What is Your 'Power Quotient'?By Adam Sinicki
Who would win a fight between Arnie (in his prime) and Bruce Lee? It's a tricky one to decide, with both action stars depicted as semi-indestructible in their film roles, but I think most would agree that Bruce would have the edge. The Governator may have been far stronger and probably about twice the height; but Bruce Lee was still incredibly powerful and he combined this with devastating speed, agility and technique. In a sense Bruce Lee practiced bodybuilding, but he also trained in martial arts, flexibility, running speed, CV and many other disciplines to become pound for pound one of the greatest examples of human potential ever to have lived. When Bruce Wayne trained to become Batman he didn't just focus on bodybuilding did he? Bruce Lee vs Batman... Now there would be a good fight...
To train across several factors in this way is probably the most efficient way to become truly more 'powerful' overall. Imagine a person who could sprint as fast as Linford Christie, punch as hard as Mike Tyson, flip about like Joe Eigo and lift like Ronnie Coleman... they'd be unstoppable. As said, very few people seem to train in this way however and most bodybuilders would be useless on a race track or in a fight. Likewise most sprinters would be annihilated in an arm wrestle with say a powerlifter.
Obviously there are big advantages to specializing in a certain field, and becoming a 'jack of all sports' doesn't really offer much incentive unless you're planning on donning black and fighting crime in its myriad forms. One reason for this is that training in one ability often has negative effects in others, the most obvious example being that big muscle slows you down when running. Additionally few people have the time necessary to train intensively in several areas and every minute spent on the race track is a minute that could have been spent in the gym.
However, as discussed earlier, the law of diminishing returns suggests that while it may take 30 years to become a master; it may only take 5 to become very very good at something. And it's certainly possible to become fast without having to severely cut down on strength but your weight would probably need to stay shy of the 200lb mark and even then you wouldn't be as fast as someone who only trained as a runner. In a way you'd be just as good if not better as a specialist in either sport but you wouldn't be able to prove it and there wouldn't be any competition you could enter.
That's why I have proposed a new way to measure this type of 'extreme cross-training', enabling athletes to compare notes across disciplines and workout who is the better overall 'all-rounder'. I call this system: The Power Quotient.
The Power Quotient, or PQ, is an equation that is designed to measure roughly how 'powerful' an individual is physically and mentally. And yes I was inspired by Dragon Ball Z.
The Power Quotient:
Strength x speed x technique x intelligence x agility x endurance
To work it out I have provided guidlines e.g. strength = maximum bench (lbs) + maximum squat (lbs) + maximum deadlift (lbs), however to get the full formula in order to calculate your own (and others') you'll have to purchase the book Project Superman (sorry guys, we have to make money somehow!).
The number you're left with should be a rough estimate of your overall ability. This number can then be used to compare athletes from different sports and events (who is a 'better' all-round athlete: Jay Cutler, Asafa Powell or Mike Powell?). It can also be used for the budding Batmen among us to monitor our progress and set goals and targets just as bodybuilders measure their biceps.
Additionally it can also give a fairly accurate prediction of who would win in a fight (obviously not accounting for external factors and luck). As discussed later on this is because speed, agility and intelligence etc all have martial application. While the best fighters are those who train in multiple martial arts, even better are those who train in other abilities outside of the martial arts.
The equation is by no means perfect (years training are certainly not a perfect measure of technique, but then what is?) and it could have stretched into infinity to include factors such as 'reactions' and 'strategy' but these become complicated and defeat the object of having a simple system. Intelligence for this reason is possibly a controversial inclusion, particularly as 'IQ' is also not a perfect measure of intelligence. Adding confusion is the difficulty in even defining 'intelligence'.
I stand by the decision for several reasons however. For one IQ tests may not be perfect but they remain the most commonly used and accepted test and there is certainly some correlation. Many sports and combat in particular require you to think quickly, make strategic decisions and think outside the box - all things that are required in an IQ test. Furthermore you can train to improve your IQ just as you can train to improve strength and speed.
If you consider the rules of a fight then the winner is the one who manages to channel do the most damage to the other - normally through punching and kicking. Each hit when landed will do more or less damage depending on the fighter's STRENGTH. In order to land do enough damage to the opponent however they will likely need a certain amount of SPEED to be able to land the right amount and keep out of the way of incoming attacks. If they are high in one they can compensate with the other (lots of light hits being equally to a few strong ones) but someone who is high in both will do better. Further more someone who has good TECHNIQUE will be able to use better punching methods to do more damage or better running to escape using minimum energy. IQ can help you to form plans and bring in more attacks, possibly even tricking a competitor or setting traps. AGILITY meanwhile enables you to use your environment and duck and weave thus taking fewer hits yourself. Finally ENDURANCE should mean you can fight for longer without weakening giving yourself more time over which to deliver your blows.
The equation is fairly comprehensive but is still flawed; it certainly is not set in stone and you could pick holes in it until the cows come home (let's not though eh?). Still there is clearly a use for having something along these lines if only for personal use as a way to test your metal. I do believe that the current equation benefits from its simplicity and it should do its job quite nicely thank you.