The optimum power load: A simple and powerful tool for testing and training
International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
School of Medical and Health Sciences
The optimal power load is defined as the load that maximizes power output in a given exercise. This load can be determined through the use of various instruments, under different testing protocols. Specifically, the "optimum power load" (OPL) is derived from the load-velocity relationship, using only bar force and bar velocity in the power computation. The OPL is easily assessed using a simple incremental testing protocol, based on relative percentages of body mass. To date, several studies have examined the associations between the OPL and different sport-specific measures, as well as its acute and chronic effects on athletic performance. The aim of this brief review is to present and summarize the current evidence regarding the OPL, highlighting themain lines of research on this topic and discussing the potential applications of this novel approach for testing and training.
The validity and simplicity of OPL-based schemes provide strong support for their use as an alternative to more traditional strength-power training strategies. The OPL method can be effectively used by coaches and sport scientists in different sports and populations, with different purposes and configurations.