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May the "Rate" of Force (Production) Be With You: Part 1

Updated: Oct 22, 2021

SFTech's Human Performance Division

To optimize athletic ability, not only is individual training protocol necessary, but specialized focus in force production is equally important. Dr. Brad DeWeese defines Optimization as "Training seeking to achieve an ideal performance capability rather than simply increasing or decreasing some characteristics." This calls for critical analysis of a sport or mission objectives to define what the parameters of the situation are and how to directly train for the performance requirements. Power development is critical to enhance explosive ability for sports such as football, baseball, basketball, softball, track and field and many more. Power Development and Force Production Training are not only critical for sports, but also for optimizing Military personnel for the next generation of warfare.

To truly understand how to apply this knowledge within your training protocol, one must understand what POWER truly means. Power is not only how much weight you can lift, but also the combination of how explosively or how fast you can (CORRECTLY) lift a particular weight. Not that overall strength is insignificant; however, "Rate of Force Development" should be emphasized when increasing athletic and tactical performance.

A great video on creating Strength related to Neural Density to increase Neural Drive AKA "Rate of Force Development or Production" by Squat University: an Interview with Dr. Stuart McGill.

This video touches on structural weaknesses leading to compensatory movements that trigger the brain to decrease Neural Drive as a safety mechanism to reduce injuries. This shows the balance between stabilizers and gross movement patterns in dynamic situations. This should be taken into consideration for longterm training, injury mitigation, and capabilities when everything is on the line.

There are several ways to target this attribute. The most well supported and superior method is the use of weightlifting movements such as the "snatch" and the "clean and jerk", as well as the derivatives of those lifts in a strategic fashion within a long-term personalized performance program method known as periodization. When applied correctly, the athlete or tactical personnel will peak their performance when necessary and create supercompensation or a state at which your abilities increase due to programmed design. There is a fine line between Overreaching, which leads to supercompensation, and Overtraining, which leads to decrease in abilities or Central Nervous System Fatigue. The best way to achieve this "optimal zone" of long-term training is to use a modern Periodization method. These peaking periods can be designed around key competitions in sports and mission critical needs in the Department of Defense.

Periodization is defined by Dr. Mike Stone as "a logical phasic method of varying training volume, intensity factors, and exercises in order to optimize training progress. Thus, periodization is a nonlinear method for planning the training process." In other words, you need to know what you are are doing, when you are doing it, and most importantly WHY you are doing it? This is a great reason to have your training program properly designed by a CSCS professional using the most effective and current exercise science protocols utilized by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), National Strength and Conditioning Association, Published in the National Strength and Conditioning Journal, or other elite human performance institution.

The principles of this article are better stated and explained in further detail by Dr. Gregory Haff and colleagues in their articles, "Training Principles of Power" in 2012 and "Roundtable Discussion: Periodization of Training Part 1 & 2" in 2004, both published in the National Strength and Conditioning Journal.

Part 1:


Part 2:


Jordon Kestner Exercise Scientist, CSCS, and Founder of SFTech

Release your inner warrior with scientifically supported training programs designed by CSCS Experts. This service is perfect for DoD, DHS, Local Police, Private Security, Corporate Fitness, and various sports (Football, Baseball, Basketball, Soccer, Softball, Track and Field, Wrestling, Gymnastics, MMA (other combat sports), Extreme Sports and many more.

All programs are designed based on best practices by United States Olympic Committee (USOC), National Strength and Conditioning Association, research in the National Strength and Conditioning Journal, and validated by other elite human performance institution.

Check out:

Dr. Mike Stone Power Development: NSCA

National Strength and Conditioning Association

. Here is a good video breaking down RFD Rate of Force Development by Eric Troy at Ground Up Strength

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