Simple Power Exercises for Athletes
When I think of athletes, I think of the most powerful people in the world. From gymnasts launching themselves through the air, track stars running 100 meters under 11 seconds, or even a goal kick from a goalie in soccer, the amount of force top athletes can generate is extraordinary. Aspiring athletes who want to be any where near world class need the right training to do so and the right training includes power exercises/movements.
In this blog post I want to give coaches/athletes ideas and exercises , that use little to no equipment, that can be incorporated into their own training. I’ve found these exercises and movements extremely helpful in not only helping athletes further develop their ability to be more powerful but also give them more awareness of their body in space. These exercises are more “fluid” and allow athletes to develop more rhythm that can help them in and outside of the gym.
One of my favorite things to do as a kid with my brothers while we were growing up was to see who could jump the farthest or highest. From jumping and touching a wall or literally triple jumping in our backyard, competing to see who could cover the most distance was always fun.
I’ve taken this same approach with athletes I’ve trained and found success. By simply using bounding and jumping variations into warm-ups and actual exercises within workouts, I’ve seen athletes not only think they’re doing something “cool”, but also work on their ability to produce force horizontally, something most typical exercises such as jump squats or Olympic lifts don’t target. This improvement of horizontal force production aids athletes who accelerate and decelerate throughout their sport because of the importance horizontal force plays in the early parts of sprinting and running.
Athletes who sprint in their sport need to practice sprinting outside of it. It’s a great stimulus for athletes to create adaptations from and there’s a direct translation to most sports. Simply sprinting alone can be great tool for athletes but using band resisted starts and sled resisted runs can greatly help an athlete improve their ability to accelerate because of the extra emphasis on the need of the athlete to produce force horizontally.
Not every strength coach has a track background but having basic concepts of sprinting and acceleration mechanics can go a long way. One coach that helped me with this the most is Les Spellman, known increasing the running speed of top NFL draft prospects, current NFL players, and other professional athletes. Definitely spend some time doing some research on his work as he offers a ton of free content on YouTube that gives us coaches a better idea of how to help our own athletes run faster.
Throws and Slams
Medicine balls are terrific tools to use for any athlete. They allow athletes to better understand how body position plays a role in the ability to produce force and they allow athletes to directly see how much force they can produce. The idea of incorporating rotational work such as side throws and rotational slams is another great aspect of medicine ball exercises. Velocity is an important aspect for training for power with medicine ball exercises so I always to lean towards lighter balls that can be moved faster than just giving an athlete a heavier ball just for the sake of throwing a heavier object.
Athletes need to be powerful. Almost all sports demand the athletes that participant in them to produce large amounts of force and we as coaches can directly help athletes by helping them be more efficient in that sense. Although many typical think of traditional lifts as the means to do so, this blog shines light on other alternative methods that are still beneficial. Through bounding, sprinting, and medicine ball work, an athlete can gain the ability to generate more force and from that find more success in their sport.
Brandon Brelsford is one of the trainers at Olympia Fitness and Performance. He graduated from Rhode Island College with a B.S. in Community Health and Wellness with a concentration in Wellness and Movement Studies. After graduating, Brandon obtained his CSCS (certified strength and conditioning specialist) from the NSCA. Brandon enjoys helping his clients realize what they’re truly capable of and enjoys seeing their growth in and out of the gym.