Purpose: This study compared the associations between optimum power loads and 1-repetition maximum (1RM) values (assessed in half-squat [HS] and jump squat [JS] exercises) and multiple performance measures in elite athletes.
Methods: Sixty-one elite athletes (fifteen Olympians) from four different sports (track and field [sprinters and jumpers], rugby sevens, bobsled, and soccer) performed squat and countermovement jumps, HS exercise (for assessing 1RM), HS and JS exercises (for assessing bar-power output), and sprint tests (60-m for sprinters and jumpers and 40-m for the other athletes). Pearson's product moment correlation test was used to determine relationships between 1RM and bar-power outputs with vertical jumps and sprint times in both exercises.
Results: Overall, both measurements were moderately to near perfectly related to speed performance (r values varying from -0.35 to -0.69 for correlations between 1RM and sprint times, and from -0.36 to -0.91 for correlations between bar-power outputs and sprint times; P< 0.05). However, on average, the magnitude of these correlations was stronger for power-related variables, and only the bar-power outputs were significantly related to vertical jump height.
Conclusions: The bar-power outputs were more strongly associated with sprint-speed and power performance than the 1RM measures. Therefore, coaches and researchers can use the bar-power approach for athlete testing and monitoring. Due to the strong correlations presented, it is possible to infer that meaningful variations in bar-power production may also represent substantial changes in actual sport performance.