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Something to Shout About: A Simple, Quick Performance Enhancement Technique Improved Strength in Both Experts and Novices

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Abstract

In sports where an explosion of power or strength is necessary (e.g., weight lifting, tennis), athletes often yell or grunt to increase force production. Martial artists have used a similar technique for centuries called a kiap, but scientific evidence of its effectiveness is scarce. This study examined the effect of kiaping on strength and whether expertise influenced its effectiveness. Fifty (25 novices; 25 experts) martial artists completed a handgrip strength test under ‘no kiap’ and ‘kiap’ conditions. Performance for all participants was significantly better with the kiap (437.1 Newtons ± 94.9) than without (408.0 Newtons ± 90.6; p < .001).
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Something to Shout About: A Simple,
Quick Performance Enhancement
Technique Improved Strength in Both
Experts and Novices
Amy S. Welch
a
& Mark Tschampl
b
a
Johnson State College
b
Iowa State University
Accepted author version posted online: 09 May 2012.Version of
record first published: 11 Sep 2012.
To cite this article: Amy S. Welch & Mark Tschampl (2012): Something to Shout About: A Simple,
Quick Performance Enhancement Technique Improved Strength in Both Experts and Novices, Journal
of Applied Sport Psychology, 24:4, 418-428
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10413200.2012.688787
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JOURNAL OF APPLIED SPORT PSYCHOLOGY, 24: 418–428, 2012
Copyright
C
Association for Applied Sport Psychology
ISSN: 1041-3200 print / 1533-1571 online
DOI: 10.1080/10413200.2012.688787
Something to Shout About: A Simple, Quick Performance
Enhancement Technique Improved Strength
in Both Experts and Novices
AMY S. WELCH
Johnson State College
MARK TSCHAMPL
Iowa State University
In sports where an explosion of power or strength is necessary (e.g., weight lifting, tennis),
athletes often yell or grunt to increase force production. Martial artists have used a similar
technique for centuries called a kiap, but scientific evidence of its effectiveness is scarce.
This study examined the effect of kiaping on strength and whether expertise influenced its
effectiveness. Fifty (25 novices, 25 experts) martial artists completed a handgrip strength test
under no kiap and kiap conditions. Performance for all participants was significantly better
with the kiap (437.1 Newtons ± 94.9) than without (408.0 Newtons ± 90.6; p < .001).
Athletes often use some form of performance enhancement, or “psyching up, technique to
increase arousal in an attempt to facilitate performance (Perkins, Wilson, & Kerr, 2001),
particularly when there is a need for explosive force production (Tod, Iredale, & Gill, 2003).
The term psyching-up can be defined as the use of cognitive and/or somatic techniques,
designed to enhance performance, before or during competition (Tod et al., 2003). These
techniques include but are not limited to focusing attention, imagery, positive self-talk, and
arousal regulation (Tod et al., 2003). A technique known as Ki, or inner energy (Tedeschi,
2000), which has been used for centuries by martial artists, is one arousal-inducing strategy
that appears to have been overlooked by sport psychology researchers to date.
According to marital arts’ tradition, Ki is a psychophysical energy that is believed to be
located approximately two inches below the navel in an area called the tanden (Nagatomo,
2002; Seitz, Olson, Locke, & Quam, 1990). The principle of Ki is common throughout martial
arts but it has different names depending on the origin of the martial art (e.g., in Chinese
martial arts it is called Chi, in Japanese martial arts it is called Kiai). In Korean martial arts
the term is Ki, and the yell is called a kiap, which is the term that will be used throughout the
present manuscript to refer to the application of Ki as a performance enhancement technique.
Ki is said to be released and flows throughout the body through the use of simple breathing
techniques, the most basic being the sharp exhalation of air in the form of a yell or grunt
Received 2 September 2011; accepted 25 April 2012.
Address correspondence to Amy S. Welch, Johnson State College, 337 College Hill, Johnson, VT
05656. E-mail: amy.welch@jsc.edu
418
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STRENGTH PERFORMANCE ENHANCEMENT 419
(Tedeschi, 2000). According to tradition, both novices and experts can increase force during
dynamic physical movements through the coordination of the mind and body with the kiap
(Tedeschi, 2000). This technique is not to be confused with the val salva maneuver, which is
sometimes used by athletes in sports like power lifting to stabilize the core and can sometimes
result in a loud expulsion like the kiap. However, unlike the kiap, the val salva maneuver
involves forcibly exhaling against a closed mouth and nose to build pressure in the abdomen.
Although the concept of the kiap is unique to martial ar ts, its use is evident at the elite
level in many modern sports where an explosion of energy is necessary, such as power lifting,
during a shot putt or javelin throw. Sport commentators have drawn attention to the incidence
of kiap-like verbal disinhibitions (often referred to as grunting) in recent years, particularly
among tennis players. In some cases, athletes themselves have raised concerns that this practice
amounts to cheating, and the issue has caused some tennis officials to consider introducing
punishments for excessive noise (Flatman, 2009; Navratilova, 2009). The concern is that the
noise is designed to distract opponents, yet the scientific evidence to support this contention is
scarce. However, recently Sinnett and Kingstone (2010) showed participants video footage of
tennis matches during which a noise was sometimes added while the players were striking the
ball. The authors demonstrated that when a sound occurred at the same time as a tennis ball was
struck, study participants observing the game were significantly slower and made significantly
more decision errors in predicting the direction that the ball would take (supporting the notion
that the noise acted as a distracter). Although it may be that the sound generated from a loud
verbal expulsion acts as a distraction in interactive sports, it i s also possible that the same action
serves as a performance-enhancement strategy for the athlete making the noise, especially
given that athletes in some individual, explosive s ports (e.g., shot putt) are also seen using a
similar technique. However, experimental evidence for this assertion is currently lacking.
Unfortunately, scientific research on the use of a broader range of performance enhancement
techniques to increase power is very limited. Several studies have demonstrated improvements
in performance using a free-choice psych-up technique (e.g., Tod, Iredale, McGuigan, Strange,
& Gill, 2005; Eiko & Ostrow, 1992; Whelan, Epkins, & Meyers, 1990). For example, Tod et al.
