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Abstract

This study aimed to analyze the influence of range of motion (ROM) on main biomechanical parameters of the bench press (BP) exercise: i) load-velocity relationship by mean (MV) and mean propulsive velocity (MPV), ii) one-repetition maximum strength (1RM); iii) contribution of the propulsive and braking phases, and iv) presence of the sticking region key parameters (first peak barbell velocity: Vmax1, minimum velocity: Vmin and second peak barbell velocity: Vmax2). Forty-two strength-trained males performed a progressive loading test, starting at 20 kg and gradually increasing the load in 10 kg until MPV ≤ 0.50 m·s-1 and 5 down to 2.5 kg until 1RM, in three different ROMs: full ROM (BPFULL), two-thirds (BP2/3) and one-third (BP1/3). While significant differences were detected in the velocity attained against loads between 30-95% 1RM (BPFULL, BP2/3 and BP1/3, p < 0.05), both MV and MPV showed a very close relationship to %1RM for the three BP variations (R2 = 0.935-0.966). The contribution of the braking phase decreased progressively until it completely disappeared at the 80%, 95% and 100% 1RM loads in BP1/3, BP2/3 and BPFULL, respectively. The 1RM increased as the ROM decreased (BPFULL < BP2/3 < BP1/3, p < 0.05). Despite the three bio-mechanical parameters that define the sticking region on the velocity time curves were only observed in BPFULL variation, in 54.5% of the cases the subjects started their BP2/3 displacement before reaching the position at which the Vmin occurs in their BPFULL exercise. The complete or partial presence of the sticking region during the concentric action of the lift seems to underlie the differences in the 1RM strength, load-velocity profiles and the contribution of the propulsive phase in the BP exercise at different ROMs.
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2019) 18, 645-652
http://www.jssm.org
Received: 07 May 2019 / Accepted: 31 July 2019 / Published (online): 01 December 2019
`
Range of Motion and Sticking Region Effects on the Bench Press Load-Velocity
Relationship
Alejandro Martínez-Cava 1, Ricardo Morán-Navarro 1, Alejandro Hernández-Belmonte 1, Javier Courel-
Ibáñez 1, Elena Conesa-Ros 1, Juan José González-Badillo 2 and Jesús G. Pallarés 1
1 Human Performance and Sports Science Laboratory. Faculty of Sport Sciences, University of Murcia, Spain
2 Faculty of Sport, Pablo de Olavide University, Seville, Spain
Abstract
This study aimed to analyze the influence of range of motion
(ROM) on main biomechanical parameters of the bench press
(BP) exercise: i) load-velocity relationship by mean (MV) and
mean propulsive velocity (MPV), ii) one-repetition maximum
strength (1RM); iii) contribution of the propulsive and braking
phases, and iv) presence of the sticking region key parameters
(first peak barbell velocity: Vmax1, minimum velocity: Vmin and
second peak barbell velocity: Vmax2). Forty-two strength-trained
males performed a progressive loading test, starting at 20 kg and
gradually increasing the load in 10 kg until MPV ≤ 0.50 mꞏs-1 and
5 down to 2.5 kg until 1RM, in three different ROMs: full ROM
(BPFULL), two-thirds (BP2/3) and one-third (BP1/3). While signifi-
cant differences were detected in the velocity attained against
loads between 30-95% 1RM (BPFULL, BP2/3 and BP1/3, p < 0.05),
both MV and MPV showed a very close relationship to %1RM
for the three BP variations (R2 = 0.935-0.966). The contribution
of the braking phase decreased progressively until it completely
disappeared at the 80%, 95% and 100% 1RM loads in BP1/3, BP2/3
and BPFULL, respectively. The 1RM increased as the ROM de-
creased (BPFULL < BP2/3 < BP1/3, p < 0.05). Despite the three bio-
mechanical parameters that define the sticking region on the ve-
locity-time curves were only observed in BPFULL variation, in
54.5% of the cases the subjects started their BP2/3 displacement
before reaching the position at which the V
min occurs in their
BPFULL exercise. The complete or partial presence of the sticking
region during the concentric action of the lift seems to underlie
the differences in the 1RM strength, load-velocity profiles and the
contribution of the propulsive phase in the BP exercise at differ-
ent ROMs.
Key words: Resistance training, biomechanics, maximum
strength, sticking point, testing.
Introduction
The bench press (BP) is one of the most popular exercises
used to strengthen the musculature of the upper body, pri-
marily the chest, shoulders, and arms (Kompf and Aran-
djelović, 2017; Sánchez-Medina et al., 2010; 2014). Lying
supine on a bench, this exercise starts with the subject hold-
ing a barbell with both hands, straight arms and elbows
locked. The barbell is lowered to the chest and then pushed
against the direction of gravity until the full extension of
the elbows (Gomo and van den Tillaar, 2016). The BP has
proved to be a safe and effective exercise on the musculo-
skeletal system when performed with the correct tech-
nique, proper loads and following an adequate learning
progression (Kompf and Arandjelović, 2017; Sánchez-
Medina et al., 2010; 2014). A number of studies have
found that increases in upper-body strength following BP
training transfer positively to athletic performance in short
duration actions that demand maximal neuromuscular acti-
vation of the upper body (García-Pallarés et al., 2011;
Gorostiaga et al., 2006; Ortega-Becerra et al., 2018). Addi-
tionally, greater functional and specific performance im-
provements have been reported in medium to long distance
athletes (e.g. rowing, swimming or canoeing) following re-
sistance training with BP as a main exercise (García-Palla-
rés et al., 2009; Izquierdo-Gabarren et al., 2009; Nevin
et al., 2018).
Variations in the range of motion (ROM) of the BP
concentric phase influences several biomechanical factors
which are related to the specificity of the movement pattern
and can affect the development of force, rate of force de-
velopment, activation and synchronization of motor units
(Mookerjee and Ratamess, 1999). Specifically, during a lift
at near maximal loads (>80% 1RM) there is an instant
where the upward barbell movement decelerates or even
stops completely for a short time (Kompf and Aran-
djelović, 2017; Król et al., 2010; McLaughlin and Madsen,
1984; van den Tillaar and Ettema, 2010). This period in
which the pushing force is less than gravity, leading to a
deceleration of the barbell (van den Tillaar and Ettema,
2010) is referred to as “sticking period” (Lander et al.,
1985) or “sticking region” (Elliott et al., 1989). This stick-
ing region is thought to coincide with a poor mechanical
force position, where the length and moment arms of the
muscles involved are such that their capacity to exert force
is reduced (McLaughlin and Madsen, 1984; van den Tillaar
et al., 2012). To account for this biomechanical limitation,
most studies have employed a full ROM in the concentric
phase of the BP lift to maximize gains in functional perfor-
mance of upper body (García-Pallarés et al., 2009; Ga-
vanda et al., 2018; Gorostiaga et al., 2006). However, some
authors have reported similar (Massey et al., 2004) or even
higher strength gains (Mookerjee and Ratamess, 1999)
when training at partial ROM. These controversial results
have been attributed to the fact that partial ROM allows the
lifting of heavier loads. Since no other explanation has
been found about physiological mechanisms which relates
the reduction in ROM to additional strength gains, further
research is required to explain this relationship (Mookerjee
and Ratamess, 1999).
To this purpose, the state-of-the-art velocity-based
resistance training (VBRT) could be a very effective
method for quantifying force production and power output
Research article
Bench press, range of motion and sticking region
646
in BP at different ROMs based on barbell velocity and dis-
placement (González-Badillo and Sánchez-Medina, 2010;
González-Badillo et al., 2014;nchez-Medina and Gon-
zález-Badillo, 2011). Evidence supports that the VBRT is
a valid, reliable and highly sensitive method to: (1) deter-
mine an athlete’s maximum strength without the need to
perform one repetition maximum (1RM) or maximum
number of repetitions to failure (nRM) tests (González-Ba-
dillo and Sánchez-Medina, 2010); (2) determine the %
1RM that is being used from the first repetition performed
at maximal voluntary velocity for a given load (Sánchez-
Medina et al., 2010); (3) estimate the muscle power output
production (Sánchez-Medina et al., 2014); and (4) quantify
the neuromuscular fatigue induced by resistance exercise
using a noninvasive and objective method (González-Ba-
dillo et al., 2011; Morán-Navarro et al., 2017a; 2017b; Pa-
reja-Blanco et al., 2017a; 2017b). The sticking region of
the BP at different ROMs can be detected using velocity-
based methods (i.e. the velocity-time curve), between the
first barbell peak velocity and its first local minimum there-
after (Elliott et al., 1989; van den Tillaar et al., 2012). Pre-
vious studies have established a velocity-time curve in BP
exercise using the VBRT approach (Sánchez-Medina et al.,
2014; van den Tillaar and Ettema, 2010; 2013). However,
there is no information available about the relationship be-
tween velocity and time in full ROM compared to different
partial ROMs in BP. Only one study has examined the ve-
locity-time curve for different ROMs in the squat exercise
(Martínez-Cava et al., 2019), which encourages further re-
search.
