5 Ways to Develop Power


Whether its walking up a flight of stairs or jumping for a rebound in a pick up basketball game, we all need power to some degree. Seeing as I’m reading “Can You Go” by Dan John at the moment I thought this quote was appropriate, “Every time we use a technological advancement we pay a biological price”.

Technological advancements are great but it also encourages us to be more static in our everyday life. Many of the posture/movement issues that people encounter today could be remedied with movement or play.

The aging process diminishes the ability to generate power unless you continue to incorporate strength training. Assuming your movement is up to speed, a good strength base is encouraged before moving on to more complex power moves.  Here are some of my favorite ways to incorporate light power development to more ballistic movements.

1. Med Ball Slams

This is a light power movement and great for beginners to hammer home the concept of the hinge on deadlifts. The hinge with a dowel is a go to in order to prepare the pattern for the hinge.

Med ball slams may be incorporated as conditioning for a beginner or for the more advanced lifter, before the lift and paired with plyometrics.

2. Jump Squats

Again the hinge comes in to play. Make sure the “hamstrings are loaded” in the bottom of the start position and land as soft as you can or “on eggshells”. Start position mirrors finish position.

3. Deadlifts

Deadlifts are the ultimate hinge movement. One thing that has stuck out to me over time is that some people advance too soon onto the trapbar or barbell and are unaware of their shoulder position. I have had great success incorporating the medial/lateral kettlebell deadlift. It teaches a packed shoulder positon necessary for the trapbar while keeping the weight off the body and not allowing the thoracic spine to become compromised.

I like Trapbar deadlifts a lot. The medial/lateral handle position is great fit for the majority of people.

Barbell deadlifts are a staple of many programs once the necessary hip mobility is attained. 

4. Kettlebell Swings

Once the hinge/deadlift are mastered, the next step is the kettlebell swing. This ballistic movement can be a great power development tool. Heavy swings for four sets of five are a fantastic way to start your lift.

5. Hang Cleans

The kettlebell swing and the front squat are prerequisites for the hang clean.  Hang cleans are a complex movement for most and I usually only program them for athletes. As you can see from the video below, the elbows need to be parallel to the ground in the front squat.

This elbow position is repeated in the catch portion of the hang clean. Thoracic spine mobility work is usually a good pairing with kettlebell swings in order to prepare people for hang cleans moving forward.

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