Muscle & Fitness

How (And Why) You Should Train for Power

Curated By Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S.

You’ve lifted dumbbells before. But never like this. Generally, when we strength train, we veer toward slow, controlled lifts, which builds critical muscle. But our body is capable of another style of movement, too. Our muscles are supposed to be explosive and powerful.

On every exercise, your muscles produce force to move a weight. Training for power pushes your muscles to produce that force quickly. Doing this builds explosive athleticism – and while that won’t instantly transform you into an NFL player like Patrick Mahomes, it will ready your body to hang with the kids during backyard football, help you PR your next 5K, and prep your body to lift heavier weights (and build more muscle), too.

The best part: It’s easy. Just add one of these exercises into your workout twice a week for the rest of the year.

Single-arm dumbbell swing

Single-arm dumbbell swing

The dumbbell swing is the quintessential dumbbell power move, building explosiveness through your glutes (which are your engine for athleticism). Set up two feet behind a dumbbell, then grasp it with your right hand, and pull it back behind your butt. Explosively stand and squeeze your glutes, driving the dumbbell forward, then let it swing back again for your next rep. Do reps for 30 seconds per side. Rest 30 seconds. Do 3 sets.

single-arm snatch

Single-arm snatch

Stand over a dumbbell that’s even with your shins, knees bent and butt pushed back, then grasp the dumbbell with your left hand. Explosively stand and pull the dumbbell toward shoulder height, keeping it close to your body as you do, then punch it overhead. Lower to your shoulder and then back to the ground. Do 3 sets of 6-8 reps per side.

staggered-stance push press

Staggered-stance push press

This move builds a ton of lower-body power – and it comes from an athletic stance too. Set up with an offset stance, a dumbbell in your left hand at your shoulder. Bend just slightly, then explode upwards from your lower body, driving the dumbbell overhead. Lower to your shoulder and repeat. Do 3 sets of 6-8 reps per side.


Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S.

Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., is a certified trainer with more than 10 years of training experience. He’s logged training time with NFL athletes and track athletes.

His current training regimen includes weight training, HIIT conditioning, and yoga.

Ebenezer has had multiple prestigious positions including serving as a sports and tech columnist for the New York Daily News.

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