The concentric portion of a lift can be further sub-
divided into propulsive (barbell acceleration is greater than
acceleration due to gravity,) and braking () phases (Mar-
tínez-Cava et al., 2019; Sánchez-Medina et al., 2010). The
identification of these two phases allows practitioners to
make a more accurate assessment of both the neuromuscu-
lar performance and the effect of training, since only dur-
ing the propulsive phase the athlete is applying internal
force to accelerate the barbell (González-Badillo et al.,
2017). However, although these phases have been previ-
ously identified in the traditional BP (Sánchez-Medina et
al., 2010; 2014), no evidences exist about how different
ROMs may alter the relative contribution of the propulsive
and braking phases.
The purpose of this study was to investigate
whether a different ROM may alter performance in BP ex-
ercise in a large sample of experienced strength-trained
athletes by exploring the following parameters: i) load-ve-
locity relationships, ii) the one-repetition maximum
strength (1RM); iii) the contribution of the propulsive and
braking phases, and iv) the presence of the sticking region
key parameters. Additionally, we aim to assess the possi-
bility of using barbell velocity to estimate loading magni-
tude (% 1RM) in this exercise executed at maximum and
submaximum ROM.
Methods
Participants
Forty-two men (age 23.0 ± 4.2 years, body mass 75.7 ±
12.7 kg, height 1.75 ± 0.07 m, body fat 11.1 ± 5.2%)
volunteered to take part in this study. Participants were re-
quired to have the following criteria to be eligible: (i) hav-
ing a 1RM strength/body mass ratio higher than 0.80 in full
BP exercise and (ii) no physical limitations, health prob-
lems, or musculoskeletal injuries that could affect the tech-
nical executions. In the 12 months preceding the study, par-
ticipants had been performing 2-4 resistance training ses-
sions per week and all incorporated the BP as part of their
physical conditioning. The study, which was conducted ac-
cording to the Declaration of Helsinki, was approved by
the Ethics Commission of the Local University. All partic-
ipants signed a written consent form after being informed
of the purpose and experimental procedures.
Testing procedures
Each participant performed a total of 13 sessions separated
by 48-72 h. The first session was used for body composi-
tion assessment, personal data and health history question-
naire administration, medical examination and identifica-
tion of the BP starting position for each of the three ROM
variations: full (BPFULL), two-thirds (BP2/3) and one-third
(BP1/3), described later in detail. Then, in random order,
each subject performed three familiarization sessions for
each BP variation (i.e. nine sessions in total). After a rest-
ing day, three progressive loading tests up to the 1RM were
conducted on separate days and in random order, one for
each ROM variation.
Velocity-load relationship and 1RM strength determi-
nation
Following the familiarization sessions, the individual load-
velocity relationships were determined by means of a pro-
gressive loading test up to the 1RM for the three BP varia-
tions in a Smith machine (Multipower Fitness Line,
Peroga, Murcia, Spain). Following a standardized warm-
up protocol, the initial load was set at 20 kg and was grad-
ually increased in 10 kg increments until mean propulsive
velocity (MPV) was ≤ 0.50 mꞏs-1. Thereafter, load was in-
dividually adjusted with smaller increments (5 down to 2.5
kg) so that the 1RM could be precisely determined. The
1RM was considered as the heaviest load that each subject
could properly lift while completing full ROM for each BP
variation, without any external help. Absolute loads (kg),
% 1RM and 1RM to body mass ratio (1RM/BM) were an-
alyzed. The reproducibility and repeatability of this testing
protocol has been recently described (Courel-Ibáñez et al.,
2019) with excellent reliability (ICC = 0.999, 95% CI =
0.999–0.999, CV = 1.8%).
Bench press execution technique
The individual ROM for the three BP variations was care-
fully determined during the first familiarization session,
and subsequently replicated in each trial with the help of
two telescopic (±1 cm precision) barbell spotters placed at
the left and right sides of the Smith machine (Pallarés et
al., 2014). This strategy was used in all the BP variants an-
alyzed in order to: i) precisely control and replicate the in-
dividual eccentric ROM between trials, and ii) allow par-
ticipants to momentarily release the weight of the barbell
on the spotters for 2 seconds, therefore minimizing the
contribution of the stretch-shortening cycle (i.e. rebound
Martinez-Cava et al.
647
effect) and performing a purely concentric action, thus
increasing measurement reliability (Pallarés et al., 2014).
For the three BP variations, participants lay supine
on a flat bench, with their feet resting flat on the floor and
hands placed on the barbell slightly wider (5–7 cm) than
shoulder width. The position on the bench was carefully
adjusted so that the vertical projection of the barbell corre-
sponded with each participant’s intermammary line. Both
bench position and grip widths were individually recorded
for each participant to be reproduced on every lift. Partici-
pants were not allowed to bounce the barbell off their
chests nor raise the shoulders or trunk off the bench. With
the elbows fully extended and shoulders in contact with the
bench (final position) participants were required to descend
in a continuous motion until reaching their previously de-
termined concentric initial position for each BP variation:
Full (BPFULL): descent until the barbell contacted with
the spotters at 1 cm of the chest, i.e. full ROM.
Two-thirds (BP2/3): descent until the barbell reaches
two-thirds of the full ROM.
One-third (BP1/3): descent until the barbell reaches
one-thirds of the full ROM.
For all trials, participants were required to always
perform the concentric phase in an explosive manner (at
maximal intended velocity), while controlling the eccentric
phase at mean velocity between 0.45-0.65 mꞏs-1 (Pallarés
et al., 2014; Sánchez-Medina et al., 2017).
A linear velocity transducer (T-Force System®,
Ergotech, Murcia, Spain) with a sampling frequency of
1,000 Hz automatically determined the eccentric and
concentric phases of every repetition as well as the
propulsive phase, defined as that portion of the concentric
phase during which barbell acceleration is greater than
acceleration due to gravity (Sánchez-Medina et al., 2010).
Measures from the mean velocity (MV), mean propulsive
velocity (MPV) and position of the barbell were analyzed
both, in absolute (mꞏs-1 and cm) and relative (%) terms,
during the propulsive phase in the three BP variations. For
each subject, the velocity-time curve corresponding to the
1RM load in each of the three BP variations were examined
to identify the main sticking region parameters: first peak
barbell velocity (Vmax1); ii) minimum velocity (Vmin); and
iii) second peak barbell velocity (Vmax2).
Statistical analyses
Standard statistical methods were used for the calculation
of means, standard deviations (SD), confidence intervals
(CI) and Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients
(r). Relationships between load (% 1RM) and velocity
were studied by fitting second-order polynomials (R2) to
data. 1RM strength and concentric displacement for the
three BP variations were analyzed using one-way
ANOVA. After a significant F-test, differences among
means were identified using pairwise comparisons with
Scheffé’s method. Significance was accepted at p < 0.05
level. Analyses were performed using SPSS software
version 20.0 (IBM Corp., Armonk, NY).
Results
As shown in Table 1, both 1RM and 1RM/BM strength
were significantly different between exercises, the greater
the ROM, the less the 1RM: BP
FULL < BP
2/3 < BP
1/3.
Concentric displacement of the barbell in absolute and
relative terms decreased as the ROM decreased: BPFULL >
BP2/3 > BP1/3. No differences were detected in the MPV
attained at the 1RM load between the three BP variations
(p > 0.05).
An example of the actual velocity-time and
displacement-time curves for a representative subject when
lifting his 1RM load in the three BP variations analyzed is
provided in Figure 1. Once the displacement of the barbell
started, no decrease in velocity (Vmin) was observed in any
curve of the BP2/3 or BP
1/3 exercises, and therefore the
sticking region (yellow) was only observed in the BPFULL
executions (100% of the participants analyzed) (Figure 1).
