What does your testing battery look like? Part 5 – Power Assessments (Part 3)


In the previous post we provided some examples of lower body power tests. In this final post on power assessments we provide 2 examples of upper body power tests.

Upper Body Power Assessments

As much of the power development in common sports is focused on the lower body (due to the importance of running speed, change of direction ability and jumping height in many court and field sports), there has been less commentary on upper body power testing. One test that has been used in rugby players is the bench throw, which is essentially an explosive version of a bench press, where the bar is thrown in the air1.

Seated Medicine Ball Throw

The bench throw, however, does require a specific piece of equipment. A simpler alternative is the seated medicine ball throw. In this test the athlete sits with the back against a wall, the legs straight out in front and the feet apart, and a light (2kg) medicine ball held in front of the chest. From this position the ball is thrown forwards as far as possible and the distance of the throw is measured. Scores of 3 meters for female athletes, and 3.5 meters in male athletes2 have been recorded, although for combat athletes we would see these as minimum values for lighter weight class athletes, and would expect most fighters to be throwing over 4m/5m respectively.

10 second Push Up Test

Whilst the seated med ball throw tests the ability to generate power in one individual movement, the 10 second push up test assesses the ability to rapidly perform repeated eccentric-concentric contractions. The test is as simple as it sounds, perform as many good-quality push ups (starting with the arms locked out straight and descending down to touch the chest (without bouncing) to a small (5cm) block on the floor) as possible in 10 seconds. Women should aim for 10 repetitions and men over 15.

In the next post we will discuss the importance of strength measurements.


  1. BAKER, D., NANCE, S. & MOORE, M. The load that maximizes the average mechanical power output during explosive bench press throws in highly trained athletes. J. Strength Cond. Res. 15, 20–24 (2001).
  2. Borms, D., Maenhout, A. & Cools, A. M. Upper quadrant field tests and isokinetic upper limb strength in overhead athletes. J. Athl. Train. 51, 789–796 (2016).

A detailed discussion of power assessments is featured in the science of striking, available in both hard-copy and kindle formats (https://www.amazon.com/Science-Striking-Comprehensive-Physical-Preparation/dp/1729586821/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1543575646&sr=8-2&keywords=The+Science+of+Striking+Sam+Gilbert)

# training # performance testing #explosive power #thescienceofstriking #boxing #kickboxing #karate #shinkyokushin #kyokushinface

About the author

Sam Gilbert

Sam Gilbert is a registered physiotherapist with the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) and certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). He holds a bachelor’s degree in Physiotherapy from Latrobe university (Melbourne, Australia) and a master’s degree in Exercise Science (Strength and Conditioning) from Edith Cowan University (Perth, Australia).

A 3rd Dan black belt in Shinkyokushinkai Karate under the World Karate Organisation (WKO), Sam participated for over 20 years in full contact competition, winning multiple state and national titles, and culminating in a 4th place in the heavyweight division of the Shinkyokushinkai World Cup in 2009.

As the co-founder and clinical director of Club 360, the premier multi-disciplinary health and fitness center in Tokyo, Japan, Sam has combined his practical experience with an in-depth study of sports performance in relation to combat sports, and strives to help other combat athletes reach their full competitive potential, whilst at the same time decreasing injury risk and increasing competition and training potential.

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By Sam Gilbert