Strength and Power, Essay Example
“Adaptations in Upper-Body Maximal Strength and Power Output Resulting From Long-Term Resistance Training in Experienced Strength-Power Athletes,” by Daniel Baker and Robert Newton, takes a needed and long-neglected approach to to subject of muscle power as generating velocity, in that prior research tends to focus on only lower-body strength. Baker and Newton conduct a study limited in scope, but exhaustive in dimension, as they assess the relationships between strength, strength training, and velocity in a professional rugby team over a four-year period. The findings validate the authors’ opinions, in that heavy resistance training, traditionally felt to be detrimental to an athlete’s speed, actually promotes it (Baker, Newton, 2006, p. 545).
Not unexpectedly, the actual degrees of resistance training throughout the study are adjusted to match the team’s need to maintain agility and speed.
Nonetheless, the point is an important one, in that speed completely relies on strength. In basic terms, speed is accomplished when external resistance is overcome, and acceleration grows as resistance is further diminished. For this to occur, the athlete must have the muscle to generate the needed power, or force. Equally important is that strength training enhances endurance (Bompa, Haff, 2009, p. 259), and this is essential for speed. Endurance translates to the ability to sustain a certain level of performance, so the stronger muscles work with enhanced breathing capabilities to not only achieve speed, but to keep it going for longer periods.
Critical to the entire scenario, and emphasized by the training videos, is the importance of warming up properly. Five steps, in fact, are encouraged, so that the athlete is as prepared as possible to engage in either development or competition. The athlete possessing the greatest measures of strength and endurance is severely hampered in a speed competition if their joints and muscles are not warmed up sufficiently. This point, in fact, is the most compelling one made in the videos, which otherwise offer little beyond common sense approaches to training. The Baker and Newton article requires concentration; it is not easy reading. What it presents, however, is a detailed and logical analysis of training interactions. The videos take a far more elementary approach, and the person seriously interested in enhancing athletic training is likely to find much of them redundant.
Baker, Daniel G., & Newton, Robert U. (2006). “Adaptations in Upper-Body Maximal Strength and Power Output Resulting From Long-Term Resistance Training in Experienced Strength-Power Athletes.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 20 (30), 541- 546.
Bompa, Tudor O., & Haff, Greg. (2009). Periodization: Theory and Methodology of Training. Champaign: Human Kinetics.
Sports Performance DVDs. (2012). “Speed for Sports Performance.” Retrieved from
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