The position, in absolute or relative terms, of the Vmax1
during the 1RM in BPFULL was always prior to the
beginning of the BP2/3 or BP1/3 movement. However, in
54.5% of the cases, the subjects started their BP2/3
displacement before reaching the position at which the Vmin
occurs in their BPFULL exercise. Finally, the position at
Table 1. Comparison of 1RM strength, concentric displacement and measured 1RM mean velocity of the three bench press
variations analyzed: full ROM (BPFULL), two-thirds (BP2/3) and one-third (BP1/3). Sticking region at 1RM load: Velocity and
position of the first (Vmax1) and second peak velocity (Vmax2) and the minimum velocity (Vmin) during the 1RM of the BPFULL (n
= 42).
BPFULL BP2/3 BP1/3
1RM strength and displacement
1RM (kg) 77.8 ± 14.7 90.9 ± 15.3* 111.8 ± 22.2*#
1RM/BM 1.01 ± 0.21 1.16 ± 0.22* 1.42 ± 0.24*#
1RM MPV (mꞏs-1) 0.16 ± 0.04 0.18 ± 0.03 0.17 ± 0.03
Concentric displacement (cm) 43.3 ± 3.11 29.6 ± 2.62* 14.8 ± 2.18*#
% Full displacement (%) 100 68 ± 1* 34 ± 1*#
Sticking region at 1RM load
First peak barbell velocity (Vmax1) MPV 0.20 ± 0.04
Position (cm) 5.5 ± 2.4
Position (%) 12.7 ± 5.5
Minimal velocity (Vmin) MPV 0.08 ± 0.04
Position (cm) 16.0 ± 4.0
Position (%) 35.5 ± 11.8
Second peak barbell velocity (Vmax2) MPV 0.46 ± 0.11
Position (cm) 38.7 ± 2.3
Position (%) 89.4 ± 2.7
1RM: one-repetition maximum; 1RM/BM: 1RM to body mass ratio; MPV: mean propulsive velocity; *significantly different to the BPFULL;
#significantly different to the BP2/3 (p < 0.05). *significantly different to the BPFULL; #significantly different to the BP2/3 (p < 0.05).
Bench press, range of motion and sticking region
648
Figure 1. Example of the upwards barbell movement velocity (continuous line) and displacement (dash line) during a concentric
1RM for the BPFULL (blue), BP2/3 (red) and BP1/3 (green) variations. Yellow zone denotes the % concentric displacement in
which occurs the sticking region (only in the BPFULL variant).
which the Vmax2 occurs during the 1RM in BPFULL was
always posterior to the beginning of the BP2/3 or BP1/3
movement in all subjects (Table 1, Figure 1).
A very close fit between the bar velocity and %
1RM was found for the three BP exercises (Figure 2), both
for MPV (BPFULL: R2 = 0.965, BP2/3: R2 = 0.960, BP1/3: R2
= 0.935) and MV (BPFULL: R2 = 0.966, BP2/3: R2 = 0.961,
BP1/3: R2 = 0.945), yielding the following second order
polynomial equations:
For MPV:
BPFULL Load = 11.74 MPV2 – 82.96 MPV + 115.6
BP2/3 Load = 26.02 MPV2 – 112.46 MPV + 120.9
BP1/3 Load = 61.60 MPV2 – 165.93 MPV + 125.56
For MV:
BPFULL Load = 10.20 MV2 – 84.34 MV + 116.2
BP2/3 Load = 28.277 MV2 – 119.1 MV + 122.6
BP1/3 Load = 67.677 MV2 – 177.55 MV + 128.1
Individual curve fits for each test gave an R2 of
0.991 ± 0.008 (range: 0.970-0.999; CV = 0.81 %) for
BPFULL, R2 of 0.993 ± 0.004 (range: 0.975-1.000; CV = 0.4
%) for BP2/3 and R2 of 0.989 ± 0.009 (range: 0.965-0.997;
CV = 0.93 %) for BP1/3 (Figure 2).
The MPV estimated for each % 1RM (Table 2) was
different in each BP variation at loads between 30-95%
1RM (p < 0.05), but similar at 1RM loads (0.21 ± 0.03 for
BPFULL, 0.20 ± 0.03 for BP2/3 and 0.17 ± 0.04 for BP1/3; p >
0.05). The propulsive phase accounted for 73% of
concentric duration at 30% 1RM, progressively increasing
until reaching 100% at the 80% 1RM in the BP1/3, at the
95% 1RM in the BP2/3 and at the 100% 1RM in the BPFULL.
Discussion
The main finding of this study indicates that the absence of
one or more of the key parameters that define the sticking
region in the velocity-time curve of the BPFULL would
explain the critical differences in the 1RM strength, load-
velocity profiles and the contribution of the propulsive
phase when the BP exercise is performed at shorter ROMs.
The fact that MPV attained against the 1RM load
was very similar between the three BP variations confirms
that velocity-based methods are robust, non-invasive and
highly sensitive to estimate key performance indicators in
strength training, such as the relative loading intensity (%
1RM), maximum strength (1RM), the level of effort and
neuromuscular fatigue incurred during a set (González-
Badillo and Sánchez-Medina, 2010; Martínez-Cava et al.,
2019; Morán-Navarro et al., 2017a; 2017b; Pareja-Blanco
et al., 2017a; 2017b; Sánchez-Medina et al., 2011). Our
findings add new insight into VBRT applications for
training prescription by providing data on the complete
load-velocity relationship in BP at three different ROMs.
As could be expected (Martinez-Cava et al., 2019), the
MPV attained at loads lower than 1RM (30-95% 1RM) was
higher the greater the ROM (BP
FULL > BP2/3 > BP1/3).
Despite this, close relationships were observed between
relative load and MPV for BPFULL (R2 = 0.965), BP2/3 (R2 =
0.960) and BP1/3 (R2 = 0.935), and an even more fitted
relationship was found when individual curves for each test
were analyzed: BPFULL (R2 = 0.991), BP2/3 (R2 = 0.993) and
BP1/3 (R2 = 0.989). These extremely close relationships
make possible to determine with great precision the load
(% 1RM) being used in each BP variation “on the go”, as
soon as the first repetition with any given absolute load is
performed with maximal voluntary effort (Martínez-Cava
Martinez-Cava et al.
649
et al., 2019; Morán-Navarro et al., 2017a; Sánchez-Medina
et al., 2014, 2017).
Figure 2. Relationships between relative load (% 1RM) and
MPV for the three bench press variations analyzed: (A)
BPFULL; (B) BP2/3; (C) BP1/3. Raw load-velocity data pairs
were obtained from the 42 progressive loading tests
performed.
The present study found a different contribution of
the propulsive phase both in function of BP ROM and %
1RM. The propulsive phase corresponds to the part of the
concentric movement in which the athlete is accelerating
the barbell against the direction of gravity, while the
braking phase makes reference at the end of the concentric
movement in which the athlete decelerates the barbell
(Sánchez-Medina et al., 2010). According to our results,
the propulsive phase accounted for 73% of the concentric
duration at 30% 1RM (Table 2) but progressively increased
as loads were higher. This is in line with previous studies
in BP (Sánchez-Medina et al., 2010, 2014), squat
(Martinez-Cava et al., 2019; Sánchez-Medina et al., 2017)
and prone bench pull (Sánchez-Medina et al., 2014).
Interestingly, the present study found that the time of the
propulsive phase was different depending on the BP ROM.
This phase reached its 100% of contribution at the 80%
1RM in the BP1/3, at the 95% 1RM in the BP2/3 and at the
100% 1RM in the BPFULL (Table 2). No previous studies
have investigated the influence of the ROM in this
biomechanical aspect. A main practical implication of this
finding is that the velocity assessment during the
propulsive phase (MPV) allows differentiating the actual
performance of athletes (strength, velocity and power
generated during a concentric action) with more accuracy
than taking into account the mean velocity during the
whole concentric movement (MV) and thus is a better
variable for 1RM estimation – because of the negative
effect of the braking phase (Sánchez-Medina et al., 2010).
For instance, against the same low to moderate relative
load (20% to 70% 1RM), strong athletes with high 1RM
that reach fast velocities will subsequently produce a long
braking phase; in turn, slower velocities attained by weaker
athletes will result in a shorter braking phase. As a
consequence, the MV will underestimate the
neuromuscular potential in stronger athletes while
overestimating the values in the weaker ones (Gonzalez-
Badillo et al., 2017).
