Rugby fever is rife at the minute with the buzz of international rugby sounding from one side of the globe to the other. As a proud of Welsh man I am sitting smug knowing that Wales are through to the semi finals of the World Cup! However, as much as I would like to go on about how great we have been playing, the purpose of this article is a very different matter. As you watch the games in New Zealand you will notice the size and strength of the players, more some than others. Within most teams there are freaks that have arms the size of your thighs and guys who are as powerful as a teased bull glugging on testosterone. You just get the feeling that if you were to share an hour in the gym with some of these guys, it wouldn’t be long before they would be searching the place high and low like a sniffer dog, after more weight!!! For the sports men among us, we have put together 2 top tips to increase your overall body power! Let’s go!
To increase power you need to place your muscles under a resistance and not only move it, but drive through it! By doing this your muscles become more accustomed to explosive bursts, making your training specific to rugby for instance. For example, when you squat you need to drive back up opposed to just pushing back up. This will help engage the fast twitch muscle fibres, in particular your type 1 fast twitch muscle fibres. It is your type 1 fast twitch muscle fibres which are the most explosive.
Here are 5 great exercises to help develop your explosive power!
Bench press – this exercise is an all time classic used to hit your pectorals. However, for power athletes this exercise is a great way to increase overall upper body power. When you bench press your deltoids, traps, triceps and even your back have to work, not to mention your core muscles!
Squat – squats are the ultimate lower body exercise to help develop power and strength. Sprinters use this exercise to really help develop their quadriceps and hamstrings. Squats don’t only help build power in your legs though; they stimulate an overall increase in power and strength. How? Well, because they stimulate the secretion of testosterone and growth hormone into your system, more so than many other exercises!
Military press – the military press is a great upper body power builder, in particular for the shoulders! To add another power enhancing dimension to this exercise try and bend your knees slightly at the bottom of the repetition and power up, to help engage your legs and core muscles!
Deadlift – deadlifting is the ultimate test of strength, however it is also a great power building exercise. As you explode to the top of each repetition your hamstrings, quadriceps, back muscles and core will be heavily taxed. Your grip (forearms) will also be tested, making it a great exercise for sports men like rugby players.
Bent over barbell row – to really help improve your ability to generate power through your back try bent over barbell rows! Again, your entire upper body will be working with this exercise!
With each exercise control the negative part of the repetition and as you reach the bottom give a 100% effort to explode back to the top. Envisage a spring, and as you come down the spring gets squashed and then it explodes back to the top. This is what you need to be doing in order to improve your explosive power. Use approximately 80% of your 1 rep max with a repetition range of 3-5 per set, aiming for 5 sets per exercise!
To really stimulate your fast twitch muscle fibres and increase your power you need to fly! What we mean by this is doing exercises which require you to engage your legs and jump into the air. There are several great exercises you can do like this, but why are they important? If you are pushing against somebody on the pitch or during a fight in the ring, having the ability to generate power with your lower body will help you overcome your opponent!
Here are 3 great exercises to try to help develop your lower body power!
Progressive box jumps – you need a series of platforms which are all different in height. From here you can jump up on the lowest one 10 times, the middle one 8 times and the highest one 5 times. This is simply an example as to what kind of repetition range you can use. The key is that it is progressive!
Explosive squats – taking an Olympic bar you simply squat, yet when you drive upwards you leap into the air. This adds another dimension to an already taxing exercise, further engaging your type 1 muscle fibres!
Resistance band sprints – this exercise requires you to be attached to resistance bands. All you have to do is sprint which will be draining on your body, yet it will stimulate your type 1 muscle fibres! If you don’t have access to resistance bands, get your training partner to hold a towel around your waist and then try and sprint! Over a period of time this will help you develop power and speed!
Rugby players, MMA fighters and other power athletes using these tips will certainly help you maximise your power output.