Training for strength generally involves lifting heavy weights for anywhere from 1-6 reps. Usually people will do big compound exercises like the squat, bench press and deadlift in order to develop overall body strength.
Generally when using maximum loads like this the movement itself is relatively slow. It is hard to put your one rep max weight on a lift and throw it up with ease. It has been shown, however, that developing power in these lifts will help develop strength. Being able to contract the muscles at higher speed will lead to a much faster and more effective lift.
Training for power rather than strength will develop strength and size very effectively. Combining all 3 types of training in periodized cycles is, in my opinion, the most effective way to train for size and performance.
So how do you adapt your exercises to develop power and speed rather than strength?
The answer is simple, change the exercises to allow for a smaller load, but a maximum force exertion with every rep. here are my top exercise adaptations to develop power.
Bench press – replace with Power push ups
Bench press is an exercise that you will see nearly everyone in the gym doing. No matter what level of training you are, the bench press is an exercise that will likely be put into your routine. However many people find they hit plateaus in the bench press and cant get past these sticking points. Adding in some power training will benefit you on the bench press massively. Exploding from the lowest point of the rep will help gain momentum on the bar and make for an easier lockout. Of course it is hard to do this with bench press. A great exercise to develop this then is the power push up. It is an extremely simple exercise and everyone can do it. Simply adopt press up position. Then perform a press up, but instead of performing it as normal, press up as fast and as hard as you can so that your hands come off the floor. The good thing about doing this is that you can contract the muscles with as much power as possible on literally every rep.
Squats – replace with box jumps
Box jumps are basically exactly the same as squats but with maximum power exertion. They are a fantastic exercise for developing speed out of the bottom of the squat.
Deadlift – replace with hang cleans
Hang cleans are a great alternative to deadlift as the initial part of the movement works the glutes, hamstrings, lower back and upper back just like the deadlift. The only difference is that the hang clean is done with speed and power in mind. Although the technique for hang cleans is very different from deadlift once the initial movement is passed, it is still a great exercise to develop speed on the deadlift.
Shoulder press – replace with push press
Although I don’t expect any of you to be push pressing 200kg, the push press is a phenomenal exercise. Normal shoulder press can be done seated or standing and just requires use of the shoulders to press the weight overhead. The push press requires use of the legs to help gain maximum momentum of the weight when pushing it. Pressing overhead with as much speed as possible is the aim. The shoulders simply help keep the weight moving at maximum speed.
So if you are looking for some great alternative exercises, try these few and watch as your strength increases.