Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Physical strength


Economy, velocity/power at maximal oxygen uptake ([Formula: see text]) and endurance-specific muscle power tests (i.e. maximal anaerobic running velocity; vMART), are now thought to be the best performance predictors in elite endurance athletes. In addition to cardiovascular function, these key performance indicators are believed to be partly dictated by the neuromuscular system. One technique to improve neuromuscular efficiency in athletes is through strength training.

Concepts: Oxygen, Binary operation, Exercise physiology, VO2 max, Physical strength


Hartmann, H, Wirth, K, Klusemann, M, Dalic, J, Matuschek, C, and Schmidtbleicher, D. Influence of squatting depth on jumping performance. J Strength Cond Res 26(12): 3243-3261, 2012-It is unclear if increases in 1 repetition maximum (1RM) in quarter squats result in higher gains compared with full depth squats in isometric force production and vertical jump performance. The aim of the research projects was to compare the effects of different squat variants on the development of 1RM and their transfer effects to Countermovement jump (CMJ) and squat jump (SJ) height, maximal voluntary contraction (MVC), and maximal rate of force development (MRFD). Twenty-three women and 36 men (mean age: 24.11 ± 2.88 years) were parallelized into 3 groups based on their CMJ height: deep front squats (FSQ, n = 20), deep back squats (BSQ, n = 20), and quarter back squats (BSQ¼, n = 19). In addition, a control group (C, n = 16) existed (mean age: 24.38 ± 0.50 years). Experimental groups trained 2 d·wk for 10 weeks with a strength-power block periodization, which produced significant (p ≤ 0.05) gains of the specific squat 1RM. The FSQ and BSQ attained significant (p ≤ 0.05) elevations in SJ and CMJ without any interaction effects between both groups (p ≥ 0.05). The BSQ¼ and C did not reveal any significant changes of SJ and CMJ. The FSQ and BSQ had significantly higher SJ scores over C (p ≤ 0.05). The BSQ did not feature any significant group difference to BSQ¼ (p = 0.116) in SJ, whereas FSQ showed a trend toward higher SJ heights over BSQ¼ (p = 0.052). The FSQ and BSQ presented significantly (p ≤ 0.05) higher CMJ heights over BSQ¼ and C. Posttest in MVC and MRFD demonstrated no significant changes for BSQ. Significant declines in MRFD for FSQ in the right leg (p ≤ 0.05) without any interaction effects for MVC and MRFD between both FSQ and BSQ were found. Training of BSQ¼ resulted in significantly (p ≤ 0.05) lower MRFD and MVC values in contrast to FSQ and BSQ. Quarter squat training elicited significant (p ≤ 0.05) transfer losses into the isometric maximal and explosive strength behavior. These findings therefore contest the concept of superior angle-specific transfer effects. Deep front and back squats guarantee performance-enhancing transfer effects of dynamic maximal strength to dynamic speed-strength capacity of hip and knee extensors compared with quarter squats.

Concepts: Muscle contraction, Strength training, Explosive material, Isometric exercise, Squatting, Physical strength, Strength, Squats


The evaluation of rate of force development during rapid contractions has recently become quite popular for characterising explosive strength of athletes, elderly individuals and patients. The main aims of this narrative review are to describe the neuromuscular determinants of rate of force development and to discuss various methodological considerations inherent to its evaluation for research and clinical purposes. Rate of force development (1) seems to be mainly determined by the capacity to produce maximal voluntary activation in the early phase of an explosive contraction (first 50-75 ms), particularly as a result of increased motor unit discharge rate; (2) can be improved by both explosive-type and heavy-resistance strength training in different subject populations, mainly through an improvement in rapid muscle activation; (3) is quite difficult to evaluate in a valid and reliable way. Therefore, we provide evidence-based practical recommendations for rational quantification of rate of force development in both laboratory and clinical settings.

