From what I understand, muscle power derives from the product of the force of the muscle times the contraction velocity.

It is quite obvious regarding the general idea for how one increases the force a muscle generates, i.e. via common hypertrophy methods.

How does one increase the contraction velocity component of power? I just don't understand the basic idea even how one would do that so something theoretical or just an example would do. Preferably both.

I suspect the answer is plyometrics, but, if so, I don't understand how that would be advantageous to increasing contraction velocity over strength training.

  • 1
    The force causes the velocity trough acceleration. However force output decreases with velocity: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…. If you only train with low velocity the force will be very high at low velocity but may drop very fast as the velocity increases. The solution is to train over a wide range of velocities so that you can produce as much force as possible at every velocity.
    – Andy
    Nov 1, 2022 at 7:51
  • @Andy - That sounds like a great answer if you could expand it a little bit into such. Comments are not really for answering questions.
    – JohnP
    Nov 1, 2022 at 13:42
  • @Andy that sounds very plausible. How do you train at different velocities? Can you give me two examples, one of a low velocity type training and one with a high velocity type training? I'm having trouble envisioning practically what that would look like in terms of exercise Nov 1, 2022 at 14:34

1 Answer 1


As an example let us consider someone in the bottom position of a benchpress. At time t=0 he starts pressing the barbell upwards and at time t=tl he locks out the press. While pressing he excerts a force upwards on the barbell: F. Gravity on the other hand exerts a force downward on the barbell: mg, where m is the mass of the barbell and g=9.81 m/s^2. The net force on the barbell is: F-mg>=0

According to Newtons 2 law:

F-mg=ma <=> a = F/m - g

enter image description here

So the force the lifter excerts on the bar causes the speed of the bar.

Unfortunately the force output of a muscle decreases monotonically with velocity:

enter image description here

Trought the lift the velocity increases until the force drops down to mg at which time the acceleration is 0 and the bar has reached its maximum velocity. This velocity can be found by taking the intersection between the force velocity curve and a horizontal line where F=mg.

Training at low velocities lifts the curve at low velocities but does little for the curve at higher velocities. The solution is to train over a range of velocities so that you can produce as much force as possible at every velocity you are interested in.

For instance instead of only deadlifting 110 kg for grinding/slow reps you may alternate this with deadlifting 80-90 kgs for explosive/fast reps or powercleans at say 60 kg. In both cases your power production will be larger than with the grinding/slow reps.

Here are some more examples of exercises that works on different parts of the force velocity curve: enter image description here

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.