What is power in fitness?
This week’s What is fitness, brings us to power, a performance pillar of fitness
Power is strength multiplied by speed. Olympic weightlifting is the perfect example, exemplifying the ability to move heavy objects at speed. This is a sport defined by two lifts: the snatch and the clean and jerk. Both movements are a true expression of power, because they can only be performed at speed.
Steps to improve your body’s power
As with strength, you must have adequate mobility and flexibility of each joint and muscle. Olympic weightlifters, along with gymnasts, are some of the most flexible and mobile athletes on the planet. Indeed, the two Olympic lifts are included in many training programs across different fields of sporting endeavour simply because they enhance so many different aspects of fitness.
Before addressing the question of how much or how fast you can lift any weight, you must determine if you can perform the movement. This harks back to a core weight training mantra: form and technique over weight.
Much like strength or endurance, power is measurable and performance based, which can lead people, particularly at the beginning of a programme, to focus too much on trying to improve the performance aspect rather than learning the movement first and how to perform it efficiently. But time absorbing the correct movement patterns will be amply repaid when the focus swings to improving performance and the results can be staggering.
Developing power has many transferrable aspects to other aspects of fitness. Mastering the two Olympic lifts can help build the relationship between all your muscles and joints to work together to move weight at speed. Greater neuromuscular development will result and transfer into other lifts. The deadlift is a good example, as the relationship between shoulders and hips – as the main movers in your body, rather than the spine – come to the fore.
To maximize the development of power master the Olympic lifts. Work on the correct movement patterns first, then see your power performance rocket and overall fitness levels improve.
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