A new method for measuring power output in a single leg extension: feasibility, reliability and validity

Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 1990;60(5):385-90. doi: 10.1007/BF00713504.


A method is described for measuring the explosive power of the leg in extension which has been found safe and acceptable for all age groups and levels of physical capability. The extension movement takes 0.25-0.40 s in a push through 0.165 m against a flat pedal. At the end of the push the leg is fully extended. The movement is made seated so that the forces are contained between the buttocks and the foot. The seat position is adjusted for leg length and the push is transmitted by a lever and chain to spin a flywheel. The gearing is such that resistance to the movement remains velocity of the flywheel is measured by an optoswitch and used to calculated the average leg extensor power (LEP) in the push. The reliability of the power measurement was evaluated in 46 subjects ranging in age from 20 to 86 years; they included medical students and geriatric day patients. They were tested on two occasions separated by a week. The maximal values on the first occasion (best of at least five trials) ranged from 30 to 300 W (mean +/- 1 SD = 154 +/- 88 W). There was no significant difference on re-test and the coefficient of variation was 9.4%. In a subgroup of 9 non-naive subjects who were measured by an experienced observer it was 6.3%. As expected, power was lower in women than in men and declined sharply with age. The sex difference was less when the values were expressed as power per body mass; a sharp age-related decline remained.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Equipment and Supplies
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Humans
  • Leg / physiology*
  • Methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscles / physiology*
  • Physical Exertion
  • Sex Characteristics