Strength and Power Exercises

In the weight room, using multi-joint movements ranging from sub-maximal to near maximal lifting efforts, including squats, pulls and various presses including the bench will increase strength levels and develop power. Strength and power development will start with lower weight and higher repetitions with a gradual increase of intensity (more weight) and a reduction in the volume (less repetitions) as the program progresses.

Speed and Explosive Exercises

Using the olympic lifting movements and strength exercises with sub-maximal efforts focusing on bar speed and the rate of force development will improve explosiveness and develop speed.

Similar to the strength movements, athletes will progress from lower intensity (less weight) to more intensity (higher weight) during the later phases of the program.

The main difference with explosive movements when compared to strength movements are the amount of repetitions. Approximately 50% of repetitions are used in explosive movements because the physiological demands in explosive exercises such as olympic lifting. Explosive training uses fast twitch muscle fibers that fatigue quickly because they contract rapidly and do not use oxygen.

Secondary Exercises

Strength training programs need to include secondary exercises such as torso/core work, medicine ball throws, plyometric jumps and assistance lifts. Secondary exercises are designed to improve technique, strength or speed depending on the requirements of the sport and the specific needs of the individual athlete.

Strength Training Phases

Phase 1: The first phase of the strength training plan will start with one to three exercises per workout session in the strength movements using higher work volume (10-15 repetitions) and 3-4 sets per movement. In the olympic lifts, teaching the pull and catch with lighter weights will help athletes develop the long term technical skills needed during the later phases.

Phase 2: In the second phase, athletes will progress to 6-8 repetitions with more weight after three to four weeks of training, adding weight to increase strength. Progressing from pulls to the hang position in the olympic lifts will increase the explosiveness of the exercises and be more beneficial for athletic success.

Phase 3: In the third phase of training, dropping the repetitions down to 4-6 will help improve maximal strength. The 4-6 range of repetitions will be the most effective to improve strength and power for athletes. Adding full olympic lifting movements including from the floor will help improve explosiveness and the correct firing sequence of sports that use the legs first before engaging the torso and upper body.

Phase 4: The fourth phase of training builds off of the third phase of training, however, the athlete can challenge heavier weights in the strength movements. Completing three repetitions for younger athletes (under 18 years old) is a great way to develop an approximate lifting maximum. Adding 10% to the three repetition maximum is an excellent way to determine strength levels without risking injury because of improper lifting technique. Adding combination movements in olympic lifting, such as the clean and jerk or snatch to overhead squat will increase the athletic abilities needed for success in sports.

Phase 5:  During the peak or championship phase of training, dropping the intensity of movement down by 15-30% and focusing on speed will help the athlete prepare for the explosiveness needed for the best results during the championship phase of the season.

When starting a new training program, teach and reinforce proper safety and develop the technical skills in the movements before progressing to more advanced exercises in the program.

Need videos on teaching proper technique in the weight room? Try this series

Strength and Athletic Performance Video Series


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