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A Review of Striking Force in Full-Contact Combat Sport Athletes: Effects of Different Types of Strength and Conditioning Training and Practical Recommendations

A Review of Striking Force
in Full-Contact Combat
Sport Athletes: Effects of
Different Types of
Strength and Conditioning
Training and Practical
Aaron Uthoff, PhD,
Seth Lenetsky, PhD,
Reid Reale, PhD,
Felix Falkenberg, MSc,
Gavin Pratt, MSc,
Dean Amasinger, BSc (Hons),
Frank Bourgeois, PhD,
´l Cahill, PhD,
Duncan French, PhD,
and John Cronin, PhD
Sports Performance Research Institute New Zealand, School of Sport and Recreation, Auckland University of
Technology, Auckland, New Zealand;
Canadian Sport Institute Pacific, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada;
Fighting Championship Performance Institute, Shanghai, China;
Athletics Department, Nicholls State University,
Thibodaux, Louisiana
Ultimate Fighting Championship Performance Institute, Las Vegas, Nevada;
Centre for Exercise
and Sport Science, School of Exercise and Health Sciences, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Western Australia,
Australia; and
School of Behavioral and Health Sciences, Australia Catholic University, Melbourne, Australia
Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided
in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal’s Web site (
To succeed in full contact combat
sports like mixed martial arts, tae kwon
do, and boxing, athletes must deliver a
greater number of damaging strikes
than they receive. Producing knock-
downs, rendering unconsciousness,
and scoring points can be accom-
plished through the application of high
magnitudes of striking forces. There is
evidence that striking forces can be
enhanced through either nonspecific
or specific strength and conditioning
methods or a combination thereof. To
better assist practitioners working with
combat sport athletes, this article
reviews current empirical evidence on
how combat sport athletes respond to
different methods of resistance train-
ing and offers practical recommenda-
tions for implementing nonspecific and
specific exercises.
Full-contact combat sports have
seen a rapid rise in popularity
and participation rates in recent
decades (45). These sports are charac-
terized by intense bouts of physical
exercise, in which inflicting physical
damage to an opponent is the ultimate
goal (25). One of the primary means for
success in combat sports is an athlete’s
ability to deliver a greater number of
damaging blows than he or she
receives (46), and a distinguishing
characteristic of experienced athletes
is their ability to produce greater strik-
ing forces compared with their less
experienced counterparts (53). It is no
Address correspondence to Aaron Uthoff,
mixed martial arts; boxing; nonspecific
training; specific training; exercise
Copyright ÓNational Strength and Conditioning Association Strength and Conditioning Journal | 1
Copyright © National Strength and Conditioning Association. Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.
surprise then that a number of training
strategies have been recommended to
enhance striking abilities (62), and ath-
letes have been known to train up to 3
times a day, 7 days per week to accom-
plish this goal (3). However, there is no
empirical consensus as to the best
methods for enhancing striking forces
in combat athletes, with limited
research available to guide training
prescription. Therefore, in this review:
the importance of striking force capac-
ities will be introduced; the literature
examining the effectiveness of different
training methods on striking forces in
combat athletes will be explored; the
utility of resistance training methods
critiqued, and practical recommenda-
tions for implementing nonspecific
and specific training methods will be
provided, which technical coaches
and strength staff may use to enhance
striking performance in combat
Striking force is widely regarded as a
key component for success in combat
sports (32,49,61). This is primarily
because of combat sports being oriented
around inflicting significant physical
damage to the opponent via high-
force single and repeated blows (48).
The consequences of physical damage
can bring about offensive and defensive
competitive advantages by making an
opponent physically incapable of fight-
ing effectively, producing knockdowns,
rendering unconsciousness, and scoring
points. The importance of striking force
has been highlighted by a clear stratifi-
cation of novice, intermediate, and elite
athletes regarding magnitudes of forces
generated (62).
Given the practical importance per-
formance metrics have on talent
identification, training program guid-
ance, and prediction of bout victory,
it is imperative that key performance
indicators, such as striking force, are
accurately measured (30,34). Accu-
rate measurement with quantification
of variability has enabled sport scien-
tists and coaches to effectively deter-
mine between-individual differences
as well as determine within-
individual changes over time in
response to training and other
sport-related events. For a more thor-
ough review on the importance of
measuring striking force in combat
sport athletes, refer to study by Le-
netsky et al. (35).
Beyond the importance of accurately
measuring this key performance indi-
cator, striking force is related to other
neuromuscular capabilities (15,37). For
example, significant associations have
been found between striking force
and muscle qualities while possessing
predictive power with performance in
numerous upper- and lower-body
strength and speed-strength tasks, such
as bench throw (R50.70–0.78), bench
press (R50.64–0.82), isometric back
squat (R50.68–0.83), isometric mid-
thigh pull (R50.68), squat jump (R5
0.67–0.85), and countermovement
jump (R50.67–0.80) (15,36,37). These
relationships may support the notion
that, regardless of sex and body mass,
striking force is largely dependent on
underpinning upper- and lower-body
strength qualities (37).