With reference to the sticking region parameters,
the present study found that Vmax1, Vmin and Vmax2 took
place at 5.5 cm (12.7%), 16.0 cm (35.5%) and 38.7 cm
(89.4%) of the mean concentric displacement of BPFULL
exercise, respectively (Table 1). In agreement with the
present study, van den Tillaar et al., (2012) found the Vmax1,
Vmin and Vmax2 variables at 3 cm, 13 cm and 31 cm of the
concentric displacement, respectively. These results were
also similar to those found by Gomo and van den Tillaar
(2016) and van den Tillaar and Ettema (2013). It would be
pertinent to comment that these minor differences could be
explained by the pause between the eccentric and
concentric phase performed in the present study. This
pause minimizes the contribution of the stretch-shortening
cycle and performing a purely concentric action, thus
increasing measurement reliability (Pallarés et al., 2014).
Other authors have found that the modification of factors
such as the grip width can modify the moments in which
the sticking region parameters take place. For instance,
Wagner et al., (1992) found that for a middle grip, the
sticking region was found to occur later in vertical
displacement in comparison with both narrow and wide
grips. For its part, Gomo and van den Tillaar (2016)
reported that the sticking region starts earlier with narrower
grips. Another technical modification which could alter the
sticking region is the “bounce” against the chest. Van den
Tillaar and Ettema, (2013) found that performing a bounce
would generate an earlier occurrence of Vmax1, Vmin and
Vmax2 variables, in comparison with a pure concentric lift.
On the other hand, an interesting finding was
detected in the relationship between the displacement and
the 1RM. Whereas mean concentric displacement
showed a proportional decrease between the three BP
Martinez-Cava et al.
650
Table 2. Mean propulsive velocity (m ꞏ s-1) estimated for each load (% 1RM) and relative contribution of the propulsive phase
to the total concentric duration in the three bench press variations: full ROM (BPFULL), two-thirds (BP2/3) and one-third (BP1/3)
(n = 42).
Load
(%1RM)
BPFULL BP2/3 BP1/3
MPV
(mꞏs-1)
95% CI
(mꞏs-1)
Propulsive
phase (%)
MPV
(mꞏs-1)
95% CI
(mꞏs-1)
Propulsive
phase (%)
MPV
(mꞏs-1)
95% CI
(mꞏs-1)
Propulsive
phase (%)
30 1.23 ± 0.07 1.20 -1.25 73 1.06 ± 0.07# 1.04-1.08 72 0.83 ± 0.08#* 0.80-0.85 73
35 1.15 ± 0.06 1.13-1.17 76 0.99 ± 0.07# 0.97-1.01 76 0.77 ± 0.07#* 0.75-0.79 78
40 1.07 ± 0.06 1.06-1.09 79 0.91 ± 0.07# 0.89-0.93 79 0.70 ± 0.07#* 0.68-0.72 82
45 0.99 ± 0.06 0.97-1.01 81 0.84 ± 0.06# 0.82-0.86 82 0.64 ± 0.06#* 0.62-0.66 85
50 0.91 ± 0.05 0.89-0.93 84 0.77 ± 0.06# 0.75-0.78 85 0.58 ± 0.06#* 0.56-0.60 89
55 0.83 ± 0.05 0.81-0.85 86 0.70 ± 0.06# 0.69-0.72 88 0.53 ± 0.06#* 0.51-0.55 92
60 0.76 ± 0.05 0.75-0.78 88 0.64 ± 0.05# 0.63-0.66 90 0.48 ± 0.06#* 0.46-0.50 94
65 0.68 ± 0.05 0.67-0.70 90 0.57 ± 0.05# 0.56-0.59 92 0.43 ± 0.05#* 0.41-0.45 96
70 0.61 ± 0.05 0.60-0.63 92 0.51 ± 0.05# 0.50-0.53 94 0.38 ± 0.05#* 0.36-0.39 98
75 0.54 ± 0.05 0.53-0.55 94 0.45 ± 0.04# 0.44-0.47 96 0.34 ± 0.05#* 0.32-0.35 99
80 0.47 ± 0.04 0.46-0.48 95 0.40 ± 0.04# 0.39-0.42 97 0.30 ± 0.04#* 0.28-0.31 100
85 0.41 ± 0.04 0.40-0.42 97 0.35 ± 0.04# 0.34-0.36 99 0.26 ± 0.04#* 0.24-0.27 100
90 0.34 ± 0.04 0.33-0.35 98 0.30 ± 0.04# 0.29-0.31 99 0.23 ± 0.04#* 0.22-0.24 100
95 0.28 ± 0.03 0.27-0.29 99 0.25 ± 0.04# 0.24-0.26 100 0.20 ± 0.04# 0.19-0.21 100
100 0.21 ± 0.03 0.19-0.22 100 0.20 ± 0.03 0.19-0.22 100 0.17 ± 0.04 0.16-0.19 100
MPV: Mean propulsive velocity; CI: confidence interval; #significantly different to the BPFULL; * significantly different to the BP2/3 (p < 0.001).
variations (BPFULL vs. BP2/3: -13.7 cm, 31.6%; BP2/3 vs.
BP1/3: -14.8 cm, 34.2%), the 1RM values showed a
disproportional increase between BP2/3 and BP1/3 (BPFULL
vs. BP2/3: +13.1 kg, 14.4%; BP2/3 vs. BP1/3: +20.9 kg,
18.7%) (Table 1). This large and disproportional increase
in 1RM strength associated to BP
1/3 in comparison with
BP2/3 could be explained by the fact that approximately half
of the participants started their BP2/3 lift before reaching the
position at which the Vmin occurs in their BPFULL exercise.
Although it cannot be observed in the velocity-time curve,
the presence of this poor mechanical force position (i.e.,
not the whole sticking region), has a noticeable effect on
the athletes’ maximum dynamic strength (Table 1, Figure
1). In the same line, Massey et al., (2004) and Mookerjee
and Ratamess (1999) have shown that subjects were able
to lift higher weights with partial range (avoiding the
sticking region) in comparison to full range in BP exercise.
This disproportional 1RM increase as the concentric
displacement decreased was also observed by Martínez-
Cava et al., (2019) in back squat. These authors justified
that the absence of the sticking region in half squat could
explain the differences in 1RM in comparison to full and
parallel squat, where a complete sticking region was
identified. Indeed, this strategy of avoiding the sticking
region to increase 1RM is common in powerlifters. These
athletes have as their main goal to lift as much weight as
possible in BP, between other exercises (International
Powerlifting Federation, 2019). Powerlifters generate a
voluntary BP ROM reduction through different strategies
such as postural modifications (e.g., a pronounced lumbar
arch, an accentuated scapular retraction) (García-Ramos et
al., 2018), wide grips (Gomo and van den Tillaar, 2016;
Wagner et al., 1992) or the inclusion of external materials
like boards (Swinton et al., 2009), reducing the BP
displacement from a full ROM (BPFULL) to two-thirds
(BP2/3), or even one-third ROM (BP1/3). Just like it has been
seen in this study, this technique would allow them to take
advantage of the partial or complete absence of the sticking
region increasing their 1RM.
Conclusion
The main finding of the present study allows us to conclude
that the complete or partial presence of the sticking region
generated by different ROMs seems to underlie the
differences in the 1RM strength, load-velocity profiles and
the contribution of the propulsive phase in the BP exercise.
Due to the differences between BP variations, these results
could have implications for both load prescription and
monitoring the effect of the training.
Acknowledgements
The authors wish to thank the participants for their invaluable contribution
to the study. The experiments comply with the current laws of Spain. The
authors have no conflicts of interests to declare.
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Key points
Although load-velocity relationships were
significantly different in function of ROM in BP, a
very close relationship was observed between
relative load, MV and MVP for the three BP
variations.
The contribution of the braking phase was also
different between BP variations decreasing until it
completely disappeared at the 80%, 95% and 100%
1RM loads in BP1/3, BP2/3 and BPFULL, respectively.
The 1RM strength was significantly lower the
greater the ROM (BPFULL < BP2/3 < BP1/3).
Despite the fact that the three key biomechanical
parameters that define the sticking region were only
observed in BPFULL variation, in 54.5% of the cases,
the subjects started their BP2/3 displacement before
reaching the position at which the Vmin occurs in
their BPFULL exercise.
Modifications in the presence of key parameters of
the sticking region through an alteration of ROM
would explain the differences in the 1RM strength,
load-velocity profiles and the contribution of the
propulsive phase.
Bench press, range of motion and sticking region
652
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY
Alejandro MARTÍNEZ-CAVA
Employment
PhD candidate (Human Performance and
Sport Science Laboratory, University of
Murcia, Spain)
Degree
MSc
Research interests
Exercise testing; strength training;
performance analysis.
