are moving and doing things.

Here are four common strength-training mistakes and some tips for turning these mistakes into successes.
1. Switching Programs Too Often (Often Called “Program Hopping”)

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There are a many effective workout programs. There also are many great subjects you can study in college. What’s the connection? In college, you sign up for a class and then you attend it several times a week—for an entire semester. Obvious, right? Of course, this is the best way to gain sufficient knowledge and mastery of a subject for it to be at all useful.

Imagine a college that would let you change your classes every other week. You’d spend a no more than two to three weeks in each class and then change to new classes. Just as you’re getting to the point where you’re starting to actually learn something and get a little better at it, change happens and it’s gone. This is ridiculous! And yet, this is exactly what most people do with their workout programs.

No one gets out of shape overnight. It’s actually a relatively lengthy process of consistently repeating a combination of behaviors that result in physical transformation given enough time. And the exact same thing applies to what it takes to get in shape.

Yet somehow with strength training, the simple truth of what it takes to see progress is often abandoned in favor of jumping to a new program after a few weeks, because a radical transformation hasn’t happened.

FIX THE MISTAKE: Once you begin an effective program, get into it, do the work, and make sure to keep it steadily progressive so things get a little more challenging as your body begins to adapt. The rest of this article contains some great tips for doing just that, but no program will be effective if you don’t stick with it long enough to see results. How long is long enough? I recommend a minimum of four weeks, with a maximum of 10 to 12 weeks before changing programs.
2. Lifting…Without Shifting or Twisting
Most weightlifting exercises involve lifting, directly opposing gravity by moving resistance vertically up and down (e.g., squat, dead lift, shoulder press, pull-up). But in life, we lift, shift and twist things we hold, even if it’s just ourselves. We move through gravity, which means we have to deal with momentum. We live and move in three planes of movement, so a strength-training program in three planes of movement is essential.

FIX THE MISTAKE: We’ve done a great job of spreading the message that resistance training (“lifting”) is essential for fitness. Now we need to expand the definition of lifting to include shifting and twisting. The exercise options here are nearly limitless. Click here to view three great examples of these exercises from a full article I wrote on this topic.

3. Never Changing Your Speed

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Strength training is great for developing muscle and aesthetics, but it’s equally important to do it for life in general. Life comes at you at different speeds. Sometimes life makes you move fast, like when you almost drop your cell phone. Sometimes life makes you move fast and unpredictably, like when someone bumps into you while walking down the street.

And yet with strength training, it is usually performed at a slow, controlled tempo out of concern for safety. Somehow, adding speed is automatically considered dangerous. Speed without skill is dangerous. But speed that is added to skill is the essence of moving in life and in sport. If all of your strength training is slow and controlled, then you’re not really getting ready for everything life can throw at you.

To be clear on terms, truthfully “strength” training is done for a low number of reps with high resistance (see next mistake, below). In common use, “strength training” and “resistance training” are used interchangeably, although the former is really a type of the latter. When you add speed, you’re training more for power or reactivity than strictly strength. But the ability to apply some strength quickly is what gets you out of most of life’s potential physical challenges.

FIX THE MISTAKE: Try moving a little faster while weight training—and perhaps even a little slower—than you are used to. The more range of speeds you train for, the more ability your body develops. Add enough speed that it challenges you in new ways, but not so much that it makes your movements too sloppy.

4. Lifting Too Little
A prominent “celebrity trainer” insists that women should never lift more than 3 pounds. Essentially, she’s telling every mother and grandmother to never pick up or hold her children or grandchildren. She didn’t say that specifically, but children obviously weigh more than 3 pounds. Where is the backlash? Unfortunately, there hasn’t been any because, when it comes to women and strength training, many still believe that any weight is too heavy. Despite the fact that countless articles and experts seek to dispel this myth, it continues to dominate the thinking of many people and, unfortunately, even some trainers. To get the benefits of strength training (or any other form of exercise), you must provide a stimulus beyond which the body is currently adapted.

The common fear that lifting heavier weights will make you too bulky is, like most fears, unfounded and irrational. It is exceedingly difficult to grow very large muscles, and even more so for women due to hormone differences between the genders.

Lifting heaver does not mean going from 10 pounds to 200 pounds, so concerns about safety are grossly overstated and unfounded. By steadily increasing demand, real gains in strength, muscle definition and physical ability are guaranteed.