Considering the aforementioned prox-
ies of upper- and lower-body neuro-
muscular performance associated
with striking force, current strength
and conditioning recommendations
suggest a total-body approach be used
to encourage increases in force capac-
ity (i.e., magnitude of force generated)
and ultimately increase force capabil-
ities (e.g., rate of force development)
(32,39,48). Both high-load and high-
velocity training can be used to stimu-
late morphological and architectural
changes to the contractile tissues
(1,4), enabling more effective neural
drive and greater forces to be generated
by the muscles (2). Therefore, it has
been postulated that force-dominant
or velocity-dominant training may be
used to preferentially adapt the specific
neuromuscular qualities desired to
enhance striking power in combat ath-
letes (48,49,58,61,62).
Given the importance of striking force,
it is no wonder that it is a key perfor-
mance metric that should be enhanced
in combat sport athletes. Previous
anecdotal recommendations have sug-
gested that force-dominant exercises,
such as weightlifting pull variations ini-
tiated from the hang position and
overhead pressing variations be used
to improve leg drive transfer to strikes
(48,58,62), whereas velocity-dominant
exercises, such as plyometrics and bal-
listic movements, have been recom-
mended to enhance elastic
contribution of the muscle-tendon unit
(17) multiplanar rate of force develop-
ment and movement velocity for open
kinetic chain striking techniques
(23,58,61,62). These training recom-
mendations have been suggested for
both their effectiveness and practical
applications. However, it is unclear
from the current anecdotal literature
whether an ideal training approach
exists to enhance striking force in com-
bat athletes. Therefore, the following
sections will review the empirical liter-
ature that has investigated the effec-
tiveness of nonspecific, specific, and
combined resistance training methods
on the development of punching and
kicking forces, and practical recom-
mendations will be provided.
Nonspecific resistance training, which
does not resemble sporting movement
patterns, typically includes gym-based
resistance training programs where rel-
atively heavy loads are lifted at rela-
tively slow velocities in primarily one
plane of motion (i.e., vertical). There
are a number of limitations that make
findings concerning the effects of non-
specific resistance training on striking
force problematic. Practitioners should
be cognizant of these limitations when
seeking to employ nonspecific training
modalities in their strength regimen.
Only 3 studies have investigated the
effects of nonspecific strength training
on striking performance (26,39,55)
(Table 1). It is important to note that
only Stanley (55) used a randomized
controlled trial, whereas Lee and
McGill (26) and Loturco et al. (39)
did not randomly allocate
Effects of Training on Striking Force
Copyright © National Strength and Conditioning Association. Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.
Table 1
Effects of nonspecific strength and conditioning training on striking performance in combat athletes
Study Subject characteristics Measurement device Intervention/duration/
Dependent variables Effects
Lee and
McGill (26)
12 male competitive Muay Thai
athletes, 24.2 62.9 y, 1.8 6
0.05 m, 76.8 69.7 kg
Portable force transducer
sampling at 2160 Hz mounted
to a fixed surface with a steel
cylinder mounted wrapped in
a padded body protector
6-wk core training
Isometric training: plank, bird
dog, side bridge, torsional
buttress, anterior pallof press,
posterior pallof press, suitcase
hold, antirotation pallof press,
stir the pot, inverted row,
kettlebell unilateral rack walk,
half kneeling woodchopper:
3–5 sets 35–10 reps or 10 s 3
4–7 times per week
Jab force
Isometric training
Dynamic training
Cross force
Isometric training
Dynamic training
[17.9%, p,0.001
[18.3%, p50.01
[27%, p,0.001
% and ES not
reported p.0.05
Dynamic training: curl-up,
superman, side curl-up,
twisting curl-up, advanced
curl-up, back extension,
Russian barbell twist, curl to
twitch, superman to twitch,
lateral MB throw, rotational MB
throw: 5 sets 35–10 reps 3
4–7 times per week
Knee force
Isometric training
Dynamic training
[13.1%, p50.03
[7.1%, p50.05
Loturco et al.
