Last Sunday, I witnessed a frightening scene in the gym. First of all, I saw myself in the mirror at the gym on a Sunday morning! You see, a few years ago my Sunday mornings were reserved for “hangover recovery time.” Not any more folks. There is too much to be accomplished and so little time.
Anyway, the horror unfolding before my eyes involved a meathead trainer his attractive female client. He was absolutely destroying her, while she constantly complained. Now this really annoys me. Not only is this counter productive, as you spend more time whining and less time working out, but it’s also distracting.
But there’s more to this story. She was clearly fatigued and close to the end of her workout, and the last exercise the trainer had her do was box jumps on a 20 inch step.
Yes, 20 inch box jumps. Did she almost fall and break her neck?
I was freaking out. She was so wasted – and not from drinking too much beer.
How could this situation be rectified? Smart workout design. More on this in a moment.
I think the most under-rated component of program design is power training. It is not just plyometrics and only reserved for training athletes. This also doesn’t mean we all need to be out flipping tires, grunting like beefcakes in the gym or pushing a car up a hill in San Francisco.
Everyone needs to incorporate power into a training program. The general population can especially benefit, as research shows power declines faster in middle age than strength or muscle mass.
Power is simply defined as “your ability to rapidly exert force.” So really, you can train power by doing any exercise faster. The thing is, fast lifting for power is only effective if your client has excellent form, a solid foundation of movement and is not completely fatigued.
With a client base of folks with varying abilities and injury restrictions, it’s very important to know the exercise progressions.
Power in Your Fat Loss Workouts
When structuring your program, power exercises should be close to the start of your session. The idea is to get nerves firing to recruit more muscle fibers, get those big muscles pumping, increase heart rate and accelerate fat loss.
As an example, this is the template and game plan for my client sessions:
A) Dynamic Warm Up
B) Core Training
C) Power Moves
D) Resistance Training
E) Metabolic Intervals
F) Delicious Post Workout Beverage
Power sets won’t take long, but execution is critical. Keep the repetitions low, and the load moderate (neither heavy or light). Moderate is tricky to measure, as most folks don’t know their one rep maxes on these exercises. So I think bodyweight is the best place to start, and alter the program from there.
Start out by shooting for two sets of 5-8 reps. Doing a 20 rep set is too much for a beginner, but more suited to an Olympic athlete.
Now you’re thinking what is the best exercise to choose. There’s more to power training than simply “Low box jumps.” It’s effective for beginners, but again our friend progression is necessary.
Think about using upper and lower body power exercises, in alternating workouts.
The best place to start is with one of CB’s gems. Total Body Extensions. My clients have fallen in love with it. Initially, they thought I was crazy (actually they already knew that…) But when I first saw this exercise, I thought “what the hell – how could this possibly be effective?” Turns out I was wrong. Young CB is a genius.
Another power favorite with my clients has been the medicine ball chest throw. It helps if you can catch… But seriously, this move is great for an older or injured client who can’t do explosive incline push-ups. Plus, it’s really fun. My clients get a real kick out of throwing a medicine ball at me as hard as they can. Ha. And they claim to like me…
As far as progressions go, this is my current playlist:
2. Low box jumps
3. BW jump squats
4. KB swings
5. DB jump squats (I only do this with athletes)
1. Med ball chest pass (start on knees and progress to standing)
2. DB Push press
3. Explosive incline push ups
4. Explosive push ups
5. DB snatch
Power is an important component of fat loss programming and simple to incorporate. You can make this fun and interactive with your clients, and get amazing results in the process.
Rock on and have an awesome day,
Kate Vidulich, CTT