You may be wondering, Why would anyone want to train solely for power? The answer lies in the research: Various studies in exercise science have shown that the more power you possess, the stronger you’ll be when it comes time to put some real weight on the bar, as power and strength go hand in hand. And the stronger you are for a one-rep max lift (1RM), typically the stronger you’ll be for an 8- or 10-rep max. This, of course, translates directly to muscle growth. That said, the following five exercises are the best in the business for maximizing muscular power, which will in turn boost strength and size. Now who said power training was counterintuitive?
Best For Chest: SMITH MACHINE POWER PRESS
Best Way to Do It: Set a flat bench in the middle of a Smith machine so that the bar lowers to your middle chest. Lie back, grasp the bar with a shoulder-width grip and unhook the latches. Slowly lower the bar to your chest just as you would during a normal set of bench press. When the bar reaches your chest, explosively press it up so that you throw the bar up as high as possible, to the point that it actually leaves your hands at the top. Upon release, keep your arms extended with a slight bend in the elbows and catch the weight as it comes back down. Reset your hands so they’re even before doing the next rep.
Best Weight: 50%-80% of your 1-rep max (1RM) on bench press
Best Set/Rep Range: 3 sets, 3-5 reps
Best Time to Do It: As the first exercise in your chest workout
Why It’s the Best: When you do a normal bench press, you actually have to slow the bar down at the top, meaning you decrease the force you’re applying to the bar at the end of each rep, which is counterproductive for developing power. With the Smith machine power press, you don’t need to slow the bar down; it can leave your hands, thus allowing you to produce the most power possible.