8 elite boxers, 23.6 62.2 y, 1.82
60.09 m, 81.8 615.0 kg
Wall-mounted force plate
sampled at 2000 Hz covered by
a rigid body shield
1-wk strength training using 4–6
sets 34–6 reps 33 d per
week: bench press, half-squat,
jump squat
Punching forces
Standard jab
Self-selected jab
Standard cross
Self-selected cross
0.36 (20.29 to 1.02)
0.38 (20.32 to 1.09)
0.39 (20.23 to 1.01)
0.26 (20.22 to 0.74)
Stanley (55) 10 male amateur boxers aged
26.2 63.1 y, 181.9 65.9 m,
86.1 66.9 kg
Herman digital training using
triaxial accelerometers
sampled at 100 Hz attached to
striking pad
4-wk 32 d per week
Contrast training (CT): back
squat, jump squats, bench
press, bench press throw: 6
sets 33 reps at 40–90% 1RM
Jab punch force
Rear-hand cross
punch force
p,0.05 for all
10 male amateur boxers aged
26.1 61.8 y, 177.8 65.8 m,
76.2 68.5 kg
Maximal strength training (MST):
Back squat, bench press
6 sets 33 reps at 90%
Jab punch force
Rear-hand cross
punch force
p,0.05 for all
ES 5effect size.
Strength and Conditioning Journal | 3
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participants to experimental and con-
trol groups. Participants were all males,
homogenous in age (n540, mean
age 525.0 years; range, 23.6–26.2
years), and from either boxing (39,55)
or Muay Thai backgrounds (26). Fur-
thermore, with respect to skill level,
most individuals were considered ama-
teur (n532) (26,55), with 8 athletes
classified as elite (39). As such, the
effects of nonspecific resistance train-
ing on female and novice athletes
remain unknown, with limited infor-
mation available in elite athletes.
In all studies mentioned previously,
striking force was collected using
wall-mounted force plates, sampling
at approximately 2,000 Hz, covered
by protective padding (26,39) (i.e., a
direct measurement of force using an
inertially irrelevant target), or an accel-
erometer attached to a striking bag
using an unreported sampling fre-
quency (55) (i.e., an indirect measure-
ment of force using an inertially
relevant target). The duration of these
studies ranged between 1 to 6 weeks
with training frequencies of 2–7 days
per week. Prescribed volumes ranged
from 3–6 sets of 3–10 repetitions. Lee
and McGill (26) used the most training
sessions—between 24 and 42 training
sessions across 6 weeks. Meanwhile,
Loturco et al. (39) only used 3 training
sessions loading at optimal power. The
training interventions examined con-
sisted of isometric and dynamic core
training, power-based training, con-
trast training, and maximal strength
training. However, in some studies,
inadequate reporting makes the calcu-
lation of percent differences or effect
sizes problematic, and understanding
whether between-group differences
were significant is nebulous.
With these limitations in mind, the fol-
lowing observations were made per-
taining to the effects of nonspecific
resistance training on both punching
forces and strikes with the knees.
Increases (p,0.05) of 11.7–27.0% in
punching force were found following
6 weeks of nonspecific resistance train-
ing in both boxers and Muay Thai fight-
ers, with the best results (27% increase)
found in Muay Thai fighters (26).
Although it should be noted that Lee
and McGill (26) stated that dynamic
training did lead to significant changes
in impact force for the “straight cross”
punch, it is unknown how much perfor-
mance changed (i.e., no descriptive data,
percentage change, or effect sizes are
available). Nevertheless, following 6
weeks of static core training involving
bracing of the torso, Muay Thai fighters
experienced greater increases (13.1%) in
kneeing force when compared with
dynamic core training involving trunk
flexion and extension (7.1%) (26).
Elsewhere, boxers exposed to 4 weeks
(8 training sessions) of contrast train-
ing using upper- and lower-body
strength and power movements (e.g.,
back squat, jump squat, bench press,
and bench press throw exercises)
improved punching forces to a greater
extent (20.9–21.3%; p,0.05) than
those exposed to maximal strength
training alone (11.7–18.8%; p,0.05)
(55). The study by Loturco et al. (39)
was the only investigation using elite
boxers that executed traditional resis-
tance training to increase punching
forces (effect size 50.26–0.39). How-
ever, caution is advised when interpret-
ing these findings as the study was only
1 week in duration and did not provide
descriptive statistics or pvalues.
Ultimately, it appears that including iso-
metric antirotational core training and
force-dominant power-type exercises
alongside traditional resistance exer-
cises promotes the greatest physiologi-
cal adaptations to enhance striking
force. However, given the limitations,
methodological quality, and scarcity of
research on the effects of nonspecific
strength and conditioning training on
upper- and lower-body striking forces,
more research is needed before any
definitive conclusions can be made as
to the efficacy of this type of training.
