How to Work Out Your Power Quotient (Like Dragon Ball Z…)

By on September 24, 2014

The Power Quotient is a proposed measurement for your overall ‘power’ based on strength, endurance, explosiveness, speed and several other factors. This will allow you to compare your performance and fitness to those that use other training disciplines and to focus your training in the most efficient manner for overall ability and ‘readiness training’. Here we’ll discuss how to calculate your own Power Quotient and why I suggest measuring it using these tests. It’not perfect, but it’s a bit of fun and maybe a new way to think about your training…

I like bodybuilding because it makes me more powerful. And I like being more powerful, because I have an obsession with being the best I can be. I’ve always been a fan of Superhero comics, computer games and shows like Dragon Ball Z, and I always wanted to be unstoppable like those heroes. I wish life was more action packed and that there were big bad guys to fight, but in the absence of that I enjoy ‘readiness training’. If ever there was an alien invasion, I’d like to be as ready as possible. I’ve never understood why other ‘nerds’ are so famously unhealthy. They look up to guys like Superman and Goku and yet they make no effort to be strong themselves… what’s going on?

power levels

Unfortunately though, bodybuilding doesn’t make you as powerful as you can be. While you will build strength and power, you can also end up negatively affecting other things like flexibility, like agility and like speed. Even cardiovascular fitness often suffers.

Running has the same problem – it often makes you slimmer and thus weaker (and plays havoc with your joints). Gymnastics is awesome, but their focus is on specific muscle groups more than others and their vertical jump is often impacted because of they train so regularly on bouncy surfaces.

At the end of the day, it’s hard to know what the best kind of training is if you’re interested in developing overall ‘power’ and there’s no real way to compare a bodybuilder to say a martial artist without getting them to duke it out.

This is something that I thought that CrossFit at least got right – while there’s a lot wrong with the training method, their interest in ‘cross modality’ fitness has always appealed to me. It’s just a shame there’s no real way of measuring progress without taking part in the ‘CrossFit games’.

Introducing the Power Quotient

Wouldn’t it be cool then, if humans had ‘power levels’ like those in Dragon Ball Z? If you could compare a score of your overall power with that of someone else and know who was overall in the best shape and who would ‘out perform’ the other overall?

power quotient

A ‘Power Quotient’ is something I’ve been working on since I was 13 (I originally wrote about it in my old book ‘Project Superman’), but today I have a much better understanding of health and fitness and I think I’ve come up with a somewhat better formula for measuring total performance. Read on and you can calculate your own ‘power level’ or ‘power quotient’ as I prefer to call it. Then you can compare it to mine and compare it to the average. We could even estimate the power quotients of real athletes and fictional characters and see how you stack up. Because that’s fun right? And I think it’s motivating too. All that’s missing is an eye piece giving an instant measure of the power quotient. We can even settle old debates by comparing the average power quotient of bodybuilders compared with CrossFitters…

Now you’ll have to start thinking in the gym about whether you’re building real functional strength throughout your body. You’ll have to start asking questions such as how big you can build your hamstrings before the strength gains are outweighed by the reduced mobility. It’s a whole new way of thinking about your training that’s ideal for those sleeping warriors out there.

The Formula

The formula for the power quotient is as follows:

(Bench Press 1 Rep Max + Squat 1 Rep Max) + (Max KM Covered in 12 Minutes X 100) + (Standing Vertical Jump in CM X 5) + (Max Pull Ups With Perfect Form X 15) + (One Legged Alternating Tennis Ball Catch X 8) + (IQ X 2.5)

Now you could argue until the cows come home about other things that should be in here or shouldn’t, but I believe that this combination measures the most useful types of power in a highly effective manner.

Upper Body Strength: Bench and Squat

The bench press and squat for instance will measure your upper body strength (pushing) and lower body strength in terms of explosive functional power. The squat was chosen over the deadlift as it requires less ‘technique’. They are combined to provide one score for explosive pushing strength. Any bench press above 60kg is better than average, but really you should be looking for 100kg and up if you’re interested in strength and fitness. Your squat should be higher than your bench (though the reverse is often true for those who don’t train). There are one-rep max calculators you can use online if you don’t have a spotter, but they aren’t always that accurate.

Fitness/VO2 Max: Cooper Test

Maximum KM covered in 12 minutes will measure your cardiovascular fitness (and VO2 max) and your running speed. This is the ‘Cooper Test for Physical Fitness’. It’s a good standard and something you can relatively easily measure on your own. I chose KM because the 1 rep maxes are measured in kilograms and it makes sense to stick with metric. To measure this, try using an app that measures running distance, or running laps around a field that you know the distance of. 2KM and above is good.