(2005) asked 20 adult participants with at least one year of weight-lifting experience to perform
five repetitions of a maximal isokinetic bench press under three different conditions: a free-
choice psych-up, a distraction, and an attention-placebo condition. They found that the free-
choice psych-up technique produced significantly greater torque than the distraction control
condition (11%) and the attention-placebo condition (8%). Similarly, Eiko and Ostrow (1992)
examined the effect of free-choice and imager y psyching-up techniques on handgrip strength
among 30 older adults (Mage= 60.1 years) and 30 younger adults (M age = 21.6 years) with
little to no competitive experience. In this study, imagery significantly increased strength (p <
.05) in both groups of adults while free-choice psyching-up only increased strength among the
younger adults. Unfortunately these studies did not identify the psych-up technique chosen
by the participants in the free choice conditions, so it is unclear to what extent choices varied
among participants, whether the techniques were cognitive or somatic, and if one technique
worked better than another.
The majority of the literature has focused on the effect of strength or force performance
enhancement strategies in either novices or experts, but rarely with both (Tod et al., 2003),
and some discrepancies can be found in the studies that included participants with a r ange
of experience levels. Whelan et al. (1990) found that athletes with little to no experience
did not improve perfor mance during a handgrip strength t ask using either prescribed or free-
choice psyching-up techniques. Moderately experienced athletes did manage to significantly
increase strength using a prescribed psyching-up technique but not using the free-choice
psych-up. Conversely, highly experienced athletes could significantly increase strength using
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420 A. S. WELCH AND M. TSCHAMPL
the free-choice psyching-up technique but not the prescribed psych-up. This study suggests
that the interaction between experience level and the level of autonomy one has in selecting
a performance enhancement strategy may significantly affect whether or not performance is
improved.
A review of the literature revealed that only two published studies have investigated the
performance enhancement effectiveness of techniques similar to the kiap. Ikai and Steinhaus
(1961) investigated whether shouting increased force production. They found that participants
(n = 25) could significantly increase the force applied to a cable tensiometer by 12%, during an
isometric forearm flexor task, by shouting versus without shouting (Ikai & Steinhaus, 1961).
In contrast, a more recent study found no significant difference between the effects of grunting
and not grunting on force during a maximal dead lift exercise in 31 college-aged males
(Morales, Owen & O’Connell, 1999). These two studies seem to highlight an inconsistency in
results with the use of psyching-up techniques, but both also have significant methodological
problems that need to be considered before such conclusions can be made. Ikai and Steinhaus
(1961) had all 25 participants complete the shout condition, but only 10 completed the no-
shout condition, rendering statistical comparisons problematic. Morales et al. failed to mask
the true purpose of their experiment, which could have lead to an expectation effect that
grunting should lead to improvements. Due to these limitations, few conclusions can be drawn
about the effectiveness of kiap-like strategies, and a more systematic investigation is clearly
necessary.
Inconsistency in the results of force or strength enhancement studies may also be attributable
to the nature of the task under investigation. For example, in one study that investigated the
effect of free-choice psyching-up on force during an isometric elbow flexion task, Brody,
Hatfield, Spalding, Frazer, and Caherty (2000) found no benefit from psyching-up among 15
experienced strength-trained men when their performance was compared to two distraction
control conditions. However, psyching-up techniques have been found to enhance the perfor-
mance of dynamic physical strength tasks such as the bench press exercise (e.g., Tod et al.,
2005). Brody et al. (2000) submitted that the lack of effect in their study was due to the isomet-
ric nature of the task. Because the participants were not allowed to adjust their arm position in
any way, they could not produce a mechanical advantage from varying the arm position, which
in turn could have increased motor unit recruitment and improved performance. To reduce the
influence of such confounds, it appears to be important to select dynamic exercise tasks for
studies that are designed to investigate the effectiveness of psyching-up strategies on strength
performance. Furthermore, many of the tasks used in these studies lacked external validity for
sport performance, which seems an important consideration in future studies of this nature.
In summary, there is reason to believe that performance enhancement strategies could be
very effective in improving performance in tasks where an explosion of strength or force
is important. In a review of the psyching-up literature, Tod et al. (2003) found that studies
that empirically support the use of psyching-up to improve performance have shown an
average increase of 12% in force/strength produced due to those strategies (Tod et al., 2003).
However, the literature on the effectiveness of such techniques is in short supply and has
delivered inconclusive results. Strategies have been shown to improve performance during
simple dynamic strength tasks using a free-choice psych-up technique (Eiko & Ostrow, 1992;
Tod et al., 2005; Whelan et al., 1990), but evidence that prescribed techniques can improve
performance is inconsistent and not as widely studied. There has been some suggestion that
novices may not benefit at all from prescribed strategies, because of lack of experience,
while experts may not benefit from the prescription of specific techniques due to entrenched
preferences (Brody et al., 2000; Morales et al., 1999; Whelan et al., 1990). Furthermore, the
kiap has not been included in any of those studies as one of the prescribed techniques, nor was
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STRENGTH PERFORMANCE ENHANCEMENT 421
there any documentation as to whether it was one of the techniques used by participants in
the free-choice conditions. The only research that has investigated kiap-like techniques (Ikai
& Steinhaus, 1961; Morales et al., 1999) is mired by methodological flaws. The kiap, due
to its simplicity, is easily learned and therefore has the potential to be used by both novice
and experts to improve performance. The use of the kiap or comparable techniques by many
athletes and coaches make it clearly important to systematically study whether a kiap can
enhance performance and whether experience with the technique influences its effectiveness.
The purpose of this study was, therefore, to examine the effect of kiaping, as a perfor mance-
enhancement technique, on strength during a handgrip exercise and to determine whether the
level of expertise of the participants influenced its effectiveness. The handgrip strength test was
selected due to its dynamic nature, its simplicity and the extensive use of grip in martial arts.
