Power or Strength: what is more important?


Look, the human body is not a yes or no machine. It is an adaptive/survival machine. This means that whatever you do, your body will adapt. So if you train power, you will get more powerful. If you train strength, you will get stronger. If you don’t train you become deconditioned (you adapt to being lazy).

BUT, do not misinterpret this message. There are ways you can maximise your development in each of these areas. I am an expert in deconditioning. If you want to become deconditioned, one of my favourite ways to do so is to watch movies for 21 days straight and eat nothing but KFC and chocolate. I can guarantee results. In all seriousness though a more important question to ask is what happens to power if you remove exercises of training loads that target strength development? A very basic understanding of physics will allow you to answer that question.

Power= Work/Time
Power = (Force x Displacement)/Time
Power = Force x Velocity

This essentially means that power is how much work you can do in a certain amount of time. Force essentially means strength (it is more complex than this but for the sake of keeping things short, I’ll leave it at that). Work is how much Mass was lifted in a given time. (Not sitting at a desk refreshing your Instagram feed).

This means the greater the Force, the greater the potential for power. So if you remove strength exercises from a training program, you essentially remove to potential to develop a greater expression of power. It doesn’t mean you won’t become more powerful, it means you won’t be as powerful as what you could be.

What about the other side of the coin? Can you only train strength to get more powerful? Yes and no. The answer is similar to above; the potential to apply high velocity to bar decreases. It doesn’t mean you’re not powerful, it means you’re limiting your potential for power expression by only training slowly.

What does this mean? That’s what she SAID – Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands. Train what is required. In an athletic setting, it is what the athlete needs first. You need to know your athlete. If they have a solid foundation in mobility, proprioception, stability, and motor control, with reasonable strength, a Mixed Method Training approach will work. Use both strength and power principles to develop your athlete.

So in conclusion to answer the above question, Strength or Power: what is more important? KFC and chocolate.


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