What is Power?

The need to be “Powerful” is one of the most essential elements in athletics.

An athlete who is “strong” ie. Can produce a lot of FORCE, can lose out on the track against an athlete of lesser strength, but has more POWER.

How can that be?

Lets look at our physics formulae FORCE = MASS X ACCELERATION,
where in the case of a Barbell Backsquat its Force = mass of bar x speed of gravity.


So an athlete that lifts a heavier weight slower, may produce LESS power than an athlete lifting a lesser weight FASTER.

Considering that in all except the throwing events (of which the heaviest is a 7.26kg shot put or hammer for men) the athlete has no extra weight added to them. It is therefore prudent to focus on the ability to move the athlete’s body weight in the correct technique as FAST as possible, meaning our focus is on maximising their POWER.

However, every athlete is different. Some are more elastic meaning they comparatively have less ability to produce high force but can do lesser forces faster, others particularly as we age can maintain their strength but “lose their speed”.

That is when we tailor a program to suit the athlete. In our next post we show how we do that at MyPhysio using the “Push” band which is a Velocity based training device.

Sam Leslie

Sam Leslie

Senior Physiotherapist
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