The Best Tool for Developing Explosive Power Without Getting Injured
There are two primary goals of any athletic Strength & Conditioning program.
The first is to avoid hurting the athletes.
The second is to increase their bodies capacity to produce force, absorb force, and move without restriction.
It’s often said that to be fast on the field/court/pitch, one must train with a fast speed of motion during Strength & Conditioning.
“Train fast to be fast” is commonly heard in Strength & Conditioning facilities around the world, often accompanied by the assertion that if you move slowly during training, you’ve simply trained your nervous system to move slowly during competition.
The truth, however, is that the development of maximum levels of strength—regardless of the speed employed in training—is far more potent for this purpose, while reducing the risk of training-related injury in the process.
While there are other elements that must also be addressed, it is nonetheless true that strength—the muscles’ ability to produce force—must be maximized for an athlete’s explosive power to be maximized.
A stronger athlete is a faster and more explosive athlete, and it is not necessary to “train fast” to produce this result.
In fact, the increased risk of injury that follows increased speeds used in training makes “training fast” counterproductive to the primary goal of all athletic strength and conditioning programs.
So often, when athletes suffer a workout injury they take the blame—we believe that it’s their fault because they were misusing the equipment.
This misunderstanding ignores the fact that outdated technology makes resistance exercise inherently more dangerous and increases the risk for injury in physical training.
As the safer alternative, Adaptive Resistance™ allows athletes to build their strength without worrying about getting injured in the process.
When you eliminate injuries, you open up the door for all of the desired benefits of strength training.
It is vitally important that athletes and trainers of athletes begin to more fully understand how and why this is true.
The Simplest Explanation
The truth that an athlete becomes more explosive as he gets stronger is easily understood in the following example, modified and adapted from this absolutely golden excerpt from a seminar given by Nautilus inventor Arthur Jones:
A young man comes into the gym and he’s never touched a weight in his life. And we put him in a leg press machine to test his strength.
Why a machine? Because we’re testing his strength, not his skill. Either he can raise it or he can’t. Either he can lift it or he can’t. He doesn’t have to balance it, he doesn’t have to have good technique, he doesn’t have to ‘hit the groove’…again, we don’t care about his skill, we want to test his strength.
And through testing, we find that he can lift 200lbs once in the leg press. Just barely. He gets it up there, but that’s all he can do. Not very fast, not very explosive.
So we rest him for ten minutes and then give him 210lbs. And he cannot move it. It’s too heavy.
Then we rest him for another ten minutes and give him 100lbs. We find that he can lift it, and his speed of movement is much faster than his speed during the 200lb lift. He is faster and more explosive with a weight that represents 50% of his one-repetition maximum.
Now it’s six months later, he’s been training regularly on ARX’s adaptive resistance™ equipment—using a speed of motion that most would consider very slow—and we see that his max force production numbers are about twice what they were at first.
So we take him back into the gym, back to the same leg press machine, and we give him 400lbs. And he pushes it up. Not very fast, but it goes up.
He is twice as strong as he was six months earlier. Six months earlier he could do it with 200lbs, now he can do it with 400lbs.
Are we now really dumb enough to believe that if we gave him 200lbs he would still only be able to move it at the speed he moved it on the first day—only very slowly?
Check your math. At first, he was able to move 50% of his one-repetition maximum very quickly and powerfully. Six months later, is this not still true?
Some would have you believe that because our trainee didn’t train fast during the six months in which we doubled his strength, he will now not be able to move any faster or more explosively when called upon to perform the same task as the initial strength test.
The obvious truth is that when your one-rep max is 200lbs you’ll be able to move 200lbs only very slowly. If your one-rep max is 400lbs you’ll be able to move 200lbs very quickly and powerfully.
The same physical task, but the athlete is much more explosive in the task as the athlete’s strength increases.
The Elusive Obvious
The reasoning above seems obvious in retrospect, but you’d be lucky to find one strength coach in a hundred who appreciates the implications of the relationship between maximum strength per se and the explosive power of the athlete.
“The Best Way to Develop Explosive Power,” where we will put this theoretical framework into practice and show some examples of exactly why and how a stronger athlete is—necessarily—a faster and more explosive athlete.