The Top Five Power-Training Mistakes

...and how to correct them.




Power training is a completely different animal from bodybuilding. Power is strength and speed, two factors that are immaterial to success on a posing dais, just as the size and shape of muscles has no bearing in a lifting meet. When bodybuilders train for power, they typically do their reps too slowly, and focus too much on feeling their muscles and too little on technique. They may also position themselves to best stimulate growth, but not move the most metal.


  • Learn to explode the bar upward, never by bouncing, but by conditioning yourself to quickly transition from down to up in the squat and bench press, shepherding all the necessary muscles. The deadlift is the purest representation of strength, because there is no downward momentum. Still, pull the bar off of the floor with rapidity.
  • As opposed to their bodybuilding positions, many people find wider stances and grips more effective for power, in part because this shortens their range of motion. However, it’s difficult to prescribe the same approaches for someone who is 5'2" as someone who is 6'7". Find the grips and stances that put you in the strongest positions.


  • Cycle your power workouts, using progressively more weight for fewer reps over an eight-week period.
  • Pyramid up to your max sets.
  • Train for strength gains in free-weight, compound exercises that work the muscles used in the powerlifts.
  • Focus on eliminating weak spots: the lockouts of bench presses and deadlifts and the squat “hole.”
  • To maximize power, emphasize explosive strength over muscle growth.