E-mail: alejandro.mcava@gmail.com
Ricardo MORÁN-NAVARRO
Employment
Assistant Professor (Human Performance
and Sport Science Laboratory, University
of Murcia, Spain)
Degree
PhD
Research interests
Exercise testing; strength training;
performance analysis.
E-mail: moran@um.es
Alejandro HERNÁNDEZ-BELMONTE
Employment
PhD candidate (Human Performance and
Sport Science Laboratory, University of
Murcia, Spain)
Degree
PhD
Research interests
Exercise testing; strength training;
performance analysis.
E-mail: alejandro.hernandez7@um.es
Javier COUREL-IBÁÑEZ
Employment
Assistant Professor (Human Performance
and Sport Science Laboratory, University
of Murcia, Spain)
Degree
PhD
Research interests
Performance analysis, strength training in
elderly adults
E-mail: courel@um.es
Elena CONESA-ROS
Employment
Associate Professor (Human Performance
and Sport Science Laboratory, University
of Murcia, Spain)
Degree
PhD
Research interests
Performance analysis, body expression
E-mail: econesaros@um.es
Juan José GONZÁLEZ-BADILLO
Employment
Full Professor at Faculty of Sport, Pablo de
Olavide University, Seville, Spain
Degree
PhD
Research interests
Exercise physiology and training.
E-mail: jjgbadi@gmail.com
Jesús G. PALLARÉS
Employment
Professor of Exercise Physiology (Human
Performance and Sport Science
Laboratory, University of Murcia, Spain)
Degree
PhD
Research Interests
Exercise physiology and training;
performance analysis; ergogenic aids.
E-mail: jgpallares@um.es
Jesús García Pallarés
Human Performance and Sports Science Laboratory. Faculty of
Sport Sciences, University of Murcia, Murcia, Spain
... In the past years, the velocity-based training (VBT) approach (i.e., monitoring the barbell velocity) has been shown as a highly effective and reliable methodology for training prescription and load monitoring during resistance training programs (3,15,20,26). Among other advantages, VBT allows to accurately determinate the relative load (%1RM) the lifter is using by measuring the first repetition of a set (6,10,17,18,29) and the objective assessment of the neuromuscular fatigue that is being incurred during the set, by monitoring the velocity loss (8,28). Thus, VBT allows coaches to accurately determine the strength level of the lifter and precisely program the training stimulus daily. ...
... Among the diverse causes, the individual differences in the strength level have been postulated as a possible cause of this large variability (5,8). Nevertheless, these studies used common velocities (provided by a general load-velocity relationship) associated with each %1RM to examine this intersubject variability (8,27 (10), and prone bench pull [PBP] (29), respectively) have been found in these general relationships, the velocity attained to each % 1RM may present relevant variations between individuals up to ;0.15 m·s 21 (10,11,17,18,29). This fact could have generated slight but meaningful differences (;10-12%) in the %1RM used by the individuals of these studies, thus increasing the nRM inconsistency in a biased way (8,27). ...
... This fact could have generated slight but meaningful differences (;10-12%) in the %1RM used by the individuals of these studies, thus increasing the nRM inconsistency in a biased way (8,27). Therefore, it would be necessary to examine the intersubject variability in the nRM by using the actual %1RM (i.e., individual's load-velocity relationship) (17,18), as well as to clarify if the strength level could influence this variability. ...
Article
Full-text available
Hernández-Belmonte, A, Courel-Ibáñez, J, Conesa-Ros, E, Martínez-Cava, A, and Pallarés, JG. Level of effort: A reliable and practical alternative to the velocity-based approach for monitoring resistance training. J Strength Cond Res XX(X): 000-000, 2021-This study analyzed the potential of the level of effort methodology as an accurate indicator of the programmed relative load (percentage of one-repetition maximum [%1RM]) and intraset volume of the set during resistance training in the bench press, full squat, shoulder press, and prone bench pull exercises, through 3 specific objectives: (a) to examine the intersubject and intrasubject variability in the number of repetitions to failure (nRM) against the actual %1RM lifted (adjusted by the individual velocity), (b) to investigate the relationship between the number of repetitions completed and velocity loss reached, and (c) to study the influence of the subject's strength level on the aforementioned parameters. After determining their individual load-velocity relationships, 30 subjects with low (n = 10), medium (n = 10), and high (n = 10) relative strength levels completed 2 rounds of nRM tests against their 65, 75, 85, and 95% 1RM in the 4 exercises. The velocity of all repetitions was monitored using a linear transducer. Intersubject and intrasubject variability analyses included the 95% confidence intervals (CIs) and the the standard error of measurement (SEM), respectively. Coefficient of determination (R2) was used as the indicator of relationship. nRM showed a limited intersubject (CI ≤ 4 repetitions) and a very low intrasubject (SEM ≤1.9 repetitions) variability for all the strength levels, %1RM, and exercises analyzed. A very close relationship (R2 ≥ 0.97) between the number of repetitions completed and the percentage of velocity loss reached (from 10 to 60%) was found. These findings strengthen the level of effort as a reliable, precise, and practical strategy for programming resistance training.
... Because the load-velocity relationship varies among exercises, the knowledge of particular equations is indispensable to effectively implement the VBT method. Whereas the load-velocity relationship of exercises such as the bench press [5,[10][11][12], squat [4,6,12] A comprehensive analysis of the velocity-based method in the shoulder press exercise: stability of the load-velocity relationship and sticking region parameters Subjects Forty-eight men (age 22.1 ± 3.5 years, body mass 76.3 ± 8.8 kg, height 175.8 ± 5.9 cm) volunteered to take part in this study. Inclusion criteria were: i) having a relative strength ratio (RSR = 1RM weight lifted/body mass) higher than 0.60 in the SP exercise and ii) no health problems, physical limitations or musculoskeletal injuries that could affect the technical executions. ...
... At that point, the athlete experiences a disproportionately large increase in the difficulty to continue the lift, which may lead to muscle failure and eventually cause an injury [19]. The sticking region can be identified from the velocity-time curve [4,11] by three key parameters: the first peak velocity attained during the lift (V max1 ), the minimum velocity that occurs due to the sticking (V min ) and the second peak barbell velocity indicating that the athletes overcome the critical zone (V max2 ). The identification of the position of these three parameters within the concentric phase of the lift would provide great practical implications for athletes and coaches, for instance, to incorporate strategies such as technical execution modifications (e.g., reduction in the range of motion) or the use of external objects (e.g., elastic bands) to more easily solve this region [19,20]. ...
... Moreover, the contribution (%) of both phases for each lift was registered. Each subject's velocity-time curve corresponding to the 1RM load was examined to identify, both in absolute (m·s -1 and cm) and relative (%) terms, the three key parameters related to the sticking region [4,11,28,29]: the first peak velocity (V max1 ), the minimum velocity (V min ) and the second peak velocity (V max2 ). ...
Article
Full-text available
The purpose of this study was threefold: i) to analyse the load-velocity relationship of the shoulder press (SP) exercise, ii) to investigate the stability (intra-individual variability) of this load-velocity relationship for athletes with different relative strength levels, and after a 10-week velocity-based resistance training (VBT), and iii) to describe the velocity-time pattern of the SP: first peak velocity [Vmax1], minimum velocity [Vmin], and second peak velocity [Vmax2]. This study involves a cross-sectional (T1, n = 48 subjects with low, medium and high strength levels) and longitudinal (T2, n = 24 subjects randomly selected from T1 sample) design. In T1, subjects completed a progressive loading test up to the 1RM in the SP exercise. The barbell mean, peak and mean propulsive velocities (MV, PV and MPV) were monitored. In T2, subjects repeated the loading test after 10 weeks of VBT. There were very close relationships between the %1RM and velocity attained in the three velocity outcomes (T1, R2 : MV = 0.970; MPV = 0.969; PV = 0.954), being even stronger at the individual level (T1, R2 = 0.973–0.997). The MPV attained at the 1RM (~0.19 m·s-1) was consistent among different strength levels. Despite the fact that 1RM increased ~17.5% after the VBT programme, average MPV along the load-velocity relationship remained unaltered between T1 and T2 (0.69 ± 0.06 vs. 0.70 ± 0.06 m·s-1). Lastly, the three key parameters of the velocity-time curve were detected from loads > 74.9% 1RM at 14.3% (Vmax1), 46.1% (Vmin), and 88.7% (Vmax2) of the concentric phase. These results may serve as a practical guideline to effectively implement the velocity-based method in the SP exercise.