For example, grappling martial arts like Judo and Hapkido use grip extensively for throwing
and joint locking. Striking martial arts like Taekwondo and Karate constantly grip and release
their fists when striking or blocking. This makes the handgrip strength test highly applicable
in measuring practical strength in martial artists. It was hypothesized that the kiap would
significantly increase the strength output of both novice and experts, compared to no kiap, and
that exper ts would have a significantly greater increase in strength output than novices in the
kiap condition due to their experience with the technique.
METHOD
Participants
Fifty participants were recruited for the study (M age = 22.2, SD = 3.3 years; M body
mass = 77.0, SD = 15.4 kg; M height = 174.2, SD = 10.0 cm). Half of the sample (18 male,
7 female) were categorized as novices with at least 1 month b ut not more than 12 months of
martial arts experience (M experience = 4.9, SD = 1.9 months). The other half of the sample
(17 male, 8 female) formed the expert group with at least 24 months of mar tial arts experience
(M experience = 89.0, SD = 49.9 months) and the rank of black belt. The kiap is one of the first
things taught in martial arts, and it is practiced every time the participant engages in martial
arts. Therefore, participants’ experience with the kiap should be considered equivocal to their
experience with martial arts in general. Participants were recruited from martial arts clubs at
a large Midwestern university, t he surrounding area, and the State Black Belt Association.
Instruments
A Jamar hand dynamometer (Model # 2A) with a range of 0–90 kg was used to measure
handgrip strength with precision to the nearest kg. The Jamar hand dynamometer has demon-
strated excellent reliability (r = 0.99) and validity (r = 0.99) for both the right hand and left
hand (Shechtman, Gestewitz, & Kimble, 2005).
Procedures
Ethical approval for this study was obtained from the institutional review board at the
university where the research was conducted. All participants signed an informed consent
form and then completed three sessions, which took place three or four days apart at the same
time of day in an exercise psychology laboratory and were conducted by the same researcher.
The three sessions consisted of a baseline condition, no kiap (control) condition, and kiap
(experimental) condition, performed in that order. A decision was made not to counterbalance
(i.e., randomize the order of) conditions because pilot testing indicated that some participants
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422 A. S. WELCH AND M. TSCHAMPL
became alert to the true purpose of the experiment if the kiap was performed before a control
condition. Instead, the baseline condition was included in order to assess whether there was
learning effect that occurred from one session to the next. (Note: the baseline and control
conditions involved identical testing procedures; see details about these conditions below).
Each session consisted of three maximal pulls with the participant’s dominant hand using
the Jamar hand dynamometer. Harkonen, Harju, and Alaranta (1993) found that there was no
statistical difference between one pull, three pulls, and the mean of three pulls performed on a
handgrip dynamometer, so the current study used the mean of three pulls within each testing
session for analysis. Trossman and Li (1989) demonstrated no statistical difference between
pulls when participants were given a 15-, 30-, and 60-s break. Therefore, a 30-s break was
given between each pull to allow time for participants to rest and the researcher to record
individual trial data. All pulls from all three sessions were completed from a seated position
with the dominant hand held at 90 degrees in accordance with recommendations from the
American Society of Hand Therapists (Richards & Palmiter-Thomas, 1996).
Baseline Condition
This was a familiarization session in which participants read and signed informed consent
and descriptive characteristics (i.e., age, body mass, height, and martial arts experience) were
measured. The following instructions were given to each participant before completing the
pulls:
The purpose of this study is to measure whether martial arts participation increases handgrip
strength as compared to national averages. We have to complete three sessions to make sure
the data we collect are reliable. I need you to squeeze the handgrip dynamometer as hard as
you can for three to five seconds. You are going to do this three times with a thirty-second rest
in-between pulls. After you complete the pull, refrain from looking at the dial and hand me the
dynamometer. I will tell you when to start.
Participants were then instructed on how to use the hand dynamometer and completed three
maximal pulls on the handgrip dynamometer without kiaping. No feedback or encouragement
was given between pulls.
No-Kiap (Control) Condition
The second session consisted of the same handgrip strength testing procedure outlined in
the baseline session. Participants completed three maximal pulls on the handgrip dynamometer
without kiaping. Again, no feedback or encouragement was given between pulls. The following
instructions were given to each participant before completing the pulls:
We are going to conduct the same handgrip strength test you completed in the first session. I
need you to squeeze the handgrip dynamometer as hard as you can for three to five seconds.
You are going to do this three times with a thirty second rest in-between pulls. After you
complete the pull, refrain from looking at the dial and hand me the dynamometer. I will tell
youwhentostart.
Kiap Condition
The third and final session followed the same testing procedure as the first two, but included
the addition of the kiap. All participants had some martial arts experience, which meant that
they had all previously been taught the kiap technique. However, to maintain consistency, a full
description was given to each participant. Specifically, the following instructions were given
before participants completed the pulls:
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STRENGTH PERFORMANCE ENHANCEMENT 423
We are going to conduct the same handgrip strength test you completed in the first two sessions
with one minor change. For this session, I want you to kiap and squeeze at the same time.
Kiaping is a form of yelling used by martial artists during the performance of their particular
style of martial arts. This kiap or yell starts low in the abdomen and rises through the chest and
out of the mouth. It is more of a loud guttural yell verses a scream or shout that is produced
from just the vocal cords or throat. Think of it as a yell from deep within your body. Again, for
this session I want you to start squeezing the handgrip dynamometer and simultaneously kiap
as loud and as good as you can while squeezing the handgrip as hard as possible for three to
five seconds. You are going to do this three times with a thirty-second rest in-between pulls.
After you complete the pull, refrain from looking at the dial and hand me the dynamometer. I
will tell you when to start.
After completing the third pull, participants were debriefed on the deception used and
informed of the true purpose of the study (i.e., to measure the effect of kiaping on handgrip
strength).
