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How I Measure Peak Power

Written on January 17, 2008 at 12:56 pm, by Eric Cressey

Q: In your newsletter about Pete’s results on the Maximum Strength program a few weeks ago, I noticed that you mentioned peak power as one variable that you tested. How and why do you do that?

A: To calculate peak power, you’ll need a vertical jump height and the athlete’s body weight. We always calculate peak power with our athletes simply because we know that their body weights won’t remain perfectly constant – and it provides a way to measure absolute power output. If an athlete gains 15 pounds, but his vertical jump stays the same, then he’s still gained power – just not in a relative sense. The vertical jump provides your relative power measure, and your peak power output is your absolute measure; both relative and absolute power are important in most sports.

We utilize the Sayers equation to calculate peak power. Traditionally, the Lewis equation has been used for this purpose, but research from Sayers et al. found that the Lewis equation really just predicted average power. As such, they came up with a new equation that more accurately reflects peak power. I’ve uploaded a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet with the Sayers equation calculation; you can download it HERE.

With this spreadsheet, you just have to change the body weight (pounds) and vertical jump (inches) in yellow, and the peak power will be displayed in green.  Normally, the Sayers equation takes kilograms and centimeters, but I just incorporated some calculations to make it more friendly for those of us who aren’t too good with the metric system.

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”Long story short, it’s a 4 month program with each month as a phase. Each week is alternating volume/intensity with built in deloading and mini-strength tests. ”I really like the program, not only as a strength routine but because it’s corrective- it’s got Anderson Front Squats right next to prehab exercises like Face Pulls and Lower Trap Raises that are important but that no one does. Add in there a great section on dynamic warmups and foam rolling and chances are that someone running this is going to come out a hell of a lot stronger and healthier than they were before.” To pick up a copy for yourself, click HERE.

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