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Optimal Loading for Maximal Power Output during Lower-Body Resistance Exercises


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: February 2007 - Volume 39 - Issue 2 - p 340-349
doi: 10.1249/
APPLIED SCIENCES: Physical Fitness and Performance

Purpose: The influence of various loads on power output in the jump squat (JS), squat (S), and power clean (PC) was examined to determine the load that maximizes power output in each lift.

Methods: Twelve Division I male athletes participated in four testing sessions. The first session involved performing one-repetition maximums (1RM) in the S and PC, followed by three randomized testing sessions involving either the JS, S, or PC. Peak force, velocity, and power were calculated across loads of 0, 12, 27, 42, 56, 71, and 85% of each subject's 1RM in the JS and S and at 10% intervals from 30 to 90% of each subject's 1RM in the PC.

Results: The optimal load for the JS was 0% of 1RM; absolute peak power was significantly lower from the optimal load at 42, 56, 71, and 85% of 1RM (P ≤ 0.05), whereas peak power relative to body mass was significantly lower at 27% of 1RM in addition to 42, 56, 71, and 85% of 1RM. Peak power in the S was maximized at 56% of 1RM; however, power was not significantly different across the loading spectrum. The optimal load in the PC occurred at 80% of 1RM. Relative peak power at 80% of 1RM was significantly different from the 30 and 40% of 1RM.

Conclusion: This investigation indicates that the optimal load for maximal power output occurs at various percentages of 1RM in the JS, S, and PC.

Neuromuscular Laboratory, Department of Health, Leisure & Exercise Science, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC

Address for correspondence: N. Travis Triplett, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Neuromuscular Laboratory, ASU Box 32071, Boone, NC 28608; E-mail:

Submitted for publication February 2006.

Accepted for publication September 2006.

©2007The American College of Sports Medicine