RESULTS
Exploratory analyses revealed that there was no significant difference between novices and
experts in weight and height, but groups did differ significantly in age, with experts an average
of 2.24 years older than novices, t =−2.542, p < .05. As expected, participants in the expert
group also had significantly more experience in martial arts than novices, t =−8.414, p <
.01. See Table 1 for details. Initial analyses also revealed no significant differences in handgrip
strength between the baseline and no kiap conditions for either experts (M baseline = 404.8 N,
SD = 95.0; M no kiap = 409.1 N, SD = 95.4; p = .469) or novices (M baseline = 405.2 N ,
SD = 85.4; M no kiap = 406.9 N, SD = 87.6; p = .655). This result demonstrated that there
was no learning effect from the first to second session, so the baseline condition was dropped
from further analyses.
To test the main hypotheses, a 2 × 2 condition (no kiap v kiap) by expertise (expert v
novice) ANOVA was performed on the handgrip strength data. Before performing this test
it was determined that the assumption of sphericity was not violated, Levene’s test was not
significant, indicating homogeneity of variance, no outliers were detected and the assumption
of normality was met for all groups and conditions except the expert g roup in the kiap’
condition (Shapiro-Wilk p < .05). Further exploration of the exper t group/kiap condition data
revealed no extreme values and no skewness, but kurtosis was larger than 1 (i.e., 1.437).
After considering these data collectively, the decision was made to proceed with the ANOVA
rather than run non-parametric analyses because (a) most normality assumptions were met for
the whole dataset, (b) the expert group data for the kiap condition had only moderate deviations
Tabl e 1
Novice and expert group demographics and effect sizes denoting the size of the difference
between groups (
p < .05;
∗∗
p < .01)
Novice Mean (SD) Expert Mean (SD) Effect Size (d)
Age (years) 21.0(2.5) 23.3(3.6) 0.75
Weight (kg) 77.1(16.8) 76.9(14.2) 0.01
Height (cm) 175.9(9.7) 172.5(10.2) 0.34
Experience (months) 4.9(1.9) 89.0(49.9) 3.247
∗∗
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424 A. S. WELCH AND M. TSCHAMPL
Tabl e 2
Mean handgrip strength (Newtons) of novice, expert, and combined (novice + expert)
martial artists while performing a kiap and with no kiap, plus Cohen’s d effect sizes
denoting the size of the difference between conditions (
∗∗
p < .01)
No kiap Kiap Effect Pearson
Mean (N) ± SD Mean (N) ± SD Size (d) Correlation (r)
Expert (n = 25) 409.1(95.4) 428.6 ± 98.90.83
∗∗
.971
Novice (n = 25) 406.9(87.6) 445.6 ± 91.71.97
∗∗
.976
Combined (n = 50) 408.0(90.6) 437.1 ± 94.91.24
∗∗
.968
Note.
Morris and DeShon’s (2002) equation 8 used to correct Cohen’s d for dependence between means.
from normality, and (c) several simulation studies have demonstrated that the ANOVA is not
very sensitive to moderate deviations from normality (Harwell, Rubinstein, Hayes, & Olds,
1992; Lix, Keselman, & Keselman, 1996).
Results revealed a significant effect for condition, F (1,48) = 88.9, p < 0.01, η
2
= 0.65
and condition × expertise, F (1,48) = 9.7, p < 0.01, η
2
= 0.17. Post-hoc analyses with
Bonferroni adjustments for multiple comparisons demonstrated no significant differences
between experts and novices within each condition. However, significant differences were
evident between conditions for both experts, t =−4.1, p < .01 and novices, t =−9.7, p < .01.
Means, standard deviations, and effect sizes depicted in Table 2 indicate that handgrip strength
was significantly higher for participants in both groups when performing the kiap compared
to no kiap, and that this effect seemed to be larger for novices than experts.
DISCUSSION
The purpose of t his study was to examine the effect of kiaping on strength during a handgrip
exercise and to determine whether participants’ expertise (i.e., novice or expert) influenced its
effectiveness. The first hypothesis was that the kiap, because of its simplicity and ease of use,
would significantly improve handgrip strength in both experts and novices. The results of the
current study provide support for that hypothesis, as the kiap increased handgrip strength by
a mean of 7% with an effect size (ES) of 1.24 when compared to the no kiap condition.
These results add support to the literature that found performance enhancement techniques
to improve performance (Eiko & Ostrow, 1992; Tod et al., 2003, 2005; Whelan et al., 1990) and
refute the literature that found no significant improvement in strength or force with performance
enhancement and psyching up strategies (Brody et al., 2000; McGuigan, Ghiagiarelli, & Tod,
2005; Morales et al., 1999). The present results are novel, however, because of the prescribed
nature of the task. The majority of supporting literature found strength increases only with
the free-choice techniques, but not prescribed techniques (Tod et al., 2005; Tod et al., 2003;
Morales et al., 1999; Tenenbaum et al., 1995). For example, Morales et al. (1999) found no
statistically significant increase in novice and expert dead lift force with grunting. Similarly,
Tenenbaum et al. (1995) found no significant difference in performance of an isokinetic leg
strength task when using either a cognitive technique (positive statement verbalization), a
somatic technique (relaxation) or no psyching-up. It is possible that results of the present
study were different because all participants had previous experience using the technique,
although minimal among novices, which may not have been true for the prescribed techniques
used in other studies.
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STRENGTH PERFORMANCE ENHANCEMENT 425
380
390
400
410
420
430
440
450
Expert (n=25) Novice (n=25) Combined (n=50)
No Kiap
With Kiap
Handgip Strength (Newtons)
Figure 1. Mean handgrip strength (N) of novice, expert, and combined (novice + expert) while
performing a kiap and with no kiap. A significant difference was observed between conditions
across groups (p < .01).
In accordance with the hypothesis, the prescribed kiap increased strength for both experts
and novices in this study (see Figure 1). In the only other comprehensive comparison of
expert and novices, Whelan et al. (1990) found that only athletes with moderate levels of
experience benefited from a prescribed psych-up, while experts required a free-choice psych-
up to improve performance. Brody et al. (2000) hypothesized that experts do not benefit from
prescribed psych-up techniques because their movement patterns and neural pathways are not
capable of adapting to the prescribed psych-up. The current study indicates that experts do
benefit from prescribed performance enhancement techniques for improvement in strength
when the technique is one that is familiar. In fact, kiaping is a t echnique that is frequently used
by expert martial artists in competition, which may have meant it also acted as a preferred
strategy.
