What's your POP? And why it matters.


By Scott Damman  During sport performance training, descriptors like explosiveness or starting strength are often loosely used to express an important athletic quality. And, Coaches use various training methodologies to develop or improve this quality. Velocity Based Training (VBT) using a barbell, bar speed training, is an accepted and emerging means to train speed and power. I’d say the intended purpose of VBT is to transfer this speed and power training to the field and create a more explosive athlete, right? If this is the case, what metrics are being used today to baseline & track progress, and what metrics may be missing?

Feedback tools, like the Tendo or the Myotest, have existed to put numbers to VBT. These tools can display a bar speed (meters per second) or display the athlete’s power (watts). These instant measurements take into account the full range of motion of the movement, like a squat or a high pull. But, if you study the sport science, you will find arguments that these full range of motion measurements (whether they are expressed as peak or average outputs) may not fully represent what the S&C Coach really needs to see to assess explosiveness. Actually, metrics such as RFD (rate of force development) or impulse may be what the Coaches are asking for, whether they realize it or not.

Based on my experience and professional conversations, the term RFD has been tossed around in the Coaching circles much more in the past 4 years. This is a good trend. Coaches understand the importance of what RFD represents, but have not had a means to efficiently get as this important training information. Enter POP-100™.

The Bar Sensei includes an innovation metric called POP-100 to get at what has previously been an elusive yet important training quality to capture – RFD, impulse, explosiveness, starting strength, or whatever term you chose to use. POP-100 is displayed as the max speed (meters per second) the athlete hits at the 100 millisecond mark of the concentric phase of a movement. It’s a short distance! So, not only will you still get the full range of motion feedback (peak or average speed), the Bar Sensei now offers the POP at the start of the lift.

We created the POP-100™ metric as a simpler way to express the concept of RFD. Further, since the POP-100 has a defined start and end point, it makes for a clean metric to baseline and track change (whereas RFD can be a bit of a moving target). It is not my goal, or place, to write about what are the best outputs to use; rather, to point out that the sole use of peak speed or power may not be cutting it to get at what we really want to see. The goal with the Bar Sensei advanced metrics, like the POP-100, is to expand the conversation and provide the feedback to get to the intended training results.