Specific strength training refers to pro-
tocols or exercises that closely resem-
ble the biomechanics of the movement
(e.g., punch or kick) (66). Three studies
have investigated the effects of specific
strength and conditioning training on
striking performance in boxers,
tae kwon do athletes, kickboxers, and
mixed martial artists (11,19,60)
(Table 2). The duration of studies
ranged from 4–6 weeks with training
frequencies between 2 and 3 days per
week. The training modalities exam-
ined were high-intensity punching
(i.e., all out punching bouts with inter-
mittent recovery), high-intensity kick-
ing with elastic bands, and combat
training with upper- and lower-body
wearable resistance of 2–4.5% body
mass. Both Kamandulis et al. (19) and
Topal et al. (60) used randomized con-
trolled trials, whereas Del Vecchio et al.
(11) stated that the outside commit-
ments limited the participants’ avail-
ability for randomization.
Considering the influence of specific
strength and conditioning training
methods and protocols, 6 weeks of
60-minute boxing sessions using full-
body wearable resistance training (12
training sessions) led to the largest per-
centage increases in punching forces
for mixed martial artists and kick-
boxers (25.9–51.2%) (11). Four-weeks
of high-intensity interval punch train-
ing consisting of 14 sets of 3-second all-
out punching has also been found to
significantly increase cumulative
punching force (p50.008), total
punching force over 3 rounds (p,
0.001), and the number of punches
thrown over 3 rounds (p50.01) in
boxers, although percent change and
effect sizes were not reported (19).
Alternatively, wearable resistance
training showed the lowest training
effect for kicking force, with 1.4–2.1%
increases (11), whereas 6 weeks of
kicking training with elastic bands (18
training sessions) led to the largest per-
centage increases in kicking forces
(20.3–32.9%; p#0.03) (60). Interest-
ingly, despite the positive influence
training with elastic bands may have
on striking movements, such as kick-
ing, elastic bands are often avoided as a
result of concerns of striking kine-
matics being negatively affected (60).
Effects of Training on Striking Force
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Table 2
Effects of specific strength and conditioning training on striking performance in combat athletes
Study Subjects Measurement device Intervention/duration/
Dependent variables Effects/p
Kamandulis et al. (19) 9 male competitive
boxers 20.4 61.0 y,
1.83 60.03m, 83.2
65.4 kg
Dynamometer with
unreported sampling
embedded punching
4-wk 36 d per week Number of punches
thrown in 3 s
Monday, Wednesday,
Friday EG, and CG:
punching bag for 3
rounds (14 sets 33s)
with 1 min rest
between rounds
Number of punches
thrown over 3
Tuesday and Thursday Punching force in 3 s p50.09
EG: 3 rounds of 14 sets
of 3 s of all-out
punching bouts with
10-s rest between
Peak cumulative force p50.008
CG: low-intensity bag
punching for 3
rounds 33 min per
Total punch force over
3 rounds
Topal et al. (60) 24 unknown sex red/
red-black belt tae
kwon do athletes, 16
y, 1.64 60.09 cm,
61.3 66.3 kg
Herman digital training
using tri-axial
accelerometers with
unreported sampling
frequency attached
to striking pad
6-wk 33 d per week of
kicking training with
elastic bands
Palding chagi force
Dollyo chagi force
[20.3–32.9%, p#0.003
[20.3–22.3%, p#0.02
Del Vecchio et al. (11) 10 male amateur
combat athletes (4
mixed-martial arts
and 13 kickboxers),
28.2 61.7 y, 1.77 6
0.05 m, 79.5 67.7 kg
Portable StrikeMate
dual accelerometer
with unreported
sampling frequency
embedded in open-
cell foam wrapped in
a “rigid” surface
6-wk 32 d per week 3
60 min combat
training using 2–
4.5% BM wearable
resistance, and 1
d without
Strike power:
Jab punch
Cross punch
Front kick
Roundhouse kick
[25.9%, ES 50.7
[51.2%, ES 51.1
[1.4%, ES 50.0
[2.1%, ES 50.0
CG 5control group; EG 5experimental group; ES 5effect size.
Strength and Conditioning Journal | 5
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Regarding force measurement devices,
2 studies measured striking force via an
indirect measure of force (i.e., acceler-
ometer or dynamometer) using a rele-
vant target (e.g., punching bag or
striking pad) (19,60), whereas one
study assessed striking force via an
indirect measure of force using an irrel-
evant target (e.g., accelerometer wrap-
ped in foam) (11). As there is no gold
standard for the measurement of strik-
ing force found in the literature, it is
difficult to compare the methods used
in the above studies. Instead, analysis of
the results should follow the recom-
mendation of Lenetsky et al. (35) that
the method of striking force measure-
ment must be able to distinguish force
values and changes in values and that
the reliability of the method has been
established. This information was re-
ported in 2 studies (11,19). Kamandulis
et al. (19) reported interday intraclass
correlation coefficients of .0.95 for the
Kiktest-100 system, independent of
punch type, whereas Del Vecchio
et al. (11) referred to findings that the
StrikeMate device was consistent with
intraclass correlation coefficients of
0.98 and typical errors of measurement
around 3% (13). Alternatively, Topal
et al. (60) did not report the consis-
tency of the Herman Digital Trainer.
