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Power is the ultimate combination of the two most fundamental human factors of survival: speed and strength. We can hear your brain now: So what? What will being more powerful do for me?Will it help me look better in the mirror?
Here’s your answer: The advantage of power training is that if you improve your rate of force development, you inevitably improve neural recruitment, which means you’ll activate muscle fibers more efficiently and effectively. In the long run, this means that when you do pure strength or hypertrophy-type training, you’ll activate more fibers and increase muscular size. Increasing power is also great for busting through training plateaus, a problem that every trainee is bound to face eventually.
Above all, strength is a defining factor in the success of many activities. Being able to generate force to move an object is the basis of weight training and the first pillar of power. To increase strength you need to lift heavy and build your base. Stick to six-rep sets (4-5 of them) at 85% or more of your one-rep max (1RM) on major multi-joint movements like the squat and bench press. Do this for four weeks to set the stage for power training. In the power workout—which we give you at the end of our Power Principles series—general strength training (as well as hypertrophy training) is included, though always after power training, as the muscles must be fully rested when training explosively.