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Teen athlete using medicine ball

Power Development: Personal Training for Athletes

By: Daniel Diaz, NASM-CPT, XPS

Speed. Power. Agility.

When it comes to improving an athlete’s sports performance, these are the core traits of power development.

At CHKD, our exercise specialists build power development into training sessions to help athletes perform their best and lower their risk for injuries.

Power development is vital for all types of athletes at any age because the ability to generate optimal force output ultimately determines how well an athlete performs in game situations.

Proper power development helps athletes run faster, jump higher, hit and throw the ball farther, and spike the ball harder. Exercise specialists can help young athletes with power development by simulating a game-like environment with quick and explosive movements.

Lower Injury Risk

When we train athletes at CHKD, we teach them proper body mechanics and how to engage specific muscles to prevent injuries. Simple, yet vital, actions such as making sure your knee tracks properly and your core is engaged during landings can lower the risk of getting hurt.

Improve Stretch-Shortening Cycle

The use of the stretch-shortening cycle plays the biggest role in an athlete’s ability to optimize force output during a game. The stretch-shortening cycle includes a rapid muscle lengthening followed immediately by a rapid muscle shortening. This process optimizes the use of the stretch reflex and stored elastic energy. Jumping, plyometric exercises, using medicine balls, and lifting free weights are all involved in developing the stretch-shortening cycle.

Build Speed and Strength

Power development entails more than strength-training exercises. Training for power requires a simultaneous combination of speed, strength, and efficient muscle recruitment to maximize force output and power production. To further explain, let’s say lifting a heavy load takes an extended amount of time to get off the ground. With proper power production, lifting the same heavy load would require the same amount of strength, but will allow an athlete to lift the weight off the ground in a shorter period of time.

This type of relationship can best be explained by strength-speed and speed-strength qualities. Strength-speed is the ability to move a heavy load as quickly as possible, and speed-strength is the ability to move a lighter load as quickly as possible.

In order to perform at an elite level, it is important to attain optimal force production in order to move a load as quickly as possible regardless of the weight.

If you or your athlete is interested in scheduling a training session or evaluation with a CHKD exercise specialist, visit CHKD Fitness And Sports Training.

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About CHKD Sports Medicine

About CHKD Sports Medicine  CHKD's sports medicine program offers the most comprehensive care for your young athlete. From diagnosis and treatment to customized rehabilitation plans, we specialize in physical therapy and injury prevention programs for active children and teens. Our team is composed of pediatric orthopedic surgeons, sports medicine specialists, physician assistants, certified athletic trainers and pediatric sports medicine physical therapists.