by Scott Silveira, M.S., R.C.E.P
Exercise Physiologist at California Health & Longevity Institute
As we forge into 2018, most New Year’s fitness resolutions focus on the classics:
- Get stronger
- Build more muscle
- Trim fat
While these are good goals, they may not equate to what you actually want to achieve. Do you just want to look good or do you want to perform better and live healthier? When it comes to function, performance and longevity, your number one resolution should be POWER. Power is the ability to generate as much force as fast as possible and therefore requires a combination of speed and strength.
Why Power is Important
Every year, our ability to produce power decreases more than our ability to produce strength. This is due to the use-it-or-lose-it principle. In order to generate power, our motor cortex neurons need to communicate to our muscle fibers. However, when they stop communicating, the muscle fiber responsible for power begins to die.
What Happens When We Lose It?
A loss of power may contribute to an array of health conditions including but not limited to decreased muscle mass, slower metabolism, reduced speed, or even shortened life expectancy. Therefore, increasing power should be on everyone’s resolution list.
Incorporate power training into your strength and conditioning program. Power training, unlike traditional strength training or cardiovascular exercise, emphasizes quick movements. This is intended to stimulate fast twitch muscle fibers a.k.a. your power fibers and their respective motor neurons.
- Use light weight; no more than 35-45% of your maximum capacity
- Use resistance bands, medicine balls or your own body weight
- Repeat exercises 5-10 times in a controlled manner
Top 6 Exercises to Build Power
- Medicine Ball Slam
- Platform Jump
- Plyo Push-UP
- Ice Skateres
- Lawn Mower Starts
- Mountain Climbers
*Due to the ballistic nature of this type of exercise there may be an increased risk of sports injury if proper attention is not given. For further help and guidance, please seek a qualified trainer.