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

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