I’ve talked about the importance of choosing the right exercises to develop power in my article ‘Strength training for Jiu Jitsu - 9 key concepts’ and the study I’ll talk about today brings out to really important points about first developing a good base of strength to become more powerful and choosing more functional / complex exercises to better develop strength, two things I’m I very big advocate of.
All groups were tested on their explosive power (speed strength) and it was found that the Squat-Group showed +12.4% improvements in the Squat Jump and +12.0% in the Countermovement Jump, which was significantly higher than the results found with the Leg-Press group (3.5% & 0.5%) and the Control group (1.3% & 0.5%). The Leg-Press and Control groups were found not to have significant differences pre and post the 8 week period, i.e. these increases could be due to chance.
For me this raises two very interesting points:
- Build strength to develop power - as mentioned all participants were field sport athletes, so we can assume they would already be performing various sprinting exercises on a regular basis, these were not complete new comers to sports performance. However, only when additional strength training was included did power improve. Therefore, don’t be fooled that just doing jumping squats over and over will improve your power, you need strength work.
- Build strength with holistic full body exercises - the authors of the study present their own ideas, although I’ll put my own take on why I think the back squat was more effective in developing power than the leg press, even though both showed similar significant improvements in strength on the exercise used (25.0% SQ and 27.4% LP). Performing a squat requires you to engage almost your entire body, especially the core, as you stabilise the weight, therefore using your body holistically to move the weight. With the leg press, you are working your lower body in isolation, with much less recruitment of the core and upper body. A key aspect in powerful lower body movements is the ability to stabilise the core and transfer the forces generated by lower body through the rest of the body to move it. It would be like trying to throw a rope versus throwing a stick that were both the same size and weight, which would move further??
If you're looking to develop power, kettlebells are a great tool and check out vidoes and articles on kettlebells here and if you want your own personal training plan just click below to email me and we can chat!
Study link and title
Wirth, K., Hartmann, H., Sander, A., Mickel, C., Szilvas, E., & Keiner, M. (2016). The Impact of Back Squat and Leg-Press Exercises on Maximal Strength and Speed-Strength Parameters. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 30(5), 1205-1212. doi:10.1519/jsc.0000000000001228