3 Supersets to Help You Maintain Power Without a Gym

Maintaining power can go a long way toward maintaining strength and muscle.

One thing a crisis teaches us is what we can take for granted. In your part of the world, there’s a good chance that access to the gym falls into that category. When the gym isn’t an option, it reminds you of the most valuable tool in the toolbox, your bodyweight.

There is a current explosion of bodyweight training available, which is great because it reminds you that even when the gym (or your time) has been taken away, there are other ways to maintain your fitness during this uncertain time.

One aspect of fitness that some people might be neglecting is power training — let’s talk about maintaining your power when you don’t have a gym.

Editor’s note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein and in the video are the author’s and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

broad jump
HQuality/Shutterstock

But What Is Power? 

Power = Force X Acceleration (P = F x A). Force is a push or pull from the object’s interaction with another object, such as gravity acting on you while doing a push-up.

Acceleration is the rate at which an object changes its speed, like sprinting to catch the bus or pulling a heavy weight from the floor.

When you combine force and acceleration, power happens.

What’s the difference between power and strength training?

Power and strength training both focus on overcoming resistance. But power training focuses on overcoming this resistance in the shortest amount of time. For this reason, typically the resistance for power is lower, and the movement speed is higher.

How power helps maintain muscle

The difference between building versus maintaining muscle is determined by how hard you train.

To maintain your muscle mass, you need to train the muscles only to mild exhaustion, like with power training.

However, with hypertrophy you train hard enough to cause your muscles to overcome homeostasis and become bigger and stronger. Therefore, it’s much easier to maintain your muscle than to build it.

This is because of fast twitch muscle fibers.

deadlift back
UfaBizPhoto/Shutterstock

Our bodies have two main types of muscles fibers:

  • Slow muscle twitch fibers (known as Type 1), which are associated with long, endurance-based activities. These muscle fibers are smaller, have a larger supply of oxygen, and fatigue slower.
  • Fasttwitch muscle fibers (known as Type II) generate more power and strength.  They are bigger muscle fibers — they largely determine the size of the muscle — but they fatigue more quickly.(1)

Power training will increase the number of fast-twitch muscle fibers involved in the movement, which will help keep up your muscle mass while access to the gym is limited.

[Looking for weights? Here are 4 household items that can double as workout equipment]

At Home Power Workout

Here’s an example of a training you can do at home with a little space and a milk jug. Before you get into it, here’s a few guidelines to follow.

How many reps to do

When you’re training power, you need to be as explosive as possible. The moment you lose your speed and explosiveness, you’re not training power, you’re training muscular endurance.

For most of us, this is between 3-8 reps or 10-15 seconds of 100% effort.

Rest between sets

Because fast twitch fibers fatigue quickly, you need longer rest periods to allow for recovery and for the muscles to replace lost energy. Anywhere between 60 to 90 seconds of rest works well.

The Workout

Here are a few supersets that you can do 2-3 times per week to relieve boredom, and to maintain muscle and athleticism.

1A. Broad jump

3-6 reps
Rest 60- 90 seconds

1B. Plyometric push up

4-8 reps
Rest 60-90 seconds

Repeat for 2-3 sets.

2A. Bulgarian split squat jump

4-6 reps on each side
Rest 60-90 seconds

2B. Milk jug high pull

6-8 reps on each side
Rest 60-90 seconds

Repeat for 2-3 sets.

3A.  Squat jump with twist

4-8 in total
Rest 60-90 seconds

3B.  20-yard sprint(outside) or Running In Place (inside)

10 seconds
Rest 2 minutes

Repeat for a total of 2-3 sets.

Wrapping Up 

When you don’t have access to a gym, it’s time to get creative and work with what you have around because you’ve worked too hard to let it go to waste. And with little creativity and sweat equity, you’ll stay in tip-top shape.

Reference

1. van Wessel T, et al. The muscle fiber type-fiber size paradox: hypertrophy or oxidative metabolism? Eur J Appl Physiol. 2010 Nov;110(4):665-94.

Shane McLean

Shane McLean

Shane McLean is a Certified Personal Trainer who’s worked with a wide variety of clients, from the general population client all the way to ex-Navy seals and college athletes.

Shane is a big believer in seeing exercise as a gift for the body and never a punishment — exercise should be as enjoyable as possible and never just a “work” out.

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