How do you Improve Power as you Age?
Power is the marriage of speed and applied force. The faster you can move your center of gravity accompanied by improved force production, the more power you will produce.
The benefits of improved power as it relates to human function are many. Being more powerful will increase athletic performance; on the other end of the continuum, it can decrease the risk of falling as you age. Research has shown that maximum power development usually occurs at approximately 50% of maximal ability to produce force. The 20 rep max level of resistance is correlated to be approximately 50% of the 1 rep max. The 20 rep max level of resistance is the perfect blend between force production and the ability to move the object providing resistance with speed.
You should train this neurological processing speed the same way you train muscle tissue: training at a percentage of one’s max processing speed as it relates to one’s 20 rep max. With the use of a metronome or stopwatch, determine the best pace at which you can accomplish your 20 rep max. This baseline number will help determine an appropriate level for you to train your processing speed. To train for power, you would then add increased levels of assistance to allow for even faster speeds. For example, if a person required the ¼-inch band for assistance to do 20 reps of a particular exercise and they completed those reps in 20 seconds, then this becomes the baseline measure. To then train for improved power, one would use a slightly wider band that allowed 20 reps to be done in 18 seconds. As you get stronger, the 20 rep max level of resistance will naturally improve. If you become stronger and are able to move that load faster, you will then be more powerful.
The following is an example of over speed training done on the CKC trainer: Toe Taps to Step
Toe taps to the step help to develop the neuromuscular processing speed associated with running.
Stand facing the step. As quickly as possible alternate touching the left and right feet to the step.
Perform 10 contacts with each foot. Monitor the time it takes for the 20 reps to occur.
If unable to perform 20 contacts with your body weight safely, use an
assistive strength band to offload your weight. The amount of assistance needed and the pace to 20 contacts will then become the baseline.
To over speed train the toe tap exercise, use an assistive strength band slightly wider than the baseline band. If one was not needed to establish baselines, then use the smallest band for the over speed training.
Place the long band holders on the back upper horizontal frame facing backward shoulder width apart.
Place an assistive strength band under the arms and around the back as pictured. To make this easier, first stand on the step place the band, and then step down.
Begin the toe tap exercise. Tap the right and left foot to the step. Perform the movement as fast as possible.
Make sure the arms are used to help generate momentum. The arm opposite from the leg that touches the step should flex during the exercise.