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In all sports, speed and power are crucial for the success of an athlete, as they are two essential and closely interconnected elements. Power is defined as the ability to generate as much force as possible in the shortest time possible to rapidly execute a movement. Explosiveness makes a difference, as coordination and quick connections between the brain and the rest of the body determine success in selectively recruiting the involved muscles.

When performing training aimed at power development, the brain and the entire central nervous system are called to a coordinated effort for efficient body control, aiming to use the muscles in the best possible way. Recruitment times of motor units are reduced, especially in fast-twitch or type 2 fibers. Generally speaking, the typical strategy is to keep the number of repetitions low while lifting submaximal loads quickly. This trains the muscle to maximize energy without causing stress to the fibers that could lead to injuries and pain. Various types of exercises can be performed for this purpose, involving repeated maximal effort movements such as ballistic exercises with a medicine ball, plyometric jumps, Olympic lifts, and traditional overload exercises (squats, bench press, deadlifts).

In current sports, speed is a determining factor, as the winner is often the one who can do what others do but at a higher speed. Since power is also determined by speed, some training sessions can be dedicated to developing this aspect, reducing strength and endurance in favor of the speed of movements. This type of training aims to teach the brain to act faster and control muscles more efficiently at high speeds, promoting contractions of faster and more powerful muscle fibers. It is crucial to train for speed when fresh, and the neuromuscular system is prone to fatigue without excessive exhaustion. Training the nervous system becomes challenging under metabolic stress; hence, speed training should include 100% recovery between sets, without muscle burn or shortness of breath.

From a mathematical perspective, the relationship between speed and power can be described by a quadratic equation or a descending parabola. The apex of the parabola represents the point of maximum power. The relationship between speed and force is described by a hyperbolic curve, where higher speeds correspond to lower forces. Combining the two graphs allows obtaining a power-load curve, facilitating the objective selection of workloads during training (see the figure below).

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