Leg power in young women: relationship to body composition, strength, and function

THOMAS, MATHEW; FIATARONE, MARIA A.; FIELDING, ROGER A.

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: October 1996 - Volume 28 - Issue 10 - pp 1321-1326
Applied Sciences: Physical Fitness and Performance

The ability to generate high forces at high velocity (power) is an important component of physiologic reserve for both athletic performance and functional capacity. A comparison was made between different laboratory methods and field tests designed to evaluate leg power. Nineteen young healthy untrained women participated in this study. Maximum power during the double leg press (KP) occurred between 56-78% of the one repetition maximum (1-RM) and averaged (404 ± 22 W). Rank-ordered correlation showed an association between KP and another measure of leg power measured on the leg extensor power rig (LR) when expressed per kg LBM (Rho = 0.565, P< 0.016). KP was also related to the 1-RM achieved on the double leg press(R2 = 0.584, P < 0.001). The KP test also correlated with the vertical jump (R2 = 0.538, P < 0.004) and maximal power output during the Wingate anaerobic power test (R2 = 0.299,P < 0.015). However, double leg press power was not related to time to run 40 yards (R2 = 0.020, P < 0.573) or maximal gait velocity (R2 = 0.136, P < 0.121). These results suggest that maximal power during the double leg press occurs at a higher percentage of maximal strength than previously reported. Double leg press power was related to vertical jump performance, validating this field test as a measure of leg muscle power in young women.

Department of Health Sciences, Boston University, Sargent College of Allied Health Professions, Boston, MA 02215; and Human Physiology Laboratory, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111

Submitted for publication November 1995.

Accepted for publication July 1996.

This study was supported in part by federal funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service contract 53-3K06-5-10; by a grant from the Massachusetts Governor's Committee on Physical Fitness and Sports; and Keiser Sports Health Inc., Fresno, CA, who donated the pneumatic resistance equipment.

The contents of this publication do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organization imply endorsement by the U.S. government.

Address for correspondence: Dr. Roger A. Fielding, Department of Health Sciences, Boston University, Sargent College of Allied Health Professions, Boston, MA 02215.

©1996The American College of Sports Medicine