Therefore, the changes in performance
identified by Del Vecchio et al. (11) and
Kamandulis et al. (19) can be read at
face value, yet, the results from Topal
et al. (60) should be interpreted with
Limitations within this research area
include skill level, biological age, sex,
training modalities, and training load.
All athletes were classified as either
amateur or competitive. In total,
empirical research has used 43 partic-
ipants with an average age of 21.5
years (range, 16–28.2 years). Of the
43 individuals, there were 19 males
(11,19), no females, and 24 unreported
sex (60). All 43 individuals were cate-
gorized as amateur or competitive
(11,19,60), with 9 boxers (19), 24 Tae
kwon do practitioners (60), 4 mixed
martial artists, and 13 kickboxers (11).
Because all of the athletes were
classified as amateur or competitive,
it is difficult to extrapolate these find-
ings to elite athletes. Additionally,
maturing athletes are likely to see
larger adaptations than older athletes,
making the comparison of findings to
other populations challenging. Elastic
bands have only been explored in 16-
year-old athletes for kicking (60),
whereas wearable resistance was im-
plemented in 28- to 30-year-old fight-
ers of unreported sex. Furthermore,
because intensities and repetitions
were not provided, it is difficult to
quantify the training load performed
during each set or round of striking.
Finally, study quality and methodolo-
gies varied greatly among reports, mak-
ing it difficult to interpret training
effects and render sound inferences.
Combined strength training uses a
mixture of nonspecific and specific
training methods, where traditional
gym-based exercises are performed in
combination with specific strength and
conditioning exercises (52). Three
studies investigated the effects of com-
bining traditional resistance training
and combat training with plyometrics,
medicine ball training, elastic band
training, weighted punching, and spe-
cific power shuttle runs (6,12,20)
(Table 3). Randomized controlled
designs were not used for these studies,
but rather convenience sampling was
employed because Del Vecchio et al.
(12) stated that participant schedules
limited their availability to be ran-
domly allocated to a group. The dura-
tion of studies reported ranged from 4–
16 weeks with training frequencies of
3–6 days per week. Prescribed volumes
included 2–5 sets of 5–10 repetitions at
intensities of 20–90% 1-repetition max-
imum (RM).
Punching force and power showed a
wide range of improvement following
traditional resistance training with
weighted punching and throwing,
ranging from 1.95% (hook punches to
the body, referred to in the study as a
side blow; p.0.05) to 44.2% (straight
punch to the body referred to in the
study as a low blow; p,0.05) (6).
Similarly, kicking power showed
increases of 7.22–34.0% following com-
bined strength and combat training
(12). Considering the influence of com-
bined training methods and protocols,
performing traditional resistance exer-
cises 3 times per week (3 sets 38–10
reps @ 50–70% 1RM), specific resis-
tance exercises 3 times per week
(3 sets 38–10 reps using 3–5 kg),
and shuttle runs twice per week (3 sets
3190 seconds) (total of 80 training
sessions) seems to be the most effective
for increasing punching force (26.3–
26.9%; p,0.05) (20). Performing
traditional resistance training with
plyometrics and weighted punches/
throws using loads between 0.5 and 6
kg from a fighting position 6 days a
week for 4 weeks (24 sessions) not only
improved front hand (1.95–44.2%) and
rear hand (1.53–17.2%) power but also
increased, though not significantly
(p.0.05), the number of punches that
could be thrown in 3 seconds (5.97%),
5 seconds (7.90%), and 8 seconds
(4.52%) (6). Finally, training 2 days a
week for 6 weeks performing maxi-
mum strength exercises (3–5 sets 35
reps @ 5-RM), power exercises (3–4
sets 35 reps @ 5-RM), specific
strength exercises (1–3 sets 310 reps
@ 10-RM), and 1 day a week of tech-
nical and tactical training for
60 minutes (2–5 sets 32–3 minutes
@ max intensity) (12 strength/power
sessions, unknown number of techni-
cal/tactical sessions) resulted in
increased punching power (17.2–
22.4%) and kicking power (7.22–34.0%)
(12). As expected, the number of
training sessions influenced the effec-
tiveness of training; however, there
does not seem to be any overt effect for
acute training variables (i.e., frequency,
intensity, sets, and reps).
