Perform power training and increase protein synthesis by stimulating a biological pathway that isn’t triggered by strength training. Power training with complex movements can increase power output and make you more explosive. There’s also evidence that concentric power can be increased with eccentric training, which has a hypertrophic effect .
New research compared the effect of a strength training regimen with a power training protocol on the gene expression profile of the WNT pathway that is involved in protein synthesis. The genes in the WNT pathway were upregulated for both training regimens after eight weeks, and the power training group had significantly greater increases in gene expression than the strength group.
Both groups experienced significant muscle hypertrophy with vastus lateralis cross sectional area in the strength group increasing by 15 percent in type I fibers, 18 percent in type IIa fibers, and 41 percent in type IIb fibers; for the power group type IIa fibers increased 15 percent and type IIb fibers increased 19 percent, while type I fibers decreased 5 percent. The hypertrophic effects between protocols were considered similar by researchers, indicating that power training with low loads and high velocity does lead to muscle building even thought the strength program resulted in greater muscle growth.
Researchers suggest power training be used as part of a wave-like program because the high velocity eccentric component leads to greater recruitment of distinct muscle cell activity not significantly impacted with slower strength movements.
To increase ballistic power and target all the muscle synthesis pathways, perform complex training with a heavy strength exercise followed immediately by a fast power exercise. An example is to perform squats at 85 percent of the 1 RM followed by vertical jumps. Hang cleans followed by vertical jumps have also been shown to improve lower body power output, and there is evidence that this style increases testosterone response as well. Good news all around.
Another option is to perform concentric bench press throws preceded with a heavier eccentric phase. A recent study found that performing a slow eccentric motion with a 60, 70, or 80 kg load followed by a fast concentric motion with a 40 kg load increased upper body power output and hypertrophy. For more power training suggestions, read Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Better Power Moves.
Leal, M., Lamas, L., Aoki, M., Ugrinowitsch, C., Sorelli, M., et al. Effect of Different Resistance-Training Regimens on the WNT-Signaling Pathway. European Journal of Applied Physiology. 2 March 2011. Published Ahead of Print.
Sheppard, J., Young, K. Using Additional Eccentric Loads to Increase Concentric Performance in the Bench Throw. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2010. 24(10), 2853-2856.
Beaven, C., Gill, N., Ingram, J., Hopkins, W. Acute Salivary Hormone Responses to Complex Exercise Bouts. 2011. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 25(4), 1072-1078.