Improving Power: Generating Force
Producing force is our ability to utilize the elastic band recoil from the absorption and accelerate in the opposite direction. This can magnify our output, rather than just relying on recoil alone.
Most people start at this point and don’t focus on the absorption end first, leaving their performance underutilized.
In order to produce force, we need to create some stiffness within the band (the tension of the tissues).
We certainly don’t want to be too stiff, then we wouldn’t absorb forces well, causing hard stops and greater potential for injuries.
The stiffness is utilized to maximize our recoil and use muscle action to further our propulsion.
Usually, starting from a dead stop, like a seated box jump would be useful as it limits too much counter movement, forcing you to propel in a challenging position.
You could further the force generating capabilities by adding some load to a box squat. You don’t want it to be maximal, but enough where you could move in a swifter movement, causing a natural reaction for tissue stiffening.
You can use other implements, such as a medball or chains to add load to your lifts so you have a resistance to move quickly.
It begins to have diminishing returns when you try to move maximal weight because you will move too slow.
Power is about how fast you can direct a force.
If you want to have maximum stiffness, then slow maximal weightlifting would be useful, however it will not help you with jumping or power based activities since your tissues will adapt to become too stiff, especially if the force absorption end is not trained.
Another useful tactic that can help you speed up the rate of generating force would be to have band-assisted movement.
These moves will help you unload bodyweight to help change directions easier, especially if you are very slow from a countermovement or getting off the ground.
Below is a simple band assisted jump variation that could be added into a program as a supplement to a box squat or any other force producing movement you may be doing.
Now you have an idea of how force is produced, the next step is to be able to do it repeatedly without increasing risk for injury or losing qualities on both ends of the power spectrum.
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Dr. Peter Dionisopoulos is the owner and founder of Dynamic Performance & Rehab. He has worked with many high-level athletes and military personnel, but his true passion is to help active adults maintain their lifestyle by providing information and potential solutions to their aches and pains so they can continue with the activities they love.