This past weekend I took my wife to one of those date night cooking classes. You know what I'm talking about. The one where a chef tells you how bad you are at cooking the whole night and your dish looks and tastes nothing like they promised. That one.
Sounds more like a bad coach than an inept player if you ask me, and yes Chef, (if you're reading this), cooking Fettuccini Alfredo is HARD! I digress....
While we were cooking, the chef said something that really resonated with me from a sports performance perspective.
He said, "If you want to be world famous cooking Fettuccini Alfredo, you cook Fettuccini Alfredo until you're world famous."
That is 100% like sports performance training.
Everyday I talk to strength coaches and sports performance trainers and the common answer I get when I ask how they're working on increasing explosive leg power is through barbell movements like squats and cleans.
Now there are some that say depth jumps, box jumps, band resisted movements etc, but that's actually in the minority.
And sure, I get it, it makes sense, you've gotta build workload capacity and baseline strength and there is data to support that, so i'm not saying it's wrong.
Hell, anecdotally, I can tell you heavy squats, bench press and deadlifts worked for me and got me a college scholarship!
I'm just saying those movements won't necessarily make that kid you're coaching the best cook in the kitchen if that's what you're focusing on for explosive power development.
A 500lb squat will build potential for explosive power, but it won't necessarily build the most efficient explosive power in the quickest amount of time.
Let me explain.
The way you get more explosive is to train more explosively.
In order to do that you should train with max velocity at max effort with light load. The simplified premise is this, when you're talking about explosive power, we're talking about going from 0 to accessing that 500lb strength in the quickest manner possible.
Squats, Trap Bar Deadlifts, Heavy Cleans, Lunges, the works, are all great for building workload and the baseline strength. Like I just said though, that baseline strength builds the potential for explosive power.
In order to build explosive power, you must train the neurology to access that strength that already exists in an explosive manner. 0-100 real quick!
This all comes down to rate of force development. If you can’t access your strength quickly, your rate of force development will be subpar and you won’t have an explosive athlete.
You’ll have one hell of a great powerlifter in your Running Back position, but something tells me that's not exactly what you're looking for.
The key here is to understand the purpose of your training. The purpose is to get each and every individual better at their given activity. This means that yes, they need to get stronger, but it also means that they need to be able to access their strength in their given competition, at game speed, quickly.
So yes, you need to build baseline strength, because that builds potential, there is nothing wrong with that.
But once you have the baseline, you have to create an atmosphere that can start to train the neurology of your athlete. Something that allows your athletes to access the strength they have from all of those squats, cleans, deadlifts etc and deploy the hell out of it where it matters most, the field of play.
So if you haven't yet caught the correlation in my analogy yet, I'm saying train for the adaptation you're looking to occur. If you just want to be strong, lift heavy, but if you want to be explosive, you've got to train explosively.
Until Next Time.