The second hypothesis was that experts, due to greater experience with the kiap, would
have a significantly greater increase in handgrip strength during the kiap condition than the
novices. This hypothesis was not supported by the results, and, in fact, effect sizes indicate
that novices’ handgrip strength increased more when using the kiap than the experts’ did,
even though differences between conditions were statistically significant for both groups.
Specifically, the handgrip strength of novices was 8% higher in the kiap condition compared to
no kiap (ES = 1.97), whereas exper ts saw only a 5% higher strength score in the kiap condition
compared to no kiap (ES = 0.83). Although these data imply that novices outperformed experts
in the kiap condition, there were no statistical differences in performance between novices and
experts within the kiap condition. However, given the large differences in effect sizes, it must
be considered that this lack of statistical significance may have been due to a Type II error,
because each group had only 25 participants.
This apparent trend is similar to the results of Morales et al.s (1999) study. They also found
that dead lift force was not impacted significantly by expertise level, although, given the small
sample size, it can be considered that there was a trend towards novices performing slightly
better with grunting (5% improvement) compared to experts (2% improvement). Furthermore,
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426 A. S. WELCH AND M. TSCHAMPL
Brody et al. (2000) suggested that experts may benefit slightly less when a psych-up technique
is prescribed. The expert martial artists in the current study did have considerable experience
with kiaping, but may have developed their own unique method of kiaping due to years of
training. In the kiap condition the researcher described a specific kiaping technique (in order
to maintain consistency in participants’ understanding of what was required), which experts
may have interpreted as restrictive of their own preferred style. Therefore, future research
with larger sample sizes in each group may be warranted to ensure that a Type II error was
not responsible for the acceptance of a null conclusion about expertise level differences in the
present study.
Irrespective of the slight disparity in the magnitude of improvements observed across
experience level, one question that has been clearly answered by the current study is that
both novice and expert martial artists significantly increased their handgrip strength using the
kiap. The results of the current study show that the full benefit of the kiap technique was
realized in novice participants with experience ranging from only 2 months to 10 months of
training. Years of additional training with the kiap (7.4 years, on average, among experts)
did not appear to result in significantly better performance than those with limited training.
This demonstrates the simplicity and possible ease with which the kiap could be taught and
used effectively to increase strength. Due to this combination of parsimony and effectiveness,
the potential practical applications for other sports are extensive. The results of this study
imply that experts and novices in other sports that involve explosive movements, like tennis,
weightlifting, and shot putt, could experience a significant increase in strength or power with
very little kiap training, which suggests that its cost effectiveness could be substantial.
The mechanisms underpinning the effect of the kiap on handgrip performance are unclear.
A number of hypotheses have been proposed to explain why other techniques may have a
positive impact on strength performance. In their literature review, Tod et al. (2003) argued
that psyching-up affects the entire movement process from the higher motor functions to
the manipulation of the interaction between the actin and myosin of the muscle fibers. This
includes changes in the central ner vous system, which increase motor unit recruitment, syn-
chronization, and firing rate, resulting in increased excitation of the muscle membrane (action
potential), release of acetylcholine and calcium, sarcomere length, and the binding of actin and
myosin. This combined chemical and electrical activity increases agonist muscle and decreases
antagonist muscle contractions, which affects mechanical factors like optimal lengthening of
muscle fibers and rate of contraction (Tod et al., 2003).
Other researchers have designed experiments to explain physiological and psychological
reasons for improved performances as a result of psyching up. Brody et al. (2000) measured
bicep and triceps EMG activity as well as attentional focus and arousal during their study on the
isometric elbow flexion task. They found no difference in EMG readings between the psych-up
and control conditions, but there was a significant positive increase in attentional focus and
perceived arousal between the psych-up and control conditions. However, this psychological
advantage failed to produce an increase in force during the psych-up condition due to the
isometric nature of the task. During a handgrip task, Perkins et al. (2001) measured heart rate,
respiratory sinus arrhythmia, skin conductance level, and finger pulse amplitude to investigate
the role of the autonomic nervous system in the effect of psyching up on performance. Though
there was no correlation between the increased handgrip strength and all the physiological
variables measured, there was a strong correlation between increased handgrip strength and
a high level of felt arousal (p < 0.001) and positive hedonic tone (p < 0.001), leading
them to conclude that the increased performance was caused primarily by psychological not
physiological factors.
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STRENGTH PERFORMANCE ENHANCEMENT 427
However, none of these authors investigated the effect of kiaping or similar techniques on
performance, so generalization of these explanations to the present results are limited. In a
commentary on tennis grunting, McConnell (2011) argued that the expulsion of sound is a
result of efficient breath control that directly aids maximal force production. Her description of
the technique shares many characteristics of the kiap, and may serve as a useful explanation for
the effects that were observed in the present study. According to McConnell, the tennis grunt
is a controlled, forceful exhalation that is achieved by narrowing the opening of the lungs and
using the larynx to maintain stability in the core. This maximizes muscular force production
during a tennis shot because the force transmission starts below the player’s waist. A simple
exhalation during or after striking the ball will not achieve the same purpose, McConnell
(2011) asserts, because stability and control of the core is key.
It is important to note that the results of the present study can only be generalized to
participants with some experience of martial arts practice. The results of the present study
may also have been influenced by the expectation that the kiap would improve performance,
because all participants had been taught the technique as a performance enhancement strategy.
More research on the application of kiap training in different sport settings, with other types of
athletes, as well as with and without education about its purpose is essential before conclusions
can be drawn about its potential applicability to strength performance enhancement programs.
Furthermore, the handg rip strength test, while applicable to the martial arts, was simple to
execute and may not have tasked the participants as much as perfor ming a full kicking or
punching technique, or performing in a competitive environment, which may be a concern
for the ecological validity of the task used in this study. A more complex task may challenge
cognitive and physical functions more (particularly in novices) and reduce the effectiveness
of the kiap to enhance performance, as has been found with other performance enhancement
techniques (Tenenbaum et al., 1995; McGuigan et al., 2005). In addition, future research needs
to identify how much training (i.e., number of trials, days, or months) is required before the
maximum performance effect of the kiap is obtained from both novices and experts under
various conditions. It is plausible that such a simple technique could be easily learned in
a short time period, but more research is necessary before such a conclusion can be made.