Concepts: Scientific method, Improve, The Canon of Medicine, Avicenna, Explosive material, Motor neuron, Physical strength, Strength


Keiner, M, Sander, A, Wirth, K, Caruso, O, Immesberger, P, and Zawieja, M. Strength performance in youth: trainability of adolescents and children in the back and front squats. J Strength Cond Res 27(2): 357-362, 2013-A basic question for many athletic coaches pertains to the maximum attainable strength level for youth athletes. The aim of this investigation was to establish reference values for the strength performance in the front and back squats in youth athletes. The strength performance in front and back squats of 141 elite youth soccer players was tested by a 1 repetition maximum (1RM) and 1RM related to bodyweight (SREL). The subjects aged between 11 and 19 years and were divided into 2 groups and 4 subgroups (A = younger than 19 years, B = younger than 17 years, C = younger than 15 years, and D = younger than 13 years). For approximately 2 years, one group (control group [CG]) only participated in routine soccer training and the other group (strength training group [STG]) participated in an additional strength training program along with the routine soccer training. Additionally, the strength performance in a 5RM in both squat variants of 105 young elite weightlifters (National Weightlifting Organization Baden Württemberg, [BWG]) was examined to show the high level of trainability of children and adolescents and to determine the reference strength values for young athletes. The STG performed in the parallel front squat SREL in the subgroups A 1.7 +/- 0.2, B 1.6 +/- 0.2, C 1.4 +/-0.2 and D 0.9 +/- 0.3. The STG had significantly (p < 0.001) higher strength values in 1RM and SREL than CG. The BWG had higher strength values than STG, but the BWG was not part of the statistical analysis because of the different test protocols (1RM vs. 5RM). Our data show that the SREL in parallel squat for young elite athletes with long-term training experience should be a minimum of 2.0 for 16- to 19-year-olds, 1.5 for 13- to 15-year-olds, and 0.7 for 11- to 12-year-olds.

Concepts: Group, Strength training, Weight training, The Parallel, Isometric exercise, Squatting, Physical strength, Weightlifting


Lamas, L, Ugrinowitsch, C, Rodacki, A, Pereira, G, Mattos, ECT, Kohn, AF, and Tricoli, V. Effects of strength and power training on neuromuscular adaptations and jumping movement pattern and performance. J Strength Cond Res 26(12): 3335-3344, 2012-This study aimed at comparing the effects of strength and power training (ST and PT) regimens on neuromuscular adaptations and changes on vertical jump performance, kinetics, and kinematics parameters. Forty physically active men (178.2 ± 7.0 cm; 75.1 ± 8.6 kg; 23.6 ± 3.5 years) with at least 2 years of ST experience were assigned to an ST (n = 14), a PT (n = 14), or a control group (C; n = 12). The training programs were performed during 8 weeks, 3 times per week. Dynamic and isometric maximum strength, cross-sectional area, and muscle activation were assessed before and after the experimental period. Squat jump (SJ) and countermovement jump (CMJ) performance, kinetics, and kinematics parameters were also assessed. Dynamic maximum strength increased similarly (p < 0.05) for the ST (22.8%) and PT (16.6%) groups. The maximum voluntary isometric contraction increased for the ST and PT groups (p < 0.05) in the posttraining assessments. There was a main time effect for muscle fiber cross-sectional area (p < 0.05), but there were no changes in muscle activation. The SJ height increased, after ST and PT, because of a faster concentric phase and a higher rate of force development (p < 0.05). The CMJ height increased only after PT (p < 0.05), but there were no significant changes in its kinetics and kinematics parameters. In conclusion, neuromuscular adaptations were similar between the training groups. The PT seemed more effective than the ST in increasing jumping performance, but neither the ST nor the PT was able to affect the SJ and the CMJ movement pattern (e.g., timing and sequencing of joint extension initiation).

Concepts: Exercise, Muscle contraction, Strength training, Acetylcholine, Resistance training, Isometric exercise, Bodybuilding, Physical strength


The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a seven-week, practical blood flow restriction (BFR) protocol used in conjunction with a strength training program on measures of muscular strength and size in collegiate American football players. Sixty-two participants were divided into four groups. Three groups completed a traditional upper- and lower-body split strength program. Two of these groups also completed supplemental lifting sessions. Of these two, one completed the additional lifts with blood flow restriction. The final group completed a modified training program, followed by the supplemental lifts, with blood flow restriction. The supplemental lifting protocol consisted of bench press and squat, utilizing 20% 1RM for four sets with 30 repetitions performed in the first set and 20 repetitions performed in the following three. Each set was separated by 45 seconds of rest. The supplemental bench press was completed at the end of upper-body days, and the squat at the end of lower-body days. Dependent measures were taken prior to the start of the program and again upon conclusion: upper- and lower-body girths, 1RM bench and squat. Results of a 4 X 2 mixed model MANCOVA revealed a significant difference for the interaction on the dependent variables. Follow-up univariate ANOVAs indicated a significant difference for 1RM squat. This suggests that a practical BFR program used in addition to a traditional strength training program can be effective at increasing 1RM squat performance. The use of elastic knee wraps makes BFR a feasible training option for coaches and athletes.

