5 ways of developing power for your sport or the gym

In previous articles I have given you advice on some of the best mobility,strength and core based movements out there and you can find them all in my column.I have always said that building a strong foundation is the key to anyone’s gym program. Mobility and strength is the foundation for pretty much everything fitness related.Last week I received a email from a GAA player looking for some power exercises into his gym program so today I am going to focus on ways you can train power and show you movements that can improve your all round performance particularly those who are field based athletes from GAA players,rugby,hockey and football players.I would always recommend bringing both strength and power based drills into you gym routine if your trying to improve your game.If you haven’t gotten a chance to check out some of the best strength based exercises then go check this out first and go incorporate some of those drills into a 6-8 week plan focusing on building strength first then start pairing in some power or speed based exercises.The end result of training for power is better performance in the gym and improved performance in your sport (in terms of your ability to accelerate, decelerate, jump higher, sprint faster, and change direction).I have mentioned in the past having access to gym equipment like battle ropes,plyometric boxes,kettlebells,prowlers,med balls is always a good sign of a good training facility and I have included a lot of those below in the exercises I have recorded.The exercises I have included this week is for the beginner right up to the advanced.The key here is do the movement that technically and physically you are ready for.For instance Olympic lifting is mentioned here below and that is one of the more complex of the power exercises and there really is no point in you going near these movements until you have a couple of boxes ticked.I would suggest you get after the movement that will give you the best bang for your buck.If your mobility sucks and you still cant do a kettlebell swing then I suggest you go work on these areas first before you go near the snatch or clean.If you are still lost on what to do then the best thing is to source a coach or trainer that will guide you in the right direction.


Covering 3 basic body weight power based movements here.A lot of people feel they need lots of equipment in order to improve power but doing drills like this below is just as good.The jumping lunge,kneeling jump to the box jump are 3 good lower body progressions to work on.



I am a huge fan of the kettlebell and its one of the reasons why we have so many at our gym.The kettlebell swing is one of the first things I would teach when working with a new client along with a couple of other movements.The swing is a movement I see performed incorrect far too often and I have put together a tutorial here on how to swing correctly.Not only are these super for doing power based exercises but they really are quite portable and extremely versatile when looking for a full body workout.Today I am focusing on the Russian swing and using a relatively heavy bell dialing in 8-10 heavy swings.I then tied a resistance band to a slightly lighter bell which made it that bit more testing.Adding band resistance to this movement can add extra resistance at the top while addressing the end range of hip extension and its also quite a handy trick when you don’t have enough bells around the gym floor as you start to get stronger

Med ball

Another handy piece of equipment.The med ball is ideal for bringing in power based drills.Today I am working on both the med ball toss and the med ball slam.Throwing is an expression of power and throwing a med ball around the gym is unlike any exercise that can be done on the gym floor.This toss is working on the transverse plane,which in my opinion every athlete should be training.This drill is really user friendly and the risk of injury or anything going wrong is relativity low compared to other drills like oly lifting/KB work.The overhead ball slam is another drill I would encourage into your regime.Stringing together the reps on the toss driving from the core and the hip is key and shooting for 6-8 reps each side is something I suggest and then taking time on  each rep on the overhead slam is what works better here.Take your time on each rep and get your set up right.Ideally going a little heavier weight in the slam is what works best.

Battle rope

The battle rope slam really is a no nonsense exercise that takes no prisoners.15 reps of these will jack the heart rate right up.This exercise forces you to generate power and speed as you chip through the reps .There are many variations to use the battle rope and these 2 examples above are easy and ideal for everyone to try.


A lot of the time when we mention power,Olympic lifting gets mentioned and so it should be.Olympic lifters are one of the fastest and powerful athletes out there.Over the last few years we have seen a huge increase in interest in olympic lifiting in Ireland.Its great to see and perhaps its down to the arrival of CrossFit that put in on the map and got both males and females interested in the barbell working on both the clean and jerk and snatch.Oly lifting is a sport within itself and can be a very technical and complex route to go down.If you are interested I suggest you go source an oly lifting coach or gym that specializes in this area and go from there.Above I am working both movements from “the hang position”(the barbell starting position between the hip and the knee) in my starting position and finishing in the power position (catching the barbell in the rack position in the power stance)I feel this format is perfect for any field based athlete. Oly lifting requires that bit more patience,coaching and technical skill.They both are  super exercises to have when aiming to develop power or speed.But like I said above in the article only bring in these movements once you are ready for them.Like the swing above I have seen a large amount of people go near these movements and they really have looked quite ugly after a couple of reps.

I hope you’ve found this information useful and if you need any more advice you can pop me a direct message from the links below.

You can also get more advice on my social media pages, which are also linked below.

David Last is a personal trainer based in Dublin. For more information you can follow him on FacebookInstagram and Twitter. Or you can send him a direct message here.

You can also see some of his previous articles here




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