The Potentiation Cycle of Field Strong will lean heavily on the fundamentals of Power Athlete programming for the next six weeks. We will load up the barbell daily on this program with heavy squats and pulls, dynamic movements, plyometrics, and barbell speed work. We have some fun training techniques this cycle that prime the CNS to drive the specific adaptations towards increasing your strength and power.
At Power Athlete we view power as your ability to use your strength dynamically. To accomplish this dynamic display of strength, Welbourn is employing the classic Power Athlete strength template of rep maxes, Compensatory Acceleration Training, high volume curls (naturally), and our Primal movement patterns to drive adaptation. Specifically, John is coupling high frequency dynamic pulling with conditioning and trunk work. Also in order to get your fix, we have two WMD (Workout of Mass Destruction) tests in place to gauge progress and your ability to suffer 🙂
What is Potentiation
Bookworm definition of potentiation: change in the force-velocity characteristics of the muscle’s contractile components caused by a stretch ex. stretch reflex.
The body has a boat load of self defense mechanisms such as the stretch reflex built in to protect us from injury. These are involuntary responses to external stimulus that crazy people like us voluntarily subject ourselves to get stronger, faster or bigger through adaptation. In Field Strong we lean heavily on these reflexes, especially the stretch reflex. Think of the plyometric exercises we use like Consecutive Broad Jumps. We want to you jump as far as you can and redirect that force upon landing to propel yourself even farther than your initial jump then even farther a third time!
Understanding the mechanics of plyometric exercises and the stimulation of a rapid stretch, we can take advantage of this for a brief increase in reflexive muscle action potential. This reflexive response potentiates (increases) the activity increasing the force the muscle produces. Example of application you’ll experience in this cycle include:
Potentiation Training Example:
Stretch reflex is the name of the game. Whether we are working the upper or lower body, we throw two to three plyometric movements your way. These will be strategically placed at different locations in a training day. Sometimes you will hit them before your dynamic and barbell work and some days they will be grouped together following heavy barbell work.
Two go-to’s for this cycle are variations of shin hops and trampoline sprints. Both are reactive in nature: 1) Shin Hops – you’re tasked to explode vertically and redirect force horizontally, 2) Trampoline Sprints – force you to slow down the high knee action and redirect it downward.
The Oly lifts are back this cycle, you will be tasked with displaying your strength dynamically. These will be both power variation of the Oly lifts or heavy pulls! We want you set up then exploding without thinking too much on technique or getting under the bar. Classic example:
As with majority Field Strong cycles, you will be loading a barbell and sending the bar to orbit. Dynamic pulls will always precede heavy barbell lifts this cycle with the goal of getting your body firing on all cylinders increasing muscle action potential (potentiation) and then loading you up to execute a heavy Primal movement (Squat, Step Up, or Lunge) quickly.
An execution method you will experience throughout the cycle will be Compensatory Acceleration (CAT). From the Power Athlete Methodology – Level One Course: CAT is the practice of training explosive strength requires an athlete to accelerate a barbell with maximum force throughout the entire movement. More specifically, Compensatory Acceleration can be defined as speeding up a movement as increased leverage is accommodated. Or in layman terms, as the lift gets easier, you move faster – no coasting.
Experienced athletes in the weight room may have trained variations of potentiation training in the past, but this cycles approach is slightly different and unique in Welbourn’s application. Most common potentiation use in the S&C space is known as Post-Activation Potentiation (PAP), hitting a barbell set first before dynamic or plyometric work. This is a solid tool and you will experience it at times this cycle, but plyo work will be moved around on different days either before dynamic pulls or after heavy barbell work. John is balancing structural development of your muscle, tendon, and ligaments with targeted neuromuscular focus. We had an amazing conversation on Power Athlete Radio, Episode 352 with Dr. Keith Barr that explores musculotendon training and adaptations you’ll be experiencing the next six weeks. Definitely worth a listen.
What is Field Strong?
If you’re new to Power Athlete, Field Strong is a performance based training program for field and court sport athletes, fighters and anyone who is looking to put pinnacle performance in front of anything else. John Welbourn, 10-Year NFL Veteran and Founder of Power Athlete, exposes members of Field Strong to the advanced training techniques that contributed to his career playing professional football.
Cycles are typically written in 6 week training blocks, with occasional 1 – 2 week “reload” weeks that offer loyal residents an optional deload from the training.
Do you like what you’re reading here? Thinking you want to take a run at Field Strong?
Are you a Field Strong Athlete? How are you enjoying the program so far?
PODCAST: Power Athlete Radio Episode 352 w/ Dr. Keith Barr – The Future of Muscle Tissue
BLOG: Field Strong Equipment Starter Kit by Carl Case
BLOG: Amortization Phase by John Welbourn
PODCAST: On The Long Road w/ Dr. Fred Hatfield
MS, CSCS, SCCC, CHES
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Former collegiate lacrosse defensive midfielder, 4-year letter winner and 3-year team captain. Coached strength and conditioning collegiately with Georgetown University football, Men's and Women's lacrosse and Women's Crew, as well with the University of Texas at Austin's football program. Apprenticed under Raphael Ruiz of 1-FortyFour-1 studying proper implementation of science based, performance driven training systems. Head coached CrossFit Dupont's program for two years in Washington D.C. Received a Master's in Health Promotion Management from Marymount University in 2010, and has been a coach for Power Athlete since October, 2012.
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