Saturday, February 7, 2015

Peak Power Across Exercises

 Peak Power Across Exercises

So much more to the selection of training exercises than whether they are a "power" exercise or not...

Here we see a breakdown of peak power (wattage) and velocity (meters/sec) across 3 different training exercises: power snatch, clean high pull with block @ knee height, clean pulls with block @ knee height. Long story short peak power on the power snatch was 1790 Watts @ 2.03 M/S, on clean high pulls with block @ knee height was 1752 watts @ 1.49 M/S (97.8% of Power Snatch), and clean pulls with block @ knee height was 1903 watts @ 1.33 M/S (106% of Power Snatch). So overall we have from low to high power ranking by exercise of clean high pulls @ knee height last, power snatches second, and clean pulls @ knee height first but with a total range of just 6% difference across exercises! Not a lot of variation there across very different velocity ranges: Power Snatch is 152% of the velocity of the clean pull with block @ knee height and 136% of clean high pulls with block @ knee height.

Clearly there has to be more to exercise selection than this. There absolutely is and some of it is still beyond my current level of understanding but a couple of key points:

- There should be clear considerations of training limitations of  your specific population. You are far less likely to use power snatches with a baseball pitcher than you are with a sprinter or jumper in track and field.

- From past analyses I know that peak power on the power snatch would have continued to rise if the movement had continued on to a squat snatch (full snatch). If so it is very likely that peak power would have equated or potentially exceeded that of the clean pull off blocks at knee height. This is a real consideration for athletes who have great training histories where they are able to tolerate more variation and greater ranges of motion in training. This is not common, but high-performance in sport is most certainly anything but common. 

- Having the ability to simplify tasks and allow for more mastery to occur, using language of Dan Pfaff, is clearly very possible. So if power was the goal and the athlete had power snatches scheduled but either they pushed speed and power work of other more direct training means pretty hard or you think they are just a little off in technical execution today then you can simplify the movement and still generate a quality training effect. If the purpose is power then you can get that but go with better quality and more training density.

This analysis shows you can train for "power" effectively across three exercises with very different demands. If you were to decide that something like that was important... :)

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