Finally, the mechanism(s) underpinning the observed effect are still unknown.
In conclusion, there has been conflicting literature on whether strength performance
enhancement strategies (e.g., psyching up techniques) improve performance or not, whether
prescribed techniques are effective, and whether there is a difference between expert and
novice capabilities. The present study examined the effect of a novel performance enhance-
ment strategy (a simple technique taken from martial arts known as the kiap) on handgrip
strength in both novice and expert martial artists. Analysis of the data found significantly
higher handgrip strength with the kiap when compared to no kiap for both novices and
experts. Furthermore, there was no significant diff erence in the effectiveness of the technique
between novices and experts, so substantial experience with the kiap does not appear to result
in further increases in strength. These results indicate that the kiap can be learned easily
and can be effectively used to increase strength after only a short period of training. Further
empirical research is needed to answer to what extent the effects of kiaping can be generalized
to other tasks, or trained to other types of athletes, and what mechanisms are responsible
for the effect of the kiap on strength. Nevertheless, it is important to note that the kiap, a
breathing technique resulting in a loud expulsion of air, may be considered similar to the
grunting t hat occurs in tennis, power lifting, and other sports in which explosive movements
are necessary. Therefore, these results may have important implications for athletes, coaches,
and officials (Flatman, 2009; Navratilova, 2009; Sinnett & Kingstone, 2010) who may be
under the assumption that such strategies are used by athletes solely as a distraction technique.
Downloaded by [Amy Welch] at 11:14 13 September 2012
428 A. S. WELCH AND M. TSCHAMPL
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... Traditionally, in Karate training and competition, an action usually applied is the kiai, which is a breathing technique, usually related to a short shout that aims to focus the martial artist energy in a given attack and, consequently, induce higher levels of strength and speed in the motor action [Martins et al. 2014;Welch, Tschampl 2012]. Kiai is defined as "KI", which means energy, and "AI" which means harmony, and occurs when the individual focuses his energy in the central region of the body, called "tandem" by practitioners. ...
... In this sense, it is suggested that kiai would be relevant for technical actions performance in martial arts. Based on that, Welch and Tschampl [2012], tested the effect of kiai in the handgrip strength of athletes with different experience levels and found an increase in strength performance when kiai was used. Also, Martins et al. [2014], observed that the kiai generates an increase in the peak acceleration of kicks in taekwondo athletes. ...
... The authors observed that when kiai was used, the average acceleration of the kick was significantly higher (p< 0.01). Besides, Welch and Tschampl [2012], examined the effects of kiai on the handgrip strength of 50 participants in different situations (kiai vs control), to determine whether the experience of athletes could affect kiai influences in performance. The results showed that the kiai increased the peak of handgrip strength in both the experienced and beginner athletes (Control: 409.1 ± 95.4N to 428.6 ± 98.9N, p< 0.01; kiai: 406.9 ± 87.6N to 445.6 ± 91.7N, p< 0.01). ...
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Background. Kiai is a breathing technique, usually related to a short scream that aims to focus the martial artist's energy in a given attack. However, the influence of kiai in the technical and physical aspects related to striking performance needs more evidence. Thus, the purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of kiai in the performance of vertical jumps, and reaction time (RT) for punches and kicks in amateur Karate athletes. Methods. Sixteen male amateur athletes aged 18.5 ± 4.3, body mass of 68.5 ± 10 kg, height of 1.7 ± 0.1 m, and 2.4±1.8 years experience in Karate were recruited. Five attempts at each technical action and three attempts at each vertical jump were performed with and without using kiai. The RT was measured by the TReaction ® app and the vertical jumps by using a contact mat. Paired t-tests and Cohen's d effect sizes were used to test differences between conditions, while ANOVA was applied to test differences between attempts for both RT and jumps. Results. No significant differences were found between kiai and control conditions for the countermovement jump (CMJ; p= 0.496), squat jump (SJ; p= 0.374), and drop jump (DJ; p= 0.147) performance. There was no evidence (p> 0.05) of significant differences between conditions for punch and kick Rts. Conclusion. The kiai technique does not promote or affect RT of punch, kick, and vertical jump performance in Karate athletes.
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... Of note, in the shouting protocols used to increase MVC in several previous studies (1,2,5), shouting occurred immediately prior to or almost simultaneously with muscular force exertion. Thus, shoutinginduced excitatory input to the motor system did not occur after muscular force exertion, making it impossible to examine the effect of shouting-induced motor commands on the motor system state as distinct from the effects of force exertion-induced motor commands. ...
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Previous research indicates that producing a shout during momentary maximal exertion effort enhances the force levels of maximal voluntary contraction through the enhancement of motor cortical excitability. However, the muscular force-enhancing effects of shouting on sustained maximal force production remain unclear. We instigated the effect of shouting on the motor system state by examining motor evoked potentials in response to transcranial magnetic stimulation applied over the contralateral primary motor cortex (M1) during sustained maximal voluntary contraction, and by evaluating handgrip maximal voluntary force. Analysis revealed that producing a shout significantly increased handgrip maximal voluntary force and reduced the silent period. Our results indicate that producing a shout increased handgrip voluntary force during sustained maximal exertion effort through the reduced silent period. This study provides evidence that the muscular force-enhancing effect of shouting during maximal force exertion is related to the enhancement of motor system activity caused by the additional drive of shouting operating on the motor system (i.e., shouting-induced excitatory input to M1).
... Purpose Previous research has been completed to determine ways of increasing power output without the use of ergogenic aids, and the use of vocal cues is common. One investigation utilized a pre-repetition "kiap" by martial artists and found that greater power output was generated when compared to a no kiap control condition (Welch & Tschampl, 2012). By increasing the power output during an exercise, a logical assumption is that EE is also increased. ...
