Power is a massively useful tool for many athletes, it allows us to run faster, strike harder, and react faster. But how much power development training is needed for our nations tactical athletes? The answer is… not all that much. This is a multi part issue and so we will dive into each major factor and how often they should train it but before we begin there is a major caveat. Unless you have enough preliminary absolute strength, power development training will do nothing for you and will likely cause you to be injured significantly. Consult a professional before integrating power development training into your regiment.
Tactical athletes in general need to sit within a spectrum of physical fitness with a few key areas they must particularly excel in. We discussed this in a previous post but to simplify it, the two biggest areas are absolute strength and aerobic capacity. Power is just a secondary need for us because we don’t often sprint for short bursts then are done, or just need to throw a few powerful strikes. Our activity timelines tend to be over extremely long time frames such as with running after a fleeing suspect, field operations, and walking the beat. Further than that on the strength side we tend to need more absolute strength for our duties, such as carrying someone to safety, rucking, or forcibly placing someone in handcuffs. These just aren't optimized for power development training. This is not to say it's the only thing they should train but for the majority of tactical athletes there focus needs to be with absolute strength and aerobic capacity development.
Unlike fighters or other athletes needing to work around weight categories, we don't have that as a hindrance. This doesn't mean we should balloon up to 400# and not care, but the majority of the reason people develop power is because they need to stay light for their sport but still require the benefits of strength training. You see this frequently with lower body weight fighters, they will do frequent high intensity power development work but almost no absolute strength development. Even when they do absolute strength work it's done in a highly calculated manner with the assistance of a world class fitness expert.
For most tactical athletes we excel with having this extra weight. You can still be a dangerous dude at 140# but adding 5# of muscle and 3# of fat through absolute strength development will almost always make you even more proficient. Now there are some upper limits to this, where we begin to see diminishing returns but by working with a coach you can optimize your abilities to perform your duties by a significant margin.
How Often?This is near impossible to recommend without fully assessing the client's abilities, weight, strength, and a whole host of other factors but I can give a few general recommendations. For military and ems you will want to sit more on the absolute strength development side rather than power. As such id recommend having between 0-2 power development sessions per week for trained individuals. For Police, Fire, and other rescue services you will tend to want power development to occur a little more frequently, with it being trained 1-3 times per week for trained individuals. The reason we give such a wide berth with frequency of training is because everyone is different, they have different goals, different levels of progression, and different strengths. As such they need to be added into a program at highly strategic points with set goals.
If you want to figure out if power development training is right for you or if you have any other questions about becoming a better athlete get on a consultation call with one of our highly trained coaches or check out our elite coaching service.