So, who doesn’t want to get STRONGER and more EXPLOSIVE all at once?
Strength and power go hand in hand so why not train it together?
Well, if you want the BEST results possible, I feel this is the only way to go and so for the longest time I can remember I’ve been combining the two within my training programs for some major results.
If you’re wanting to become a better athlete overall or even if you’re just trying to get shredded and strong, Strength / Power training is the way to go.
Below I share 3 different types of set ups I like to use to help build both of these attributes up at the same time so check them out and if you’re not doing this type of training yet, it’s time you add it in.
Because what’s strength without power and power without strength?? NOTHING.
1) Power / Strength Contrast Sets
One of my favorite ways to build up more raw strength and explosive power is through Contrast Sets.
This is certainly nothing new, but if you’re not yet familiar with this type of set up yet, it’s real simple.
First you’d perform a HEAVY weighted movement for anywhere from 1-6 reps max, then without any type of rest, you’d go directly into a power based movement that would mimic the same movement you just did, but it would only be with bodyweight or very lightly loaded at that.
The reason is because you want the second movement to be as explosive and powerful as possible where you’d perform explosive / plyometric type reps for around the same rep range of 1-6.
If you’re going for pure strength and power, I would keep the reps lower around 1-6, but if you’re goal is more for gaining functional, athletic mass, you could go up as high as 8-10 reps per movement.
For sets, I would go anywhere from 4-6 max with about 60-120 secs for rest. Just depends on your overall fitness level and ability.
To give you one of my favorite examples, imagine doing some heavy deadlifts followed by some explosive broad jumps.
So the set up would look like this:
1A) Deadlift x 3 reps @ 85% 1Rm
1B) Explosive Broad Jump x 3
***No REST between movements
And here’s one of my favorite upper body set ups:
1A) Bench Press OR Floor Press x 3-5
1B) Plyo Push Ups x 3-5
I’ve been doing these type of contrast sets for years with TONS of success and what’s cool is you can actually do these in reverse order as well.
So, instead of doing the heavier movement first, you could also start off with the power based movement then go directly to the HEAVY weighted movement. This set up still works very well and I’ve used them as well.
The main thing you want to focus in on is QUALITY of reps because you’re NOT trying to go for fatigue here, rather you’re looking to be as explosive and as efficient as possible with your movements as you can be.
If you start getting sloppy with your form and technique, contrast sets won’t work too well for you, but that goes for any type of training you do…
Either way, there’s an endless amount of different combos you can use with either of these set ups which will ultimately help keep your training fun plus the results you’ll see are worth it.
2 – Power / Strength Combos – Twin Complexes
Another set up that I’ve used for a quite a while with a TON of success has been with power/strength combo sets or what I like to call, “twin complexes”.
These are typically only used with barbell movements, but you can get away with using dumbbell and kettlebell movements as well.
One of my favorite set ups with this is the Power Clean + Front Squat complex.
For this you would first do a power clean for 1 rep, pause, then go into a front squat for 1 rep. Typically I would have 3 total reps in a set, so the combo of a power clean x 1 + a front squat x 1 would equal 1 rep which you would then repeat 3 times for a full set.
These can get nasty when you get more advanced.
I like using this complex to help further teach both the power clean and front squat all at once with my athletes, but this is only after they’ve become efficient with the movements being used within the complex.
The way this set up works is very similar to contrast sets I talked about from above which you would first use a power / explosive based movement followed up by a strength based movement.
The major difference is that you wouldn’t have work the same type of movement back to back.
The only major issue with this type of set up is that it’s an advanced method of strength / power training. If you’re just beginning and not well versed with the Olympic Lift variations as of yet, you wouldn’t get as much of an effect.
You’d want to get yourself better at the Oly Lifts first.
And just like with any type of Barbell Complex Training, you’re always limited by the weakest movement within the complex.
So if you can front squat around 300 lbs but can only power clean 225, there would be a bit of a lag with the two movements, but it’s like I mentioned above, doing this type of training will help you become a better lifter overall which is why I choose to use it a lot.
Here’s some of my favorite set ups I’ve used for this type of power / strength training:
Power Clean x 1 + Front Squat x 1-3
Power Snatch x 1 + OH Squat x 1-3
Power Clean x 1 + OH Strict Press x 1-3
Power Clean Pull x 1 + Deadlift x 1-3
Power Snatch Pull x 1 + Snatch Deadlift x 1-3
For each set up, the key is to PAUSE for a full second between each movement.
For reps, the first movement would only be done for a single powerful rep followed up with 1-3 strict reps of the strength movement.
As far as sets go, I would typically do anywhere from 3-6 total.
3) Power First – Strength Second
The last type of set up I want to go over that I’ve also used with great success is probably to most classic of ways to train both strength and power at the same time which is to first train explosively via jumps, sprints, Oly Lifts, or plyometrics then to follow up with your HEAVY strength based training.
Like I said, this is classic and every great strength coach knows that if you want to get stronger and more explosive at once, you always train power before strength (or at least 99.9% of the time you do).
This is a super basic set up in which you’d actually separate the two types of training so you could focus on each one independently.
I always do this with my beginner athletes as it gives them the focus they need in order to properly build up both attributes, but it can also serve as an awesome set up for highly advanced athletes as well.
It goes both ways.
the layout is simple in that first you’d crank out your high speed training then follow up with your heavy strength based training.
The way I typically do this is by first doing some sort of jump or explosive type of movement via Oly Lifts or some other sort of high speed movement then follow it up with a strength based movement.
An example would look like:
1A) Max Effort Hurdle Hops x 10 total jumps
2A) Front Squats 5 x 3
Now, as of late, what I’ve been doing at the beginning of my athlete’s strength sessions is to have a short, 2-3 movement circuit that’s made up of a combo of of speed, power, and agility type movements.
An example set up I would use for a lower body based session might look like this up:
1A) High Knee Sprints In Place x 10 secs @ 100% Effort
1B) Lateral Ice Skater Jumps x 5 / Side
1C) Box Jump @ 90% max height x 1
Rest 90-120 secs between rounds, 15-20 secs between movements
After 3-5 rounds of that, I would then be ready to move onto my lower body strength based movement.
What this set up does is wake up the body’s central nervous system to help jack it up for the rest of the training session and what you’ll get is a better performance with your strength based training.
It’s because when you jump or move plyometrically, you can’t go half speed. It’s ALL or nothing so when you do explosive type movements, they serve as a great way to wake the body up by activating a ton of muscle fiber.
The more you wake your body up, the stronger you’ll be on your heavy strength based movements.
And there you go with 3 of my top ways to train Strength and Power all at the same time.
Feel free to drop any thoughts, questions, or comments below.
If you haven’t been training with any of these types of set ups, it’s time you start adding them in see your results EXPLODE.
Live and Train Aggressive!
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