... The greater potential for change, relative to graduate students in combination with the employed learning approaches, possibly led to the largely perceived increases in capacity. Given this finding, researchers noted the undergraduate students adhered more closely to structure when designing the mini-experiments incorporating the Apollo EE, as both were extensions of previous literature (Navalta et al., 2018;Welch & Tschampl, 2012). ...
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... Additionally, sound level data of only shouting in the only shouting task and the sustained MVC conditions in the MVC task were analyzed in repeated-measures two-way ANOVAs with a between-participant factor of Group (first or later) and a within-participant factor of Condition (only shouting or a 2-min sustained MVC with five periods of intermittent shouting). The maximal voluntary force, the duration of the silent period, MEP, bEMG, and pupil area under the sustained MVC condition were analyzed in repeated-measures three-way ANOVAs of the experimental group (between-participants factor: shouting in the odd-numbered TMS trials [later: group 1] or shouting in the even-numbered TMS trials [first: group 2][2]) × order of each set (within-participants factor: [shouting or no shouting]) (2) × set (within-participants factor: [1-5 sets][5]). Greenhouse-Geisser corrections were applied when appropriate to adjust for non-sphericity, changing the degrees of freedom using a correction coefficient. ...
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... Physiologically the human body has more stamina when the torso and breathing muscles are engaged, including laryngeal muscles that close the glottis (Hodges et al., 2005), as is sometimes the case during breath holds (Massery et al., 2013) or controlled/forced exhalation (Ikeda et al., 2009;O'Connell et al., 2016). When these muscles or breathing techniques are used, the body can undertake more force or exert strength longer (Welch and Tschampl, 2012). Even untrained people spontaneously hold and control their breath when lifting objects (Mateika and Gordon, 2000;Lamberg et al., 2003;Hagins and Lamberg, 2006). ...
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Previous research has demonstrated that human maximal voluntary force is generally limited by neural inhibition. Indeed, producing a shout during maximal exertion efforts enhances the force levels of maximum voluntary contractions. However, the mechanisms underlying this enhancing effect of force production remain unknown. We investigated the influence of a shout on the pupil-linked neuromodulatory system state by examining pupil size. We also examined its effect on the motor system state by examining motor evoked potentials in response to transcranial magnetic stimulation applied over the contralateral primary motor cortex, and by evaluating the handgrip maximal voluntary force. Analysis showed that a shout significantly increased the handgrip maximal voluntary force, followed by an increase in pupil size and a reduction of the cortical silent period. Our results indicate that a shout can increase handgrip maximal voluntary force through the enhancement of motor cortical excitability, possibly via the enhancement of noradrenergic system activity. This study provides evidence that the muscular force-enhancing effect of a shout during maximal force exertion is related to both the motor system state and the pupil-linked neuromodulatory system state.
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There is a growing chorus of critics who complain that many of the top-ranked professional tennis players who grunt when they hit the ball gain an unfair advantage because the sound of the grunt interferes with their opponent's game. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim. We explored this potential detrimental effect of grunting by presenting videos of a tennis player hitting a ball to either side of a tennis court; the shot either did, or did not, contain a brief sound that occurred at the same time as contact. The participants' task was to respond as quickly as possible, indicating whether the ball was being hit to the left- or right-side of the court. The results were unequivocal: The presence of an extraneous sound interfered with a participants' performance, making their responses both slower and less accurate. Our data suggest that a grunting player has a competitive edge on the professional tennis tour. The mechanism that underlies this effect is a topic for future investigation. Viable alternatives are discussed. For example, the possibility that the interfering auditory stimulus masks the sound of the ball being struck by the racket or it distracts an opponent's attention away from the sound of the ball.
Isometric grip strength can be correlated with upper extremity and overall body strength. Changes in grip strength can be good indicators of the need for and the efficacy of rehabilitative treatment. The measurement of grip strength is a quick and easy assessment tool that, if standard protocol is followed, can be measured with a reasonable amount of reliability and validity. Instruments used to measure grip strength, although many and varied, are readily available and easy to use. Many variables must be considered when measuring grip strength, such as upper extremity and body position, proper choice of instrument, number and duration of trials, and age, sex, and impairment state of the individual to be tested. In this review, we address the variables that potentially affect the reliability and validity of measurement of grip strength and the implications for clinically interpreting grip strength data.
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This study examined the effect of the duration of intertrial rest periods on isometric grip strength scores in successive trials with the use of the power grip attachment of the Baltimore Therapeutic Equipment work simulator. Male and female subjects, 19 to 41 years of age, were randomly assigned to one of three groups, categorized by 15-, 30-, or 60-sec rest periods between five consecutive isometric grip tests. No significant difference were found between the groups in the pattern of decline in torque across trials. However, the group with the longest intertria rest period had a significantly smaller percentage of decline in torque from the first to the last trial and the highest intraclass correlation coefficient between the five trials for both hands. In addition, the same group of subjects demonstrated significantly smaller differences in torque from the first to the second pretrial, which had a 2-min rest period, than from the first to the second experimental trial, which had shorter intertrial rest periods of 15, 30, or 60 sec.
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Meta-analytic methods were used to integrate the findings of a sample of Monte Carlo studies of the robustness of the F test in the one- and two-factor fixed effects ANOVA models. Monte Carlo results for theWelch (1947) and Kruskal-Wallis (Kruskal & Wallis, 1952) tests were also analyzed. The meta-analytic results provided strong support for the robustness of the Type I error rate of the F test when certain assumptions were violated. The F test also showed excellent power properties. However, the Type I error rate of the F test was sensitive to unequal variances, even when sample sizes were equal. The error rate of the Welch test was insensitive to unequal variances when the population distribution was normal, but nonnormal distributions tended to inflate its error rate and to depress its power. Meta-analytic and exact statistical theory results were used to summarize the effects of assumption violations for the tests.