... In addition to reproducible and repeatable technologies, velocity-based assessments would benefit from (a) providing visual feedback to the athlete to maximize his or her performance (23) and (b) precise control of the execution technique. Regarding the second aspect, it has been proved that imposing a momentary pause (;2 seconds) between the eccentric and concentric phases (i.e., avoiding the stretchshortening cycle) produces more reliable velocity results during incremental loading tests (34) and allows players to precisely replicate the individual eccentric ROM in each repetition (28,29). In turn, the ROM has been shown to significantly influence the resulting velocity (the MPV increases as the ROM increases) (28,29). ...
... Regarding the second aspect, it has been proved that imposing a momentary pause (;2 seconds) between the eccentric and concentric phases (i.e., avoiding the stretchshortening cycle) produces more reliable velocity results during incremental loading tests (34) and allows players to precisely replicate the individual eccentric ROM in each repetition (28,29). In turn, the ROM has been shown to significantly influence the resulting velocity (the MPV increases as the ROM increases) (28,29). Another aspect that would influence the velocity-based evaluations is the degree of freedom offered in the exercise (i.e., free weight or machine-based training). ...
... A strong load-velocity relationship was found in both lift conditions. In the same direction, the study [28], highlights strong correlations between the bar velocity and the relative load, especially in loads from 70% 1RM and Martínez-Cava et al. [29], also points out reductions in values in the bar velocity during the bench press. Regarding power, there was a greater reduction in the relative load of 100% 1RM, although the data did not indicate a strong load-to-power ratio. ...
Article
Full-text available
The bench press is performed in parapowerlifting with the back, shoulders, buttocks, legs and heels extended over the bench, and the use of straps to secure the athlete to the bench is optional. Thus, the study evaluated muscle activation, surface electromyography (sEMG), maximum velocity (MaxV) and mean propulsive velocity (MPV), and power in paralympic powerlifting athletes under conditions tied or untied to the bench. Fifteen experienced Paralympic powerlifting male athletes (22.27 ± 10.30 years, 78.5 ± 21.6 kg) took part in the research. The sEMG measurement was performed in the sternal portion of the pectoralis major (PMES), anterior deltoid (AD), long head of the triceps brachii (TRI) and clavicular portion of the pectoralis major (PMCL). The MaxV, MPV and power were evaluated using an encoder. Loads of 40%, 60%, 80% and 100% 1RM were analyzed under untied and tied conditions. No differences were found in muscle activation between the tied and untied conditions; however, sEMG showed differences in the untied condition between AD and TRI (F (3112) = 4.484; p = 0.005) in the 100% 1RM load, between PMCL and AD (F (3112) = 3.743; p = 0.013) in 60% 1RM load and in the tied condition, between the PMES and the AD (F (3112) = 4.067; p = 0.009). There were differences in MaxV (F (3112) = 213.3; p < 0.001), and MPV (F (3112) = 248.2; p < 0.001), between all loads in the tied and untied condition. In power, the load of 100% 1RM differed from all other relative loads (F (3112) = 36.54; p < 0.001) in both conditions. The tied condition seems to favor muscle activation, sEMG, and velocity over the untied condition.
... Load-velocity relationships have been extensively studied for exercises such as the bench press [16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23], squat [17,19,[24][25][26][27], deadlift [19,28,29], bench pull [13,30], shoulder press [11,15,31], hip thrust [17,32] and pullup [33,34]. However, even though the inclined leg press is a recurring exercise for lower-limb strengthening, the load-velocity relationship for this exercise has not been extensively studied. ...
Article
The objectives of this study were threefold: (i) to analyze the load-velocity relationships between mean propulsive velocity (MPV), mean velocity (MV), peak velocity (PV), and relative load during the inclined leg press exercise; (ii) to analyze the differences in the load-velocity relationships between males and females; and (iii) to determine gender-specific predictive equations for loads between 50%-100% one-repetition maximum (1RM) in a population of trained young college students. The load-velocity relationships of 15 males and 13 females were explored through a progressive loading test, up to the individual 1RM load. Gender-specific load-velocity relationships were plotted along with the individual relationships. High to very high associations were found for gender-specific load-MPV and load-MV relationships , whereas load-PV presented moderate associations. The gender-specific load-velocity relationships in males were steeper than in females for MPV, MV and PV. However, individual load-velocity relationships presented higher associations than gender-specific relationships for all subjects. Finally, the predicted velocity outcomes for each %1RM load were always significantly higher in males than in females, except for PV at 95% and 100% 1RM load. Taken collectively, the findings from the present study support the application of subject-specific and gender-specific load-velocity relationships, highlighting the disparities between male and female relationships.
... This is in line with previous research showing that the greater the ROM, the lower the 1RM value 11,13 . Moreover, the presence of the sticking region is also affected by ROMs, and larger ROMs may make them longer 33 . Thus, it seems that different ROMs resulted in a longer sticking region during the cambered in comparison to the standard barbell bench press, which may underlie this disadvantage. ...
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Abstract The resistance training volume along with the exercise range of motion has a significant impact on the training outcomes. Therefore, this study aimed to examine differences in training volume assessed by a number of performed repetitions, time under tension, and load–displacement as well as peak barbell velocity between the cambered and standard barbell bench press training session. The participants performed 3 sets to muscular failure of bench press exercise with the cambered or standard barbell at 50% of one-repetition maximum (1RM). Eighteen healthy men volunteered for the study (age = 25 ± 2 years; body mass = 92.1 ± 9.9 kg; experience in resistance training 7.3 ± 2.1 years; standard and cambered barbell bench press 1RM > 120% body mass). The t-test indicated a significantly higher mean range of motion for the cambered barbell in comparison to the standard (p
... Moreover, partial ROM resistance training has been believed to produce greater strength adaptations, since it allows us to lift a higher absolute weight, as a result of evading the critical region of the movement (ie, the sticking region). 25,71 However, this was not supported by the current meta-analysis, with most of the studies reporting greater neuromuscular adaptations after a full ROM training, both in the upper 59,60,62,65 and lower limbs, 56,63,64,67 even using lower absolute loads (ie, kg) (Table 1, Figure 3). The sticking region would be caused by an interaction between the muscle force-length relationship and the external torque. ...
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Background Nowadays, there is a lack of consensus and high controversy about the most effective range of motion (ROM) to minimize the risk of injury and maximize the resistance training adaptations. Objective To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of the scientific evidence examining the effects of full and partial ROM resistance training interventions on neuromuscular, functional, and structural adaptations. Methods The original protocol (CRD42020160976) was prospectively registered in the PROSPERO database. Medline, Scopus, and Web of Science databases were searched to identify relevant articles from the earliest record up to and including August 2020. The RoB 2 and GRADE tools were used to judge the level of bias and quality of evidence. Meta-analyses were performed using robust variance estimation with small-sample corrections. Results Sixteen studies were finally included in the systematic review and meta-analyses. Full ROM training produced significantly greater adaptations than partial ROM on muscle strength (ES=0.56, P=0.004) and lower-limb hypertrophy (ES=0.88, P=0.027). Furthermore, although not statistically significant, changes in functional performance were maximized by the full ROM training (ES=0.44, P=0.186). Finally, no significant superiority of either ROM was found to produce changes in muscle thickness, pennation angle, and fascicle length (ES=0.28, P=0.226). Conclusion Full ROM resistance training is more effective than partial ROM to maximize muscle strength and lower-limb muscle hypertrophy. Likewise, functional performance appears to be favored by the use of full ROM exercises. On the other hand, there are no large differences between the full and partial ROM interventions to generate changes in muscle architecture.
... It is worth noting that we used traditional methods to evaluate 1RM of the different exercises. Alternatively, the 1RM could be accurately estimated by measuring the barbell/machine velocity (i.e., velocity-based approach), thus avoiding the risk of injury and fatigue status related to 1RM tests [43,44]. Additionally, shoulder internal/external rotation strength tests or shoulder ROM were not used. ...
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The aims of the present study were to examine the fitness characteristics of professional padel players and to determine differences in physical performance regarding players’ gender. Thirty professional padel players (men: n = 15, age = 27.4 ± 6.8 years, height = 177.9 ± 4.0 cm; women: n = 15, age = 30.0 ± 4.2 years, height = 166.6 ± 4.8 cm) completed a 4-day evaluation process, including: isometric handgrip strength, sit and reach, 10 × 5 shuttle test, countermovement jump (CMJ), squat jump (SJ), Abalakov test, one-repetition maximum test (bench press, leg extension, leg curl, lat pulldowns, overhead press, and shoulder press), anthropometry and VO2 max tests. The men players had higher values in terms of weight, height, one maximum repetition, jump tests (CMJ and ABK) and VO2 max test than the women (p < 0.005). By contrast, the women had higher values for fat mass (p = 0.005; ES: 2.49). The values from this multifaceted test battery can be a useful guide for coaches regarding players’ development in future evaluations and monitoring.
