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How to Increase Your Strength and Power

Many of you are probably familiar with the writings of strength and powerlifting guru Louie Simmons. For those of you that are not, Louie is an acclaimed strength coach and consultant for powerlifters, NFL teams, and Olympic athletes. One of the key aspects of Louie's success has been his advocating a method of weight training that he has termed training by percents. This method of training involves one training session utilizing lighter weights and low repetitions, which develops explosive power and a second training day with heavier weights and low reps, where strength is developed. Dr. Fred Hatfield, Russian, and Eastern European strength coaches have also used this type of weight training for many years with athletes that need to train for explosive strength. Research results presented at the National Strength and Conditioning Association 1996 conference evaluated this type of training and presented some interesting findings that support these strength coaches practices. Sport Scientists at Appalachian State University performed a study using three separate groups of trainees, group one trained at 30% of their one repetition maximum, group two trained at 80-85% of their one repetition maximum, and the third group trained using two intensities, one day at 80-85% of their max and a second day at 55-60% of their one repetition maximum. All three groups were divided equally in number, training for 9 weeks using the same exercises, sets, and reps. Performance measurements indicated that the third group made the biggest improvements in athletic performance. These findings indicate that training using a variety of intensities during a training cycle is the most effective may to train for optimal athletic performance. Strength coaches and athletes should therefore be sure to alter the intensity of their workout regularly, utilizing a periodized training program that changes on a workout to workout, weekly, and monthly basis.

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