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Powering up

Power is the combination of strength and speed. It is force times velocity. Power is what enables explosive movements such as jumping.

Power is that sharp punch that drives the golf swing. It is the ability to accelerate as you skate.

Why power matters

Power is what we lose the fastest as we age. While some folks believe the loss of strength or muscle mass is the issue, it is power that should be the focus.

While we lose strength five times faster than muscle mass, we lose power five times faster than we lose strength. Every decade after 40, power declines 17 percent and strength 10 percent. In 30 years (at age 70), you’ll have lost 30 percent of your strength and 51 percent of your power.

This translates into reduced athletic performance as we age, and beyond a certain point, difficulty of carrying out the daily activities we need to live independently.

While hitting a baseball out of the park directly correlates to power, so does bracing yourself when you trip, to stop from falling. With that in mind, training power is critically important as we age.

Improving power

The ability to jump on a box is an indication of your lower body power. The ability to serve a tennis ball is an indication of your upper body power.

Power is of paramount importance. However, we must remember that muscle speed, to some extent, is a product of strength. You cannot be powerful if you’re not also strong.

Work on strength. Then train to add speed to increase power. Use a low resistance (a lighter weight load) but move it fast. Six to ten repetitions are enough. Beyond that, you are no longer working on power – you are working on strength.

Power up by adding one to two power workouts a week to your training regime.

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