Build Power into Your Workout


In my blog on strength training, I covered how to build brute strength.  Brute strength is used when you are lifting up heavy black cats, gallons of apple cider, or pumpkins from the pumpkin patch.  This type of strength is important, but it isn’t the only type of strength that you need…

Today we are going to focus on hold to build power into your workout or your life.  Power is the ability to transmit strength swiftly, like catching something heavy as it is starting to fall over or lifting a squirming grandchild out of a car seat.  Life comes at you quickly, and you need to make sure that you are training your muscles to work at lifelike speeds!  It is a very important type of strength to develop and is often overlooked.

Many individuals lift weights at slow speeds to train brute strength and assume that will help control objects at speed.  However, the research shows us that this isn’t the case.  In order to gain strength at high speeds (aka. necessary for running after your kids or grandkids) you will need to train your muscular power.  Power training at the gym typically include the use of kettle bells, weighted exercise balls, and weighted ropes.

When starting to train power, you want to keep the following things in mind:

  • Stay in controlled ranges – Don’t start swinging free weights and kettle bells through big full body motions in the beginning. Start with short ranges and small motions.  Make sure that you can consistently produce perfect motions slowly.  Then start to increase the speed and the range of movement over time.
  • Form is everything – Just because you are doing an exercise quickly doesn’t mean that you can throw form out of the window. You must be able to reproduce your exercises perfectly every time at speed.
  • Have fun with it! – Power exercises should be fun. You want to do motions that mimic movements that you do in life at real life speeds.  They should get your heart rate going.  When you get better, you can try to do your exercises to the beat of your music.

Here are a few pictures of excellent exercises you can use to increase your power!  Ask a personal trainer for specific tips of how to build them into your next workout.

Power Movements


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Diana grew up in a small suburb north of Boston. She received her clinical doctorate degree in Physical Therapy at Boston University in 2006. Diana started practicing as a physical therapist at Massachusetts General Hospital. While at MGH, she developed a specialty in the evaluation and treatment of complex lumbopelvic dysfunction. Diana is currently practicing at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston where she is the Orthopedic Clinical Supervisor of the Spine program. She is presently a Boston resident and her interests outside physical therapy include cooking, walking on the Esplanade, and international travel.

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