... The SR has been found in complex exercises such as the BP, chest press and barbell squat [10,11] at maximal and submaximal exercise intensity [12,13], where overpassing this region is crucial for successful lifts [13]. The SR is believed to be caused by mechanical lever arm disadvantage between upper limb body segments [14,15], but the current research does not provide which anthropometric or other variable can help surpass the SR. Since the thorax plays the role of a mechanical fixation point during the BP, variables such as ...
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The intrathoracic pressure and breathing strategy on bench press (BP) performance is highly discussed in strength competition practice. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to analyze whether different breathing techniques can influence the time and track characteristics of the sticking region (SR) during the 1RM BP exercise. 24 healthy, male adults (age 23 ± 2.4 yrs., body mass 85 ± 9.2 kg, height 181 ± 5.4 cm) performed a 1 repetition BP using the breathing technique of Valsalva maneuver (VM), hold breath, lung packing (PAC), and reverse breathing (REVB), while maximum lifted load and concentric phase kinematics were recorded. The results of ANOVA showed that the REVB breathing decreased absolute (p < 0.04) and relative lifted load (p < 0.01). The VM showed lower (p = 0.01) concentric time of the lift than the other breathing techniques. The VM and PAC showed lower SR time than other breathing techniques, where PAC showed a lower SR time than VM (p = 0.02). The PAC techniques resulted in shorter SR and pre-SR track than other breathing techniques and the REVB showed longer SR track than the other considered breathing techniques (p = 0.04). Thus, PAC or VM should be used for 1RM BP lifting according to preferences, experiences and lifting comfort of an athlete. The hold breath technique does not seem to excessively decrease the lifting load, but this method will increase the lifting time and the time spend in the sticking region, therefore its use does not provide any lifting benefit. The authors suggest that the REVB should not be used during 1 RM lifts.
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The main goal of this study was to assess the impact of the cambered bar (CB) during the bench press exercise on power output and bar velocity when compared to a standard bar (SB). Ten healthy strength-trained men (age = 27.9 ± 3.7 years; body mass = 90.1 ± 12.5 kg; resistance training experience = 6.5 ± 2.7 years; bench press one-repetition maximum (1RM) = 118.5 ± 21 kg) performed a single set of 3 repetitions of the bench press exercise with an SB and a CB at 50%1RM to assess differences in peak power output (PP), mean power output (MP), peak bar velocity (PV), and mean bar velocity (MV), range of motion (ROM), and positive work time under load (TUL) between conditions. The t-test indicated significantly higher mean ROM for the cambered bar in comparison to the standard bar (52.7 vs. 44.9 cm; P < 0.01; ES = 1.40). Further, there was a significantly higher PP (907 vs. 817 W; P < 0.01; ES = 0.35), MP (556 vs. 496 W; P < 0.01; ES = 0.46), PV (1.24 vs. 1.14 m/s; P < 0.01; ES = 0.35) and MV (0.89 vs. 0.82 m/s; P < 0.01; ES = 0.34) for the CB condition when compared to the SB. A significantly longer TUL for the CB was observed, when compared to the SB (1.89 vs. 1.51 s; P < 0.01; ES = 1.38). The results of this study showed that the CB significantly increased power output and bar velocity in the bench press exercise at 50%1RM compared to the SB. Therefore, the additional ROM, made possible through the use of the CB, allows for the acceleration of the bar through a significantly longer displacement, which has a positive impact on power output. However, a simultaneous increase in TUL may cause higher fatigue when the bench press is performed with the CB compared to the SB.
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This study aimed to analyze the agreement between five bar velocity monitoring devices, currently used in resistance training, to determine the most reliable device based on reproducibility (between-device agreement for a given trial) and repeatability (between-trial variation for each device). Seventeen resistance-trained men performed duplicate trials against seven increasing loads (20-30-40-50-60-70-80 kg) while obtaining mean, mean propulsive and peak velocity outcomes in the bench press, full squat and prone bench pull exercises. Measurements were simultaneously registered by two linear velocity transducers (LVT), two linear position transducers (LPT), two optoelectronic camera-based systems (OEC), two smartphone video-based systems (VBS) and one accelerometer (ACC). A comprehensive set of statistics for assessing reliability was used. Magnitude of errors was reported both in absolute (m s⁻¹) and relative terms (%1RM), and included the smallest detectable change (SDC) and maximum errors (MaxError). LVT was the most reliable and sensitive device (SDC 0.02–0.06 m s⁻¹, MaxError 3.4–7.1% 1RM) and the preferred reference to compare with other technologies. OEC and LPT were the second-best alternatives (SDC 0.06–0.11 m s⁻¹), always considering the particular margins of error for each exercise and velocity outcome. ACC and VBS are not recommended given their substantial errors and uncertainty of the measurements (SDC > 0.13 m s⁻¹).
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This study aimed to compare the one-repetition maximum (1RM) and the velocity outcomes obtained against the same absolute and relative (%1RM) loads between the flat and arched bench press (BP) variants. Eleven competitive male powerlifters were evaluated in one session with the flat BP (natural lumbar arch and moderate scapular retraction) and in another session with the arched BP (pronounced lumbar arch and scapular retraction). An incremental loading test was used to determine the 1RM as well as the barbell's velocity against the different external loads. The main findings revealed that the 1RM did not significantly differ between the flat (115.9±17.9 kg) and arched (115.7±18.4 kg) BP variants (p=0.942, effect size=0.01), while there were no significant differences between BP variants either for the velocity outcomes obtained against the individual loads nor for the velocities associated with each %1RM (p >0.05). These results suggest that competitive powerlifters do not necessarily present their higher 1RM performance using the arched BP variant. Finally, both BP variants could be used interchangeably when using movement velocity for testing upper-body strength as well as for prescribing the load during velocity-based resistance training routines.
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Purpose: To describe the acute and delayed time course of recovery following resistance training (RT) protocols differing in the number of repetitions (R) performed in each set (S) out of the maximum possible number (P). Methods: Ten resistance-trained men undertook three RT protocols [S × R(P)]: (1) 3 × 5(10), (2) 6 × 5(10), and (3) 3 × 10(10) in the bench press (BP) and full squat (SQ) exercises. Selected mechanical and biochemical variables were assessed at seven time points (from - 12 h to + 72 h post-exercise). Countermovement jump height (CMJ) and movement velocity against the load that elicited a 1 m s(-1) mean propulsive velocity (V1) and 75% 1RM in the BP and SQ were used as mechanical indicators of neuromuscular performance. Results: Training to muscle failure in each set [3 × 10(10)], even when compared to completing the same total exercise volume [6 × 5(10)], resulted in a significantly higher acute decline of CMJ and velocity against the V1 and 75% 1RM loads in both BP and SQ. In contrast, recovery from the 3 × 5(10) and 6 × 5(10) protocols was significantly faster between 24 and 48 h post-exercise compared to 3 × 10(10). Markers of acute (ammonia, growth hormone) and delayed (creatine kinase) fatigue showed a markedly different course of recovery between protocols, suggesting that training to failure slows down recovery up to 24-48 h post-exercise. Conclusions: RT leading to failure considerably increases the time needed for the recovery of neuromuscular function and metabolic and hormonal homeostasis. Avoiding failure would allow athletes to be in a better neuromuscular condition to undertake a new training session or competition in a shorter period of time.
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This study aimed to analyze various fitness qualities in handball players of different ages, and to determine the relationships between these parameters and throwing velocity. Forty-four handball players participated, pooled by age groups: ELITE (n = 13); under-18 (U18, n = 16); under-16 (U16, n = 15). The following tests were completed: 20-m running sprints; countermovement jumps (CMJ); jump squat to determine the load that elicited ~20 cm jump height (JSLOAD-20cm); a progressive loading test in full-squat and bench-press to determine the load that elicited ~1 m[middle dot]s-1 (SQ-V1-LOAD and BP-V1-LOAD), and handball throwing (Jump Throw and 3-Step Throw). ELITE showed greater performance in almost all sprint distances, CMJ, JSLOAD-20cm and bench-press strength than U18 and U16. The differences between U18 and U16 were unclear for these variables. ELITE also showed greater (P < 0.001) performance for squat strength and throwing than U18 and U16, and U18 attained greater performance (P < 0.05) for these variables than U16. Throwing performance correlated (P < 0.05) with sprint times (r = -.31; -.51) and jump ability (CMJ: r = .39; .56 and JSLOAD-20cm: r = .57; .60). Muscle strength was also associated (P < 0.001) with both types of throw (SQ-V1-LOAD: r = .66; .76; and BP-V1-LOAD: r = .33; .70). These results indicate handball throwing velocity is strongly associated with lower-limb strength, although upper-limb strength, jumping and sprint capacities also play a relevant role in throwing performance, suggesting the need for coaches to include proper strength programs to improve handball players' throwing velocity.