Concepts: Hematology, Strength training, Isometric exercise, Powerlifting, Physical strength, Mixed martial arts, Weight training exercises, Spotting


Abstract We aimed to analyse the effects of combined strength and power training during the competitive season on physical fitness in high-level amateur football players. Sixteen male players (22.5 (SD 2.5) years, 1.79 (0.05) m, 76.8 (6.1) kg) from one team were randomly assigned to either a strength training (ST, N = 8) or a control (CON, N = 8) group. ST conducted lower extremity resistance exercises combined with plyometrics and/or sprints 2 × 30 min per week for 7 weeks. CON performed technical-tactical training during the same time period. Before and after training several physical fitness parameters were assessed: one-repetition maximum (1-RM, half squat), isometric peak strength and rate of force development (RFD, leg press), jump height (countermovement, CMJ, drop jump, DJ), sprint times, agility, and intermittent endurance. Large significant test × group interactions were found for 1-RM, CMJ, and DJ reactivity index with increases in CT relative to CON(+11 to 18%). Although not significant (P < 0.20), likely practically relevant effects were observed for isometric peak strength and RFD (+24 to 29%). We found no relevant interaction effects for agility, sprint times, and intermittent endurance. A 7-week in-season combined strength and power training program can improve relevant strength and jump parameters in high-level amateur football players.

Concepts: Physical exercise, Exercise, Interaction, Strength training, Weight training, Resistance training, Bodybuilding, Physical strength


Nightingale, SC, Miller, S, and Turner, A. The usefulness and reliability of fitness testing protocols for ice hockey players: A literature review. J Strength Cond Res 27(6): 1742-1748, 2013-Ice hockey, like most sports, uses fitness testing to assess athletes. This study reviews the current commonly used fitness testing protocols for ice hockey players, discussing their predictive values and reliability. It also discusses a range of less commonly used measures and limitations in current testing protocols. The article concludes with a proposed testing program suitable for ice hockey players.

Concepts: Scientific method, United States, Psychometrics, The Current, Book review, Ice hockey, Bodybuilding, Physical strength


Higuchi, T, Nagami, T, Mizuguchi, N, and Anderson, T. The acute and chronic effects of isometric contraction conditioning on baseball bat velocity. J Strength Cond Res 27(1): 216-222, 2013-The purpose of this study was to examine (a) the acute change in bat velocity (BV) following three types of warm-up procedures for baseball hitting (experiment 1), and (b) the effect of an 8-week training program of isometric contraction conditioning (ISO) on BV (experiment 2). In experiment 1, the BV of 24 collegiate baseball players was measured before and after one of the three warm-up procedures; five standard bat (mass = 850.5 g) dry swings (SBS), five weighted bat (mass = 850.5 g + 680.4 g) dry swings (WBS), and four sets of 5-second maximal voluntary isometric contractions mimicking the bat swing movement pattern (ISO). BV was measured just before ball-bat impact. Experiment 2 followed experiment 1 and used only the ISO warm-up. Twelve of the 24 subjects formed the experimental group and underwent an 8-week training program (3 days per week) of ISO training. Results of experiment 1 indicated (a) no significant change in post-SBS BV (-0.33 m·s), (b) a significant decrease in post-WBS BV (-0.89 m·s; p < 0.05), and (c) a significant increase in post-ISO BV (+0.39 m·s; p < 0.05). In experiment 2, there was a significant increase in baseline BV after the 8-week training period (30.21 ± 1.83 m·s to 31.15 ± 1.57 m·s). A comparison of BV before and after ISO warm-up revealed that change was significantly greater after the training period (100.17 ± 3.18% vs. 103.75 ± 1.91%). Our results suggest that warm-up with WBS does not increase BV and that using the ISO has both acute and chronic positive effects on BV as a warm-up procedure to improve BV.

Concepts: Exercise, Experiment, Strength training, Resistance training, Isometric exercise, Baseball, Physical strength, Baseball bat


Strength training set organisation and its relationship to the development of muscular strength have yet to be clearly defined. Current meta-analytical research suggests that different population groups have distinctive muscular adaptations, primarily due to the prescription of the strength training set dose.

Concepts: Strength training, Isometric exercise, Physical strength