Explosive Power: SVJ

Next, the standing vertical jump is a great way to measure explosive force and agility. This is one of the best tests of an athlete’s explosiveness and is used by coaches in order to find trainees with good genetic potential. It also measures strength-to-weight ratio in the lower body. Test by marking the highest point you can reach on a wall, then jumping to see how much higher you can get. Measure the difference. If you can jump higher than 50 centimeters then you’re above average. If you reach 70+ then you have great explosive power.

Muscle Endurance/Strength to Weight Ratio: Pull Ups

Next is the maximum number of pull ups you can perform using strict form. This tests strength-to-weight ratio in the upper body, as well as pulling strength (biceps and lats, which didn’t get measured by the bench press or squat) and muscle endurance as opposed to pure power. You’re not allowed to hang for more than ten seconds. Anything over ten is good.

Hand-Eye Coordination/Balance: Wall Catch (One Legged)

The alternating tennis ball catch involves standing 2 meters away from a wall, then throwing a tennis ball with one hand and catching it with the other, alternating each time. Continue for 30 seconds. This is a good rough measure of hand-eye coordination and should also measure your reactions speed to an extent. I have modified the test slightly by getting you to stand on one leg, switching at 15 seconds. This way you will also test your balance and reflexive strength. Anything above 35 is very good, while mid-twenties is average. (Reflexive strength is often trained with similar exercises so the two combine well)

Fluid Intelligence: IQ

Finally, while IQ tests are imperfect, they give us the best measure of fluid intelligence we currently have. While you might not think this belongs in a measure of physical power, it is relevant as it relates to your ability to think on your feet, to strategize and to learn new techniques and abilities. IQ also correlates with emotional intelligence which dictates your ability to control your own hormonal responses. In almost any contest, intelligence will play a role in the outcome. Average for IQ tests is always 100, because that’s how IQ tests work.

When you combine all these scores and score highly, you should end up with someone who is fast and nimble on their feet, able to continue exerting themselves over a long period of time and able to generate explosive power from any part of their body immediately. They should be able to stay calm in a contest and to think quickly on their feet and they should have no injuries or weaknesses that impact on their performance. They’ll be precise in their aim and agile in their movement.

Of course this ‘power quotient’ isn’t at all perfect – it’s really just an idea. I’ve tried to keep the scores even, but they’re a little arbitrary in places. This is a work in progress, but I’d love to hear your scores!

How Do You Measure Up?

So what’s my score?

Bench = 160kg

Squat = 180kg

Strict Pull Ups = 19

Cooper Test = 2.3KM

Standing Vertical Jump = 62cm

Wall Catch = 42

IQ = 136

My Power Quotient = 1,841

It’s quite hard for me to know if that’s any good, seeing as I don’t have much data on it! I’d love for you to share your results in the comments and see how we all stack up!

What it will allow me to do is to monitor my own training to make sure that my strength gains aren’t coming at the expense of my endurance or vice versa. I can tell from my own scores that this has happened to some degree.

I’ll leave you with these rough averages (for men, I’ll add female averages soon):

Bench = 60kg

Squat = 50kg

Strict Pull Ups = 4

Cooper Test = 2KM

Standing Vertical Jump = 42cm

Wall Catch = 25

IQ = 100

Average Power Quotient = 1,030

Let me know yours in the comments, as well as what you think of the system as a whole. What have I left out, what shouldn’t I have included, what would be a better test of X skill?

If nothing else, I hope it’s made you think about your training and your own abilities as an ‘all rounder’ somewhat.

About Adam Sinicki

Adam Sinicki, AKA The Bioneer, is a writer, personal trainer, author, entrepreneur, and web developer. I've been writing about health, psychology, and fitness for the past 10+ years and have a fascination with the limits of human performance. When I'm not running my online businesses or training, I love sandwiches, computer games, comics, and hanging out with my family.

One Comment

  1. Bryan Lon says:

    Hey man, I’ve been thinking the same thing! Why are comic enthusiast always so unfit when they idolize or look up to superheroes who are in ridiculoua shape? People might think its stereotyping but its a fact. I’ve been to a few comic conventions and the folks there are usually quite chubby.

    I think its really cool how you’ve been thinking of a way to measure how strong a person really is by testing his limits. However, I do think the formula needs a slight adjustment since master roshi has a power level of around a 100. This is only if you intend to compare your power levels to dragon ball z characters.

    This is my power quotient:

    Bench = 100kg (if you count the bar as 20kg)

    Squat = 120kg

    Strict Pull Ups = 4

    Cooper Test = 3KM

    Standing Vertical Jump = 40cm (im really not sure how to measure this)

    Wall Catch = 53

    IQ = 100 (im just gonna leave that as average since i doubt online IQ tests are accurate)

    Power Quotient: 1430

    Verdict: I really need to lose some body fat (currently at 22%) and probably some weight too (90kg). I actually don’t mind losing muscle to gain strength if that’s even possible. Should age also be a factor? I’m 19 btw.

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