What is Power Factor Training

Power Factor Training is a system based on resistance training which claims to take all the guess work on training effectively out of the equation. It does this by quantifying both the muscular intensity and muscle-stimulating benefits when training.

The developers of power factor training claim that the two indices which they call the power factor and the power index can be easily used by any athlete to determine the type of exercise to do, the weights to select, plus the sets and reps that you should do to produce the maximum results.

If these claims had any value, then it would be easy and extremely effective to compare the many different types of resistance training, to see which is best.

Before we examine any shortfalls of this training system you first need to take a closer look at the formula they put forward, which seems to make a lot of sense when it is first applied. Let's look at their definition of the two factors that they use to gage the effectiveness of a movement.

1. Power factor (PF): Measures the intensity of any muscular overload when doing an exercise PF = Weight * Power Factor * 10^(-6)

2. Power Index (PI): Measuring the duration of a given power factor =Weight / Time PI = (Weight^2) / Time * 10^(-6)

This probably looks very sensible when it is first examined because it is based on the progressive overload principal. Athletes would record all these power indices for each workout. They then attempt to increase these important indices on all subsequent workouts.

For example, if an athlete wants to raise his/her power factor, they would attempt to increase the total weight lifted in the same time period or they could use the same weight and complete the set in a shorter time. i.e. To increase their own specific power index, the athlete would then try and improve on their specific power factor by doing additional sets, or increasing the weight.

Power factor training has been openly criticized for a number of reasons, but one reason that should be listed here would be their insistence on using partial reps. Power factor training recommends doing partial reps because more reps can be done, lifting more weight in a given time period.

But these partials will be done where the range of motion (ROM) is strongest, not weakest. The definition of power factor training oversimplifies mechanical power because they seem to conveniently forget the distance that the weight is lifted, which is why partials are recommended.

Although this is only one of the many flaws seen in the power factor training system, this article is only dealing with the criticism of doing power factor training for the following reason. The definition of all mechanical power is force (F) exerted multiplied by distance (D), the object traveled is then divided by time (T).

Power = Force X Distance / Time

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