The Power Quotient

An Indicator for Athletic Success

I wrote this article 30 years ago, but the principles on power and athletic performance still apply today.

The key to any athletic endeavor is power, which is speed and strength combined. The power center of the body is the upper leg and hip area. When an athlete increases his power output through weight training, he will run faster, jump higher, move quicker, and improve his athletic performance.

An excellent indicator of power output is the vertical jump (straight up without a step) because it involves speed and strength. One problem with testing the vertical jump is how can you compare a 250 pound lineman who can vertical jump 26 inches to a 200 pound running back who can vertical jump 31 inches? Who is generating more power?

 At Washington State, we take the vertical jump test a step farther to what we call the Power Quotient. With the Power Quotient, all athletes can be compared on how much power they generate because the quotient involves the vertical jump and the body weight. (Power Quotient = √VJ in inches x √Body Weight)

Every athlete at Washington State is measured in the Power Quotient.The top 15 in the Power Quotient for both male and female athletes are posted in the weight room.

The results of the first time we measured the Power Quotient were very interesting. Of the top 15 males; 7 were on the track team, 6 were on the football team, 1 was on the basketball team, and 1 was on the wrestling team. 

The 7 track athletes were some of the top athletes on one of the best track programs in the country. Washington State has won the PAC 10 track and field championships the last 2 years, has won 40 dual meets in a row, has been the National Dual Meet Champions two of the last three years, finished third in last year’s NCAA indoor meet and second in the NCAA outdoor meet.

The six football players were all starters and 4 of them were first team all PAC 10. The basketball player was the starting power forward and the wrestler was the PAC 10 heavyweight champion.

These results really opened the eyes of our athletes, Many of them had concentrated on the bench press, but now the development of the upper legs and hips comes first and the upper body second.