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Mental preparation, or “psych-up” strategies have been assumed to promote physical arousal which subsequently improves certain athletic performances. The present experiment examined the role of arousal changes in the use of psych-up strategies on a physical strength task and a reaction time-decision task for subjects varying in competitive experience. Eighty-four subjects were reliably divided into high, moderate, or low competitive experience groups and randomly assigned to one of three mental preparation strategies. These strageies, which the subjects employed during a mental preparation period for both tasks, were either: (a) a self-generated arousal strategy, (b) a prescribed arousal strategy, or (c) a placebo-control strategy. While heart rate was being monitored, each subject completed a baseline trial, then one trial following a 45 sec mental preparation period and one trial following a 45 sec distraction interval. Order of presentation of tasks and order of presentation of distraction and mental preparation trials were counterbalanced and statistically analyzed. The results support the utility of different mental preparation strategies for increasing strength performance, but not reaction time-decision performance, for subjects with moderate and high levels of previous competitive experience. Self-generated arousal strategies enhanced performance of moderate experienced subjects. Analyses of the heart rate data failed to support the assumption that physiological arousal mediates the influence of psych-up strategies. Mental preparation strategies improved athletes' performance on certain tasks, however these strategies do not necessarily achieve their effects through increased autonomic arousal.
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Optimal arousal models contend that high arousal contributes to inhibited ath- letic performance, whereas there is reversal theory research which indicates that high positive arousal may enhance performance. To test these claims, 22 male and 6 female elite athletes were induced into high arousal telic (goal-directed) and high arousal paratelic (non goal-directed, process focussed) motivational states and tested on a standard hand strength task. Personalized guided imagery tech- niques and paced breathing were used to change psychological and physiological arousal. Significant increases in strength performance occurred when arousal was high and experienced as pleasant excitement in the paratelic condition (i.e., high positive arousal). Heart rate and other indicators of parasympathetic and sympa- thetic nervous system activity were not found to mediate between psychological arousal and performance. Where athletic performance requires maximal motor strength over a short period, performance benefits of high arousal may be maxi- mized by restructuring motivational state.
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The presence of variance heterogeneity and nonnormality in educational and psychological data may frequently invalidate the use of the analysis of variance (ANOVA) F test in one-way independent groups designs. This article offers recommendations to applied researchers on the use of various parametric and nonparametric alternatives to the F test under assumption violation conditions. Meta-analytic techniques were used to summarize the statistical robustness literature on the Type I error properties of the Brown-Forsythe (Brown & Forsythe, 1974), James (1951) second-order, Kruskal-Wallis (Kruskal & Wallis, 1952), and Welch (1951) tests. Two variables, based on the theoretical work of Box (1954), are shown to be highly effective in deciding when a particular alternative procedure should be adopted. Based on the meta-analysis findings, it is recommended that researchers gain a clear understanding of the nature of their data before conducting statistical analyses. Of all of the procedures, the James and Welch tests performed best under violations of the variance homogeneity assumption, although their sensitivity to certain types of nonnormality may preclude their use in all data-analytic situations. Opportunities for further methodological studies of ANOVA alternative procedures are also discussed.
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See www.breathestrong.com Today’s top athletes, as well as their coaches and trainers, know the benefits that breathing muscle training provides. From performance to conditioning, the results are clear. Now with Breathe Strong, Perform Better, you will learn how to use breathing training to excel. In this comprehensive guide, the world’s leading authority on breathing muscle training, Alison McConnell, will show you how to apply the latest scientific research and case studies to maximize training, conditioning, and performance. With detailed instruction, practical advice, and easy-to-use sample programs in Breathe Strong, Perform Better, you will be able to achieve these goals: Increase breathing strength, power, and endurance. Improve breathing comfort. Improve performance times. Accelerate training and performance recovery. Enhance breathing efficiency. Reduce whole-body effort. Minimize the risk of injury. In addition, you’ll find more than 30 sample workouts for specific sports and fitness activities, such as baseball, cycling, football, running, soccer, swimming, tennis, and weight training. With professional insights, exercise tips, and advice for integrating breathing training into existing training programs, this guide has it all. If you are ready to improve fitness, increase performance, or simply maximize your enjoyment of exercise, Breathe Strong, Perform Better is the guide you can’t be without. Contents Part I The Science of Breathing Chapter 1. Breathing During Exercise Chapter 2. Performance Limitations of Breathing Muscles Chapter 3. Training Response of Breathing Muscles Chapter 4. Performance Benefits of Breathing Muscle Training Part II Breathing Muscle Training Chapter 5. Training the Breathing Muscles Chapter 6. Building Your Foundation Chapter 7. Training for Exercise and Fitness Chapter 8. Training for Endurance Sports Chapter 9. Training for Team Sports Chapter 10. Training for Racket, Striking, and Throwing Sports Chapter 11. Exercises for Breathing Muscle Training
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This article briefly introduces the phenomena of ki-energy to the Western readers who are not familiar with them, by relying on Yuasa Yasuo's conceptual scheme. Ki-energy has traditionally been an intense thematic focus of various East-Asian fields of human endeavours such as acupuncture medicine, martial arts and meditational training. The article articulates some of the salient features of this energy as it is understood in these fields, while incorporating knowledge of contemporary scientific research on them. It is written with a view to stimulating further research on it, as it carries important implications for addressing many of the issues we face today.
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This study compared the effects of both cognitive and somatic psyching-up techniques on isokinetic strength performance. The subjects, 45 non-strength-trained men (ages 24.7 +/- 3.6 yrs), were randomly assigned to one of three groups: positive statements (PS-cognitive), relaxation-visualization and autogenic training (RVA-somatic), or control (no treatment). Knee extensor strength was measured on an isokinetic dynamometer before and after four sessions of psychological intervention. The control group showed a significantly greater improvement (39.1%) in peak force than both PS (24.6%, p < 0.05) and RVA (9.0%, p < 0.05) treatment groups. The improvement of peak force observed in PS was significantly greater than that in RVA. Peak power improvements were similar (9.0%, p < 0.05) for all three groups. The results suggest that four sessions of mental preparation techniques in non-strength-trained individuals may hinder optimal strength performance by diverting the individuals' full concentration away from the exercise movement. (C) 1995 National Strength and Conditioning Association