Key descriptive characteristics of par-
ticipants in combined strength and
conditioning training studies that
should be highlighted are chronologi-
cal age, sex, skill level, and sport. There
was a total of 41 participants with an
average age of 23.7 years (range, 22.5–
Effects of Training on Striking Force
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Table 3
Effects of combined strength and conditioning training on striking performance in combat athletes
Study Subjects Measurement device Intervention/duration/
Dependent variables Effects
enas et al. (6) 10 unknown sex elite
boxers, 22.5 63.38 y
unreported height
and mass
Dynamometer sampled at
unknown rate embedded in
boxing bag
4-wk 36 d per week
Traditional resistance
training, plyometrics,
and weighted
from fighting position
using 2–3 sets 32–10
repetitions at 20–90%
max effort
Punching power
Rear hand
Straight blow
Side blow
Body blow
[7.59%, p,0.05
[1.53%, p.0.05
[17.2%, p,0.05
Front hand
Straight blow (Jab)
Side blow (hook to
the body)
Body blow (straight
to the body)
[2.78%, p.0.05
[1.95%, p.0.05
[44.2%, p.0.05
Number of punches
[5.97%, p.0.05
[7.90%, p.0.05
[4.52%, p.0.05
Summative punching
[14.7%, p.0.05
[19.2%, p.0.05
[8.21%, p.0.05
Strength and Conditioning Journal | 7
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Table 3
Kim et al. (20) 15 male elite boxers,
23.4 62.2 y, 1.77 6
0.07 m, 67.7 69.5 kg
Triaxial accelerometer
sampled at 1000 Hz
embedded in dummy head
16-wk training
Traditional resistance
training: DB punch, leg
extension, inclined sit-
up, jerk, squat, back
extension, lat pull-down,
deadlift, deadbug,
alternating DB press: 3
sets 38–10 reps at 50–
70% 1RM 33 d per
Power circuit: supine MB
chest throw, MB
modified Russian twist,
MB rotating lunge,
supine MB oblique twist,
tubing alternate press,
tubing pulling with
straight punch, tubing
vertical jump, tubing
pulling with hook: 3 sets
38–10 reps 33 times
per week with 3–5 kg
Boxing power shuttle-run:
190 s 33 sets 32 times
per week
Punch force
Straight punch
Hook punch
[26.3%, p,0.05
[26.9%, p,0.05
Del Vecchio et al. (12) 16 male amateur
combat athletes (6
mixed-martial artists
and 10 kickboxers),
25.2 61.8 y, 1.78 6
0.07 m, 76.0 67.2 kg
Portable StrikeMate dual
accelerometer with
unreported sampling
frequency embedded in
open-cell foam wrapped in
a “rigid” surface
Combat training 3 d 3
60 min
Strength and power
training: back half squat,
deadlift, bench press,
lunges, prone row, lat
pulldown, push split-
jerk, landmine punch,
jump squats, overhead
kettlebell carries,
abdominal rollouts: 1–5
sets 35–10 reps
Strike power:
Jab punch
Cross punch
Front kick
Roundhouse kick
DB 5dumbbell; MB 5medicine ball.
Effects of Training on Striking Force
Copyright © National Strength and Conditioning Association. Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.
25.2 years). Of the 41 participants, 31
were males (12,20), no females, 15
unreported sex (6). Concerning skill
level, 25 were categorized as elite
(6,20) and 16 were categorized as ama-
teur (12). Despite the appreciable dif-
ference in talent, there does not seem
to be a difference in training responses
between elite and amateur athletes.
Regarding sport, 25 were boxers
(6,20), 6 were mixed martial artists,
and 10 were kickboxers (12).
Regarding force measurement devices,
2 studies measured force using indirect
measurements of force using relevant
targets (e.g., accelerometer or dyna-
mometer embedded in a dummy face
or punching bag) (6,20), whereas one
study measured striking force via an
indirect force measurement using an
irrelevant target (e.g., accelerometer
wrapped in foam) (12). As previously
intimated, it is important to ensure that
the method for assessing striking per-
formance is reliable. Both
et al. (6) and Del Vecchio et al. (12)
used devices that have previously been
found to have very high reliability (i.e.,
Kiktest-100 and StrikeMate, respec-
tively), whereas Kim et al. (20) did
not report the variance associated with
their accelerometer embedded in a
dummy face.
Again, limitations within the available
combined training research area
include a lack of female athletes exam-
ined, no direct measurements of force
using inertially relevant devices were
taken, and device sampling frequencies
were not reported for 2 of the 3 studies
(6,12). Finally, study quality and meth-
odologies varied greatly among
reports, making it difficult to interpret
training effects and provide concrete
In summary, after reviewing the litera-
ture, a total of 9 studies have investi-
gated the effects of nonspecific,
specific, or combined training inter-
ventions on striking capabilities in
combat athletes. Training frequencies
ranged from 2 to 7 days per week for
1–8 weeks. Prescribed volumes were 2–
6 sets of 3–10 repetitions. Wearable
resistance had the greatest effect on
punching performance (51.2%
increase) (11) followed by combined
training (44.2% increase) (6). Com-
bined and specific strength and condi-
tioning training led to similar kick
performance enhancement (34 and
33% increases, respectively). Given
the findings, the use of combined and
specific strength and conditioning
training is recommended for increasing
punching and kicking performance in
combat sport athletes. One pivotal fac-
tor to consider when constructing
strength and conditioning programs
for combat athletes is resistance train-
ing age. Although combat experience is
frequently reported, there is a lack of
information regarding the resistance
training experience of participants.
