Over the years some have debated as to whether compound or complex training is better for athletes. Resistance training itself without question is effective in increasing both strength and power. The NSCA just published an article in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research that compares two different ways to enhance strength and power. I will do my best to sum up the findings of the six week study comparing compound training and complex training.
Let me first define the two, compound training is training strength on one day and training power on a separate day. With complex training you train both strength and power on the same day. Both strength and power are essential for athletes.
Here is a brief definition of power and strength. Power exercises (plyometrics, med ball tosses, olympic lifts, etc.) are fast, explosive movements contributing to neural adaptation. Strength movements (squat, deadlift, bench press, etc) are typically above 80% of a one-rep-max (1RM).
The study was carried out over a six week period using 18 young men. After a great deal of testing the conclusion was that compound training was better in increasing power and complex training promoted more strength gains. As a strength and conditioning coach, I would use this information and look at the particular athlete I am training to see what sport they are competing in and where they may need improvement.