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Aim: To analyze the effects of two resistance training (RT) programs that used the same relative loading but different repetition volume, using the velocity loss during the set as the independent variable: 15% (VL15) vs. 30% (VL30). Methods: Sixteen professional soccer players with RT experience (age 23.8 ± 3.5 years, body mass 75.5 ± 8.6 kg) were randomly assigned to two groups: VL15 (n = 8) or VL30 (n = 8) that followed a 6-week (18 sessions) velocity-based squat training program. Repetition velocity was monitored in all sessions. Assessments performed before (Pre) and after training (Post) included: estimated one-repetition maximum (1RM) and change in average mean propulsive velocity (AMPV) against absolute loads common to Pre and Post tests; countermovement jump (CMJ); 30-m sprint (T30); and Yo-yo intermittent recovery test (YYIRT). Null-hypothesis significance testing and magnitude-based inference statistical analyses were performed. Results: VL15 obtained greater gains in CMJ height than VL30 (P < 0.05), with no significant differences between groups for the remaining variables. VL15 showed a likely/possibly positive effect on 1RM (91/9/0%), AMPV (73/25/2%) and CMJ (87/12/1%), whereas VL30 showed possibly/unclear positive effects on 1RM (65/33/2%) and AMPV (46/36/18%) and possibly negative effects on CMJ (4/38/57%). The effects on T30 performance were unclear/unlikely for both groups, whereas both groups showed most likely/likely positive effects on YYIRT. Conclusions: A velocity-based RT program characterized by a low degree of fatigue (15% velocity loss in each set) is effective to induce improvements in neuromuscular performance in professional soccer players with previous RT experience.
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Purpose: Muscle mass, strength, and power are important factors for performance. To improve these characteristics, periodized resistance training is used. However, there is no consensus regarding the most effective periodization model. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to compare the effects of block (BLOCK) vs daily undulating periodization (DUP) on body composition, hypertrophy, strength, performance, and power in adolescent American football players. Methods: A total of 47 subjects participated in this study (mean [SD] age = 17 [0.8] y, strength training experience = 0.93 [0.99] y). Premeasurements and postmeasurements consisted of body mass (BM); fat mass; relative fat mass; fat-free mass (FFM); muscle mass (MM); muscle thickness of the vastus lateralis (VL), rectus femoris (RF), and triceps brachii (TB); 1-repetition-maximum back squat (BS) and bench press (BP); countermovement jump (CMJ); estimated peak power (Wpeak) from vertical jump performance; medicine-ball put (MBP); and 40-yd sprint. Subjects were randomly assigned in either the BLOCK or DUP group prior to the 12-wk intervention period consisting of 3 full-body sessions per week. Results: Both groups displayed significantly higher BM (P < .001), FFM (P < .001), MM (P < .001), RF (P < .001), VL (P < .001), TB (P < .001), BS (P < .001), BP (P < .001), CMJ (P < .001), Wpeak (P < .001), and MBP (P < .001) and significantly lower sprint times (P < .001) after 12 wk of resistance training, with no difference between groups. Conclusions: Resistance training was effective to increase muscle mass, strength, power, and performance in adolescent athletes. BLOCK and DUP affect anthropometric measures and physical performance equally.
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This study aimed to compare the load-velocity and load-power relationships of three common variations of the squat exercise. 52 strength-trained males performed a progressive loading test up to the one-repetition maximum (1RM) in the full (F-SQ), parallel (P-SQ) and half (H-SQ) squat, conducted in random order on separate days. Bar velocity and vertical force were measured by means of a linear velocity transducer time-synchronized with a force platform. The relative load that maximized power output (Pmax) was analyzed using three outcome measures: mean concentric (MP), mean propulsive (MPP) and peak power (PP), while also including or excluding body mass in force calculations. 1RM was significantly different between exercises. Load-velocity and load-power relationships were significantly different between the F-SQ, P-SQ and H-SQ variations. Close relationships (R² = 0.92–0.96) between load (%1RM) and bar velocity were found and they were specific for each squat variation, with faster velocities the greater the squat depth. Unlike the F-SQ and P-SQ, no sticking region was observed for the H-SQ when lifting high loads. The Pmax corresponded to a broad load range and was greatly influenced by how force output is calculated (including or excluding body mass) as well as the exact outcome variable used (MP, MPP, PP).
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The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of an 8-week concurrent strength and endurance training programme in comparison to endurance training only on several key determinants of hand cycling performance. Five H4 and five H3 classified hand cyclists with at least one year's hand cycling training history consented to participate in the study. Subjects underwent a battery of tests to establish body mass, body composition, VO2peak, maximum aerobic power, gross mechanical efficiency, maximal upper body strength, and 30 km time trial performance. Subjects were matched into pairs based upon 30 km time trial performance and randomly allocated to either a concurrent strength and endurance or endurance training only, intervention group. Following an 8-week training programme based upon a conjugated block periodisation model, subjects completed a second battery of tests. A mixed model, 2-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) revealed no significant changes between groups. However, the calculation of effect sizes (ES) revealed that both groups demonstrated a positive improvement in most physiological and performance measures with subjects in the concurrent group demonstrating a greater magnitude of improvement in body composition (ES -0.80 vs. -0.22) maximal aerobic power (ES 0.97 vs. 0.28), gross mechanical efficiency (ES 0.87 vs. 0.63), bench press 1 repetition maximum (ES 0.53 vs. 0.33), seated row 1 repetition maximum (ES 1.42 vs. 0.43), and 30 km time trial performance (ES -0.66 vs. -0.30). In comparison to endurance training only, an 8-week concurrent training intervention based upon a conjugated block periodisation model appears to be a more effective training regime for improving the performance capabilities of hand cyclists.
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This study analyzed whether the loss of repetition velocity during a resistance exercise set was a reliable indicator of the number of repetitions left in reserve. Following the assessment of one-repetition (1RM) strength and full load-velocity relationship, thirty men were divided into three groups according to their 1RM strength/body mass: novice, well-trained and highly-trained. On two separate occasions and in random order, subjects performed tests of maximal number of repetitions to failure against loads of 65%, 75% and 85% 1RM in four exercises: bench press, full squat, prone bench pull and shoulder press. For each exercise, and regardless of the load being used, the absolute velocities associated to stopping a set before failure, leaving a certain number of repetitions (2, 4, 6 or 8) in reserve, were very similar and showed a high reliability (CV 4.4-8.0%). No significant differences in these stopping velocities were observed for any resistance training exercise analyzed between the novice, well-trained and highly-trained groups. These results indicate that by monitoring repetition velocity one can estimate with high accuracy the proximity of muscle failure and, therefore, to more objectively quantify the level of effort and fatigue being incurred during resistance training. This method emerges as a substantial improvement over the use of perceived exertion to gauge the number of repetitions left in reserve.
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The use of bar velocity to estimate relative load in the back squat exercise was examined. Eighty strength-trained men performed a progressive loading test to determine their one-repetition maximum (1RM) and load-velocity relationship. Mean (MV), mean propulsive (MPV) and peak (PV) velocity measures of the concentric phase were analyzed. Both MV and MPV showed a very close relationship to %1RM (R2 = 0.96), whereas a weaker association (R2 = 0.79) and larger SEE (0.14 vs. 0.06 m•s-1) was found for PV. Prediction equations to estimate load from velocity were obtained. When dividing the sample into three groups of different relative strength (1RM/body mass), no differences were found between groups for the MPV attained against each %1RM. MV attained with the 1RM was 0.32 ± 0.03 m•s-1. The propulsive phase accounted for 82% of concentric duration at 40% 1RM, and progressively increased until reaching 100% at 1RM. Provided that repetitions are performed at maximal intended velocity, a good estimation of load (%1RM) can be obtained from mean velocity as soon as the first repetition is completed. This finding provides an alternative to the often demanding, time-consuming and interfering 1RM or nRM tests and allows to implement a velocity-based resistance training approach.