We Love Fitness

best power moves - part 2

On its surface, training to develop maximum muscular power may seem counterintuitive. Unlike training for size and strength, power training demands a relatively light weight, typically about 50% of your one-rep max (1RM) on a given lift.

You won’t be doing high-rep sets, however, because developing power requires you to move the weight as fast and explosively as possible. Load the bar with 90%–100% of your 1RM and your rep speed slows down dramatically.

Likewise, as you approach muscular failure, the speed at which you move the bar will decrease. And if you’re not moving the weight as fast as you possibly can, well, you’re not training for power. 

So why would anyone want to train solely for power? The answer lies in the research: Various studies have shown that the more power you possess, the stronger you’ll be when it’s time to put real weight on the bar because power and strength go hand in hand. And the stronger you are for your 1RM, the stronger you’ll be for an eight- or 10-rep max. This, of course, translates directly to muscle growth. 
The following nine exercises — one for each major muscle group, as well as one that hits a multitude of bodyparts — are the best in the business for maximizing muscular power, which in turn will boost strength and size. Now who said power training was counterintuitive? 
Best For Biceps
Best Way to Do It: Perform these as you would standard barbell curls, with the difference being the chains you add to the bar. As in the close-grip bench press with chains, the 5⁄8" chains rest completely on the floor in the bottom position and halfway on the floor in the top position. When curling the weight, keep your elbows in tight. Feel free to cheat the weight just slightly by putting your lower back into the movement. 
Best Weight: Use a weight equal to 40%–70% of your barbell curl 1RM; the rest of the weight will come from the chains. You’ll have about 30 pounds of additional chain weight in the top position. 
Best Set/Rep Range: 3 sets, 3–8 reps
Best Time to Do It: As the first exercise in your biceps workout 
Why It’s the Best: Just as with any exercise in which chains are implemented, the LVR allows you to avoid slowing down the weight at the top of the range of motion, which will help maximize muscular power.  
Best For Traps+Calves
Best Way to Do It: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and grasp a barbell with an overhand grip in front of your thighs. With a push from your lower body and without bending your elbows, shrug your traps toward your ears, rising onto your toes briefly. Settle yourself after coming back down, then repeat.
Best Weight: 50%–80% of your power shrug 1RM 
Best Set/Rep Range: 3 sets, 3–8 reps
Best Time to Do It: As the first exercise in your traps workout (typically after training delts)
Why It’s the Best: Due to the assistance from the legs, the power shrug lets you drive up more weight than you’d be able to with just your traps. Plus, the calves come into play, especially at the top of the motion, where you should extend your ankles (flex your calves) as much as possible.  
Best For Abs
Best Way to Do It: Lie faceup on the floor 2 feet in front of a wall, feet flat, holding a medicine ball overhead. With your back flush against the mat, perform an explosive sit-up and forcefully throw the ball against the wall as you reach the top position. Catch the ball on the rebound and return to the start. Immediately begin the next rep.
Best Weight: 4–20-pound medicine ball; start light and gradually work your way up in weight 
 Articles & News
We Love Fitness - 2013