As we all know, power is defined as the product of force and velocity:

Power = Force X Velocity

Let’s take a closer look at each element and see how we can improve power from a whole-body perspective:

Force: In any sport, movement arises from different postural dispositions. Therefore, we must consider the whole body when working to exert maximum force. I break this down into three parts: the foot (leg), gluteal region (including lower back), and upper back (including shoulder). Let’s examine each part from a training perspective:

a) Foot: This is the source of force, coming up from the ground. It requires foot stability and biomechanically correct movement to stabilize the knee and generate maximum power from the calves.

b) Gluteal region: The force generated by the thighs and glutes aids the force travelling upward from the knee. However, since the pelvis and lumbar/sacrum are connected, it’s essential to ensure that the force exerted by the glutes works in harmony with the lumbar region. This brings us to the next point:

c) Upper region: This area serves as a pivot point for all arm movements. The force generated by the gluteal region collides with the force generated by the arm swing to be carried forward by anterior muscles, such as the chest, serratus anterior, and obliques, to complete the entire circuitry pathway of movement.

Final force = force from ground up + force added by thighs/glutes + force added by upper back and arm + force added by anterior muscles (chest, serratus anterior, obliques, etc.)

Velocity: Just like force, velocity must match the speed coming from the ground up throughout the sequence.

Power = Force X Velocity

Note: In strength training, training for powerful movements or bar speed results in more motor units firing with high muscle fiber shortening velocity. Our musculoskeletal system needs training to adapt to various on-field expectations. By training the movement, making it swifter and more energy-efficient, we can improve both force and velocity on the field.

Q: Can we exert maximum power without exerting maximum force from all the muscles? A: No.

Q: Can we achieve maximum velocity without proper biomechanics? A: No. Only when we use the human anatomy in the way it was intended can all muscles contribute to their best potential.

Therefore, those of you who train at the gym for strength must also pay attention to the shape and structure of your muscles. Having the right shape/structure leads to maximum power, provided that all the other muscles around it are also built to perfection.

Analogy: A four-legged chair with a lifespan of ten years. If we start using two legs more (such as rolling backward and putting our feet on the table), will the chair still have a lifespan of ten years? Similarly, it’s not about building one muscle, because this creates an imbalance that affects the functioning of different muscles.

Analogy: Regardless of how strong your car engine is, it can only achieve its top speed if all the tires are aligned and match in their form and structure. Similarly, the swift transmission from one gear to the next determines the takeoff speed and movement.

Thumb rule: Any movement involves the whole body, not just one muscle. Train the whole body to create smooth, energy-efficient movements that are required for the sport you play.

PS: For those interested in learning more about takeoff, speed, power, and other related topics, you can read my other articles on the subject.

Umesh Chhikara

Sports Scientist