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FIX THE MISTAKE: Once you’ve been using a comfortably challenging weight for a while, try to beat your rep goal and don’t stop until you feel fatigued on the movement. Once you can do two or more reps than your target, you can be assured that it’s safe to increase the amount of resistance. If you’re concerned about going up too much, just progress to the next smallest increment. I’ll tell you a secret: Sometimes to drive this point home with a client, I will talk to them about something distracting while they are performing an exercise so they lose count and I have them keep going until they feel fatigue. I’m keeping track of the reps and when they are done I tell them how many they did. Many people are shocked when they double their target reps with a given weight!


Making real progress with strength training is not easy, but it isn’t the hardest thing in the world either. It’s much more challenging to life a live of decreasing strength, ability and vitality. All you need is the right mix of consistency and intensity. Yes, it’s a little tough. But you are worth the effort. If the human body can do it, it’s best to train for it. So lift heavier weights more slowly, lift lighter weights more quickly, and mix in some shifting and twisting along with your lifting, and you’ll be well on your way to strength-training success.

This post is originally from “Ace Fit.”

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Plyometrics is a type of training that was first introduced to elite Olympic athletes (first to the Soviets during the Cold War, by Dr.Yuri Verkhoshansky, 1964) but we now know that amateur athletes, adolescents, and even children can benefit from a properly designed and supervised Plyometrics program.

Plyometrics is also known as “jump training” and “reactive training.” The main purpose is to increase muscular power and explosiveness for more efficient performance.
To maximize this type of training, here are some points to help you understand Plyometrics:

  •  It is also known as “Reactive training” as this allows the athlete to react to the ground surface with greater speed of movement. The term ‘reactive’ specifically refers to the quick response of the muscles to the stretch reflex applied prior to the explosive movement.
  • Plyometrics training affects the excitability, sensitivity, and reactivity of the neuromuscular system and increases the rate of force production (power), motor unit recruitment, firing frequency, and motor unit synchronization. Before starting Plyometrics training, the athlete must have achieved an overall strength base, significant core strength, flexibility, and balance stabilization capabilities. These basic requirements would minimize risk of injury while performing the explosive movements of Plyometrics exercises.
  •  In this type of exercise, the Type IIb muscle fibers (or the Fast Glycolytic fibers) are targeted, which are characterized by high force/power/speed production but with low endurance.
    • Plyometrics training consists of three phases: 1) The Loading phase (Nerd term: Eccentric phase), 2) The Transition phase (Amortization phase), 3) The Unloading phase (Concentric phase)
    • The Loading phase is also known as the “cocking” or counter-movement phase. Imagine how an athlete does a squat prior to jumping high. This is gives the muscles a ‘pre-stretch’ which stores potential energy in the elastic components of the muscle, like when you stretch a rubber band.

  •  The Transition phase is obviously the time between the end of the Loading and the start of the Unloading phase. This transition is a very short delay between eccentric and concentric contraction during which the muscle switches from stretching to exerting the force to the desired direction. Timing is crucial during this phase as a prolonged amortization results in less than optimal neuromuscular efficiency. A rapid transition phase leads to a more powerful response.
  •  The Unloading phase involves a powerful concentric contraction (shortening of the muscle) that occurs right after the Transition phase. Imagine the power from a rubber band that is released after it was stretched.
  • Plyometricsis different from “Maximum Power Output Training” where the resistance is forcefully lifted at a given speed. Remember that to make a movement Plyometric, there has to be a ‘reaction effect’ – the muscle sort of rebounds to the next movement to create the stretch-reflex response.
  • Focus on being “light” with your muscles: if you’re doing leg exercises, keep your feet light, refraining from double jumps. Same thing with upper body exercises, quickly explode to the next reps.

An eBook you can download from Amazon combines the latest Plyometrics techniques, helping you increase your workout speed and power, and fortify your muscles against injury with each at-home workout. detailed introduction to the science of Plyometrics and powerful workouts in 8 chapters. You’ll train your muscles to move forward and contract faster with long jumps, tuck jumps, and box jumps. You’ll get your body into athletic response mode with vertical lateral, and barrier jumps that will help you perform better on the court and field. You’ll also increase your upper body and core strength with targeted pushups and twists, and use weights to strengthen your lower back, hamstrings, and butt. Bonus tips throughout mimic a personal trainer, guiding you through each workout with expert precision.

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