by: Brandon Richey
Operation Leg Power!
For today’s little adventure I’m examining the concept of leg power. The operation of any smartly planned and applied strength and conditioning program should be the development of leg power. There are many measures of this particular physical characteristic and in order to achieve it you’ve got to have your program dialed in to get the results that matter! Operation leg power ENGAGE…
Operation Leg Power
To an ambitious strength coach leg power is basically like the 9th Wonder Of The World. What I mean is that there are many measures of leg power and for whatever reason they can vary in significant ways. For instance, let’s take an athlete that can squat 600 lbs. as an example. Now squatting 600 lbs. is very impressive and it definitely requires a great deal of force production for one to move such weight in the squatting exercise. Now that is certainly a sound measure of leg power. However, what if we look at the athlete that is capable of jumping out of the gym? I mean I’ve coached guys that have been measured at hitting 40 inches on the vertical leap. That is also a very impressive measure of leg power.
The point to all of this mystery is that leg power is generated in different ways as it relates to different athletes. Structure, development, genetics, programming, and even sport of choice can all impact how leg power is developed over time in a certain individual. The principles of your training will ultimately determine the goal at which you are headed. In simple terms if you want big bulging pythons then arm curls are your friend, if you want speed and quickness then leg power is important, and if you want endurance so extreme that the Tour De France stays on your rear for a lifetime then I guess you need Lance Armstrong. Ok, maybe that last one was a little bit ridiculous ;-).
The point is that in order to achieve a sound level of leg power you have to train for the specific purpose of leg power while also making sure that your strength training program is balanced and well rounded for doing so. This is why I am including a basic MUST DO list for helping you to develop significant leg power over time.
A Must Do List For Leg Power Development:
-Core Strength Development
-Iso/Unilateral Training For Hip And Core Stability
Essentially you’ve got to address the needs of your body for developing a sound measure of leg power. A great example that I can give you involving this is when I have mom and dad come to me with Junior wanting me to implement some good ole “speed training.” The funny thing about this is that it almost always shocks mom and dad because right off the bat I will have Junior start in on doing some squats, push ups, and maybe even some kettlebell swings when beginning his specific “speed program.”
You see it doesn’t do much good for Junior’s speed if he doesn’t have the body strength to take a stride without falling all over the place and clumsily tripping all over himself. He’s got to be able to move and make a cut without his knees buckling from pure weakness and lack of control, otherwise what’s the point? In order to build on speed he’s first got to develop a sound level of core strength and stability (rules 1 &2) before moving on to more intense running specific speed work. The plain and simple fact is that he’s got to put on some dependable performance muscle before he can do anything else related to his sport.
If you take a another look at the list I’ve included above you’ll notice that rules 1 and 2 are closely related. Core strength/stability and hip strength/stability really work in synergistic fashion. Unilateral training is a wonderful way to integrate both variables of core strength/stability and hip strength/stability into the equation in addition to the bigger heavier core lifts. One tremendous exercise to help you do this is the single leg deadlift as I show here:
Lunge variations, step ups, and single leg squats (pistols) are also great options for helping you to add more strength and stability to the equation. The key is making sure that your technique is sound and that you use proper progression to further enhance your ability.
If you are curious about the plyometric training then take a second to check out more of that here! In a nutshell leg power has many characteristics and it would serve you well to try and include a well rounded dose of it into your recipe so that you can get the most out of your performance as it relates to the demands of your sport. If you need more help on how to go about doing this in the most a*s kicking efficient way possible then I want to invite you to check out my newest Brandon Richey’s Unconventional Conventional Method Of Strength ebook right here.
Please feel free to leave your questions and comments in the comment box below this article. Remember my friend that most anyone can train hard, but only the BEST train smart!
Operation Leg Power!