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Theory Of Athletic Power Production,

from Quantum Strength & Power Training (O'Shea)


The primary purpose  of athletic-type strength training is
to increase maximum kinetic energy and increase maximum
acceleration and speed through a full range of multi-joint movement.


Power-Power-Power! This is the name of the game in today's world of highly charged athletic competition. Powerful athletes are the ones who have the greatest impact on their sports. When discussing power what does the term mean? How is it defined? ... you will see that the concept of athletic power does not mean the ability to lift heavy weights, but rather the ability to apply force throughout a full range of body-joint movement with speed for maximum time and/or distance. Athletic power production also involves torso kinetic energy, torso rotational energy, and stored kinetic energy. And it is the combined interaction of these elements that exert the greatest influence on shifting the force-velocity power curve to the right... The concept of athletic power production will be illustrated by comparing the power generated during execution of a deadlift versus an Olympic style clean.

In the sport of Power lifting, the squat, bench press, and deadlift have been designated as the power lifts. This is technically incorrect and misleading: for as you will see they are not true power lifts. Only the Olympic-style lifts (snatch and clean) rightfully qualify. In powerlifting, muscle force is required, but power output, as measured in watts per kilogram of body weight, is low in comparison to that generated in Olympic-style lifting. This is easily illustrated by comparing the power values for world record lifts made by two former world champions, powerlifter Doyle Kenady (USA) and Olympic-style lifter Alex Pisarenko (Russia).

Power Values: powerlifter vs. Olympic lifter. Kenady, at a body weight of 140Kg. executed a 450 Kg deadlift. Approximately 2 seconds was required for him to lift the bar/weight .40 meters off the floor and stand erect. Pisarenko, at a body weight of 120Kg. executed a 265 Kg. clean. It took him .90 seconds to squat clean the weight and stand up. The bar/weight traveled .90 meters from the floor to the chest. Calculations of the power values for each lift are as follows:


 Kenady Deadlift  Pisarenko Clean

 Kenady (Deadlift)

140 kg (body mass) 
.40 m (height of pull)
2 sec. (time to execute lift) 


Pisarenko (clean)

120 kg (body mass)
.90 m (height of pull) 
.90 sec. (time to execute lift)

Work=Force X Distance

Force = Mass lifted
Distance = Gravity X Height of Pull
Gravity = 9.8 m/s2

Work = (405 kg) (9.8 m/s2) (.40 m)
Work = 1587.6 (N · m)



Work=Force X Distance

Force = Mass lifted
Distance = Gravity X Height of Pull
Gravity = 9.8 m/s2

Work = (265 kg) (9.8 m/s2) (.90 m)
Work = 2337.3 (N · m)


 Power=Work/Time to Execute lift
Power = 1587.6 (N · m) / 2 sec
Power = 793.8 (N · m)/s or watts
Power = 793.8 watts/140 kg = 5.67 watts/kg body mass

  Power=Work/Time to Execute lift
Power = 2337.3 (N · m) / .9 sec
Power = 2597 (N · m)/s or watts
Power = 2597 watts/120 kg = 21.64 watts/kg body mass


In comparing the power values of the world record lifts made by these two former champions lifters, we see that Pisarenko's 265 kg clean produced 21.64 watts/kg body mass and Kenady's 405 kg deadlift produced 5.67 watts/kg body mass. As this example shows, the so-called powerlifts are more accurately; strength lifts. Conversely, the snatch and clean/jerk are true high velocity power lifts; they have the greatest capacity to shift the force-velocity curve to the right.

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