Speed and power

In all sports, speed and power are crucial to an athlete’s success, as they are two elements that are indispensable and closely connected to each other. Power is defined as the ability to generate as much force as quickly as possible to quickly make a movement. Explosiveness makes a difference as coordination and speed of connection between the brain and the rest of the body determine success in selectively recruiting the muscles involved.

When performing power development training, the brain and the entire central nervous system are called upon to perform a coordinated task of efficient body control, in order to use the muscles in the best possible way: the recruitment times of the motor units are in fact reduced (especially in the fast-twitch or type 2 fibres). Generally speaking, the strategy typically used is to keep the number of repetitions low to rapidly lift submaximal loads. In this way, the muscle is trained to maximize energy without causing a stress on the fibres that could cause injury and pain. Various types of exercises can be carried out for this purpose, involving repeated movements with maximum effort such as ballistic exercises with a medicine ball, plyometric jumps, Olympic lifts, and exercises with traditional overloads (squat, bench, snatch).

In current sports, speed is a decisive factor, as the winner is often the one who can do what others do, but faster. Since power is also determined by speed, some workouts can be dedicated to developing this aspect: strength and stamina are reduced in favour of the speed of the movements. This type of training helps teach the brain to act faster and control muscles more efficiently at high speeds by facilitating faster and more powerful muscle fibre contractions. It is therefore important to train on speed when you are fresh and the neuromuscular system is prone to fatigue without getting too tired: when you go into metabolic stress it becomes very difficult to train the nervous system; for this reason, too, speed training should include 100% recovery across the various sets, without muscle burning or shortness of breath.

From a mathematical point of view, the relationship between speed and power can be described by a quadratic equation or by a descending parabola. The apex of the parabola is the point of maximum power. The relationship between speed and strength is instead described by a hyperbole branch so that at higher speeds there are smaller forces. By combining the two graphs, a power-load curve can be obtained which allows objectively choosing the workloads to be used during training (see fig. 1).

Figura 1 The figure shows the combination of the force-speed and power-speed graphs. In this way it is possible to estimate the value of force and speed with which to obtain the maximum power.

The load-power curve, also called muscular profile, can easily be obtained by using Gyko. GykoRepower, through Power mode, also enables monitoring power during workouts.

OptoJump Next instead provides the power value calculated from the flight and contact times in some of the main jump protocols including drop jump, stiffness and in general all those involving repetitions of multiple jumps. These values are very important for planning training for sports such as volleyball, basketball or the high jump where elevation is fundamental.

Witty, WITTY SEM, the Racetime 2 SF Kit and WITTY TAB can instead be used in training protocols both outdoors and in the gym. Using WITTY SEM can, for example, stimulate muscle coordination and thus improve speed.