Are Speed and Power in Your Training Program?

by Charlotte Huang, PT, DPT, LSVT-BIG, FDN-C

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A young asian woman in blue exercise pants is doing sprinting exercises in the park

Why are speed and power development important?

As humans age, we tend to lose our speed and power development first before we lose our strength and muscle size. Take a second and think about the last time that you got hurt. Half of the time, it’s reported that something was done too fast, which caused pain or injury.

Training encompasses more than just training the muscles. It all comes down to our nervous system – both speed and power development are considered high intensity to our nervous system. We need to train the nervous system and load it in a diverse way. Sprinting produces the highest neuromuscular demand. When you train your nervous system, it helps to connect with your muscles in a much better fashion. From an athletic standpoint, this is relevant to every sport. The more you practice sprinting, the better the carryover will be in the training room and on the field. From a general population standpoint, when you train speed and power development, you make yourself stronger to withstand the forces around you and help to reduce injury rate.

Speed and power are prerequisites to effective strength training. They can be modified to be used safely in the early rehab process. Power training can recruit a large amount of muscle fibers. It relies on type II muscle fibers in order to generate a high amount of muscle force in a short period of time. This helps to create stronger and more resilient connective tissue, especially the tendon. You want to train speed and power first because no matter how heavy the weight of the bar is in the weight room, it still will not compare to the load that speed training could provide to you.

Do you want to start developing your speed and power? Please reach out for a consultation with a physical therapist to help, whether you are an athlete, simply want to incorporate developing speed and power into your everyday routine, or just want to reduce your risk of injury.

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