Power Fitness: The Right Balance of Speed and Strength

Power fitness for sports means developing an optimum balance of speed and strength for competitive sports. Training programs can be adjusted for athletes' individual capabilities and the nature of sport demands.

Power is defined by some as the rate at which mechanical work is done. Another definition is the time it takes for work to be done. Scientists often measure the rate of work in watts. For athletes, it is a matter of how quickly he or she can generate force, or force x velocity. An athlete's performance is compromised if he or she is very strong, but slow or very fast, but weak.

Coaches must consider the role of power in performance. Rather than power alone, acceleration, or increasing the rate of force, is key to achieving the best training results. So, the force used to lift a weight should not only take into consideration the mass of the weight but also the acceleration.

Analyzing the extent to which it is combined with other fitness components and in which skills it is required are keys to developing an effective training program.

Coaches must find the right balance of explosive training exercises that most effectively transfer to sport-related skills.

Coaching Tips for Developing Power Fitness

1. Include an optimum balance of strength training, plyometric exercises, medicine ball activities, and reaction drills that contribute to the development for key sport skills.

2. Include Olympic lifting exercises and variations in the weight training program. These lifts combine speed and strength, plus they simulate vertical jumping and sprinting movements and involve rapid foot repositioning.

Split Jerk

3. Test athletes to determine how to adjust the speed-strength balance of training activities. Those athletes who tend to be naturally slower, can benefit from overloading speed work, while athletes who gain strength quickly can emphasize strength work. See

4. All training should build efficient skill movements. For example, correct excessive rotation of the shoulders and trunk during plyometric exercises.

5. As with agility training, consider how to focus on specific cues and anticipation of reacting to situations can enhance the implementation of explosive training activities.

Strength Training for Power is an article by Roger Marandino that makes applications for training. It is published in NSCA's Performance Training Journal.

Related topics:

Muscular Power Development Training

Related Sports Fitness Training pages:

Agility Fitness

Strength Fitness

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