This information could improve infer-
ence, and better inform exercise selec-
tion and implementation, as well as
prescriptions of respective training vol-
umes and intensities. Furthermore, it is
important to note that the variations in
methodologies between studies, and
the acute training variables, in particu-
lar, may lead to considerably different
results. Therefore, we recommend
strength and conditioning profes-
sionals consider this when using this
information to help guide their pro-
gram design.
Looking at the empirical research, a
number of factors become apparent:
(a) integrating both high-force, low-
velocity, and low-force, high-velocity
training modalities concurrently
appears to lead to the greatest transfer
to striking performance and (b) the
dearth of studies and inconsistencies
in methodological approaches make
it impossible to provide precise recom-
mendations around which acute and
chronic training parameters should be
programmed to optimize striking
capabilities in combat athletes. Never-
theless, the empirical research substan-
tiates the anecdotal training advice
commonly provided by strength and
conditioning practitioners (47,61,62).
Furthermore, given the anatomical
structure of the lumbar spine and its
limited degrees of freedom, exercises
with an emphasis on stabilizing the
trunk musculature surrounding the
lumbar spine should be prioritized
(26,32). As such, exercises that focus
on lumbar stabilization are recommen-
ded to enhance force transmission
from lower- to upper-body during
striking movements, as well as reduce
potential injury risk (23,32,48). Based
on the relevant literature available,
and the information sourced, the fol-
lowing sections are designed to provide
practical recommendations and exam-
ple exercises that can be used by
strength and conditioning profes-
sionals to enhance striking impact
capabilities in combat sport athletes.
For each of the nonspecific and specific
training methods, we discuss training
recommendations based on the litera-
ture as well as provide recommenda-
tions based on professional strength
and conditioning coaches’ experience,
which have not yet been established in
peer-reviewed journals.
Exercises found in the combat
sports literature. When combining
the research found in this review, gen-
eral training guidelines can be synthe-
sized using the established (i.e.,
empirically examined literature) exer-
cises. A program could consist of
force-dominant movements like the
back squat (Figure 1) and bench press,
force- and velocity-dominant power
exercises like the jump squat or supine
medicine ball throw (see Video 1, Sup-
plemental Digital Content 1, http://, and iso-
metric core training. Programming var-
iables for these exercises would reflect
those commonly used in strength and
power training (Table 4) (50), with the
exception of the isometric core exer-
cises that would reflect the novel pro-
gramming design of intermittent
activations and rests between sets and
Strength and Conditioning Journal | 9
Copyright © National Strength and Conditioning Association. Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.
repetitions as per Lee and McGill (26).
Additionally, although not established
in the combat sports literature,
velocity-based training is recognized
and can be used as a tool for load pre-
scription, performance monitoring,
and managing fatigue response in the
exercises found in this section (64).
Given that axial loading via nonspecific
exercises leads to preferential adapta-
tions in stabilizing muscles (43), this
general approach would likely improve
striking forces, most notably punching
and kicking, in most combat sport ath-
lete populations via reduction in force
loss upon strike impact because of
greater cocontraction of agonist and
antagonist muscle activation.
Recommended exercises not
found in the combat sports liter-
ature. It is important to note that
some of the nonestablished exercises
(i.e., exercises that have not been inde-
pendently empirically investigated) in
this section are found in the “combined”
training studies cited in this review.
Unfortunately, because of the number
of exercises and approaches used in
the “combined” group, it is difficult to
argue the specific importance of any
single exercise. As a result, we have cho-
sen to include these exercises in the
nonestablished category of this review.
For strength-speed or power-
emphasized lower-body training, it is
recommended that weightlifting exer-
cises, or derivatives of weightlifting
techniques, initiated from the second-
pull or hang position be used (61).
The use of weightlifting variations and
other forms of axial loading has been
previously recommended to increase
leg drive during a punch because of ver-
tical force being the primary factor dur-
ing movements that are similar with
punching (16,32,62). This may be, in
part, a result of improved joint sequenc-
ing of the lower limbs, whereby training
movements that require high intralimb
coordination may enhance the tempo-
ral organization of the joints and there-
fore increase force capabilities (21,22).
Anecdotal experience of the authors
also suggests that weightlifting varia-
tions, such as the clean high pull (Fig-
ure 2), are useful movements for
improving force dominant lower-
body power (61,62). The large forces
seen during punching and kicking
actions (31) would likely be best served
with such an intervention. Further-
more, specific to punching, boxers
have been found to have a high
instance of shoulder and wrist contra-
indications and injury risk factors (29).
As such, single arm variations like the
unilateral kettlebell snatch (Figure 3)
can be adopted to reduce the injury
risk from the front rack or bilateral
overhead positions in combat sports
athletes that use punches regularly.
Specific links to improving kicking
with this approach are less established
than in punching because of a paucity
of research; however, theoretically, this
approach should improve the rate of
force development in the initiation of
kicking movements and thus kicking
Striking force may be further enhanced
with the integration of variable resis-
tance training. The addition of elastic
bands or chains to traditional gym-
based movements with ascending
strength curves, such as the squat, bench
press (Figure 4), and shoulder press
account for the length-tension relation-
ship of the muscles (42). Variable resis-
tance enables maximal force production
throughout the entire range of motion of
an exercise and has been found to
improve maximal force production bet-
ter than conventional resistance training
(54). The ability to continuously acceler-
ate a load while accounting for the
length-tension relationship of muscles
Figure 1. Barbell back squat.
Table 4
Training variables based on the training goal
Training goal Goal repetitions Sets Load (% 1RM) Rest
Strength #6 2–6 $85 2–5 min
Single-effort event 1–2 3–5 80–90 2–5 min
Multiple-effort event 3–5 3–5 75–85
Hypertrophy 6–12 3–6 67–85 30 s–1.5 min
Muscular endurance $12 2–3 #67 #30 s
Data from Haff and Triplett (2016).
Effects of Training on Striking Force
Copyright © National Strength and Conditioning Association. Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.
has a biomechanical resemblance to
throwing a strike: the foot or hand is
accelerated from the initiation of
the strike and reaches maximal
velocity as close to impact as possi-
ble (24). It is important to note that
variable resistance is particularly
beneficial for trained athletes (54),
form of advanced training with
untrained athletes.
Another variation to conventional
resistance training which may be used
to improve striking performance in
combat sport athletes is the action,
braking, clamping complex (ABC
complex), otherwise known as oscilla-
tory agonist-antagonist training or
antagonist-facilitated specialized train-
ing (63). ABC complexes consist of
rapid accelerations in the eccentric
phase immediately transitioning into
a rapid acceleration in the concentric
phase for ascending strength curve
movements like the kettlebell oscillat-
ing deadlift (see Video 2, Supplemental
Digital Content 2, http://links.lww.
com/SCJ/A330) and vice-a-versa for
descending strength curve movements.
The rationale for using ABC com-
plexes is to develop muscular relaxa-
tion of the antagonist or reduce co-
activation to improve the ability of a
muscle to transition between eccentric
and concentric phases more efficiently
(5,51). This type of training simulates
the demands of a strike: where an ath-
lete concentrically extends a limb to
produce as much power as possible
but must also retract the limb quickly
to get back into a defensive position.
Although this method of training is not
prevalent in the literature, we believe
that its use may help facilitate the abil-
ity of central mechanisms to control
antagonist muscle activity (9) and
improve not only striking force but also
enable athletes to retract their limbs
and defend against counter strikes
more effectively.
Although rotational movements (26),
upper- and lower-body power exer-
cises (20,55), and to a lesser extent,
combined upper- and lower-body
power exercises (12) have undergone
investigation, these exercises tend to
isolate subcomponents of a punch.
Figure 2. Clean high pull.
Figure 3. Kettlebell single-arm snatch.
Strength and Conditioning Journal | 11
Copyright © National Strength and Conditioning Association. Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.
Given the importance of kinetic linking
of multiple joint actions and muscle
groups during punching, alongside
trunk rotation (59), exercises that com-
bine upper- and lower-body move-
ments with rotation, especially those
resulting in power production along a
horizontal plane, may be most suitable
to the aim of improving punching
power. Satisfying these criteria, exer-
cises such as single-arm medicine ball
wall throws (see Video 3, Supplemental
Digital Content 3, http://links.lww.
com/SCJ/A331), medicine ball catch
and throws (see Video 4, Supplemental
Digital Content 4, http://links.lww.
com/SCJ/A332) and (perhaps to a
lesser extent) even jammer arm throws
(see Video 5, Supplemental Digital
Content 5,
SCJ/A333), and single-arm jammer
snatches (see Video 6, Supplemental
Digital Content 6, http://links.lww.
com/SCJ/A334) may be used to
improve force summation from the
lower body to the upper body, leading
to increased transfer to actual punching
performance. However, it should be
noted that these