Power is the amount of energy produced per unit of time. Muscle power is the kind of force your muscles exert at high speeds in a given period of time. Any activity that requires speed and high force will need more muscle power.
People with high muscle power are stronger, agile, and can handle intensive physical activities better.
Muscle power is a very important feature of functional performance for Olympic trainers. Trainers, athletes, and sportsmen and women, all constantly work hard in improving their muscle power to better their performance.
Activities like sprinting, weight lifting, high and long jumping, punching, and fast kicking all require high muscle power.
For common people, muscle power could be a factor that determines their longevity.
A study analyzed the relationship between muscle power (upright row movement) and mortality in 3878 adults between the years 2001 and 2016. The study concluded that those who have low Mean Muscle Power (MMP) during daily movements had chances of early mortality
Muscle Power, Strength, and Endurance
The terms muscle power, strength, and endurance are often interchangeably used. There are subtle differences between these, and you need to use them right.
- Muscle power – Exerting muscle strength at high speeds over a period of time.
- Muscle strength – The maximum possible force you exert at a time
- Muscle endurance – How long your muscles can handle the stress without getting tired or giving up.
While some people have higher muscle power genetically, others can improve their muscle power with the right food and training.
How Does Genetics Influence Muscle Power
The ACTN3 gene is called the ‘Speed Gene’ and is a highly discussed gene in athletes and Olympic trainers. This gene helps make the alpha-actinin-3 protein that helps in quick contractions of the fast-twitch muscle fibers.
A particular polymorphism of this gene is found in elite power athletes and sprinters who need more muscle power to function.
The AGT gene helps make a protein called angiotensinogen and converts angiotensinogen I to angiotensinogen II. This protein controls blood pressure levels in the body and balances the levels of salt and fluids.
A study analyzed the effects of AGT gene polymorphisms in muscle power in 63 power athletes, 100 world-class athletes, and 119 non-athletes.
The DMD gene helps make a protein called dystrophin. This protein is important in muscle movement and helps in strengthening muscle fibers and aiding in contraction and relaxation of muscles.
A 2016 Genome-Wide Association Study (GWAS) analyzed the relationship between DMD polymorphisms and muscle power.
The study concluded that the T allele of the SNP rs939787 of this gene was excessively present in power athletes when compared to endurance athletes. This allele was hence associated with power and performance.
Non-genetic Factors That Affect Muscle Power
The ability to improve muscle power and strength is high in younger trainers. As a person ages, the ability of the muscles to grow and strengthen reduces.
Men have more muscle tissues than women because of the presence of the male hormone testosterone. Larger muscles aid better muscle power, and this is true for both normal individuals and Olympic trainers.
Olympic trainers with longer muscle fibers find it easy to exert more muscle power than those with shorter muscle fibers. People with longer muscle fibers develop more power, muscle size, and strength with the right training.
Your muscles get stronger and more powerful when you use them right. People who go through power training extensively find their muscle power, strength, and endurance improving with time.
Diet, without a doubt, is a very important factor that determines muscle power. When your muscles are well-developed, they get the ability to perform better. A good diet improves muscle power, muscle strength, and muscle endurance, while a bad diet can cause muscle loss and decrease muscle power.
A 2016 study concluded that a diet rich in foods like red meat, butter, potatoes, and oily gravies could bring down muscle performance. This is especially true for older individuals.
Recommendations to Improve Muscle Power
One of the best ways to improve muscle power is to take up power training. Power training is similar to resistance training but done faster.
These are some of the effective power training exercises you can try out to improve muscle power.
- Overhead presses
- Jump squats
- Medicine ball throw
Lifting heavyweights may be good for muscle strengthening. However, if you want to improve muscle power, you should concentrate on lifting mid-range weights repeatedly. A higher number of repetitive exercises done quickly helps make the muscles powerful.
Choosing the right nutrition will help improve muscle power quickly while training. Some of the vital nutrients for power training are:
- Proteins – Proteins are important to help the body handle all the intensive training it goes through. If you are taking up endurance and power training to increase power, then you may need up to 1.2 to 1.6 grams of proteins per body weight (in kg) every day.
- Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants – Trainers who lack essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in their meals find themselves feeling tired and unable to push their muscles to perform. Widen your food choices or consider supplements for these essential nutrients.
- Muscle power is the force exerted by the muscles at high speeds for a specific time period. Higher muscle power makes a person agile and strong.
- Power trainers and elite athletes need high muscle power to perform effectively. Better muscle power is related to a lower mortality rate in normal individuals.
- Sprinting, high and long jumping, kicking, punching, and kicking are activities that require high muscle power.
- Genetic polymorphisms in the ACTN3, AGT, and DMD genes can all increase/decrease muscle power in Olympic trainers and athletes.
- Age, gender, right diet, and muscle length are all factors that influence muscle power.
Power training exercises, performing repetitive actions, and choosing the right nutrition can all help a trainer improve muscle power.