VIDEO: Power Up Your Workouts

Local fitness guru Gavin McKay shares how plyometrics can transform your body

Power training is a style of advanced, high-intensity, resistance exercise that increases people’s athleticism and ability to generate force with speed. It can be done with weights, bands, balls or just body weight as the resistance, but the key is to be able to move explosively through a full range of motion with balance and speed. Plyometrics is a form of power training, which is essentially jumping in all its various forms—which jacks your heart rate while fatiguing the muscles quickly. Other examples are kettlebell swings, speed band work and sprinting up hills.

Athletes, whether professional, amateur or recreational, use power training to prepare themselves and improve their performance in the actual game or race. Sports performance trainers have developed power training exercises designed for almost every sport movement. For example, in baseball this might be doing a power step acceleration to work on getting a jump start on stealing a base or a wood chopping motion to develop your core rotational power for the throwing motion.

So if you are not training for any sport in particular why do you care about adding power training to your routine? There are three main reasons:

1. Shock Your Body: If you have been doing the same basic routine for 2 months or more, your body has already adapted to the stresses you have placed it under. You need to up the intensity or change the style of your workouts in order to keep your body’s systems progressing; power training does both. By adding speed to your movements it changes the energy system your body uses to do the work and forces the use of more type II fast-twitch muscle fibers instead of the type I fibers used in slower, high-rep endurance workouts. Essentially, it hits your body in an entirely new way, creating different stresses that your systems have to adapt to, breaking through any plateaus.

2. Burn More Calories/Fat: Power training brings strength and cardio together into very taxing exercises that get the heart rate jacked. High heart rate equals high calorie burn, which helps in fat loss. If done over a period of time, it also boosts your metabolism so you are burning more calories all the time.

3. Shorter Workouts: Think about all those people on the cardio machines at the gym for hours on end—that takes a long time and it also gets much slower results. If you want to get in and get out in 30-45 minutes, power training is for you. With such big bursts of energy per exercise interval, you get the same workout in less time with better results.

TRY IT: Power exercises usually last only 30 seconds or about 6-10 reps because they are so taxing on the body. Power exercises can either be done with high resistance and just a few explosive repetitions, or with low resistance and very fast repetitions.

Click on the video link above to watch one of my power workout routines and subscribe to Fusion Cross-training’s YouTube Channel to get new workouts each month. Please comment and tell me what you think!

Gavin McKay is the owner and creator of Fusion Cross-training with locations in Center City, Philadelphia and Mt. Laurel, New Jersey. He’ll be sharing his fitness tips and advice weekly on Be Well Philly. Read more about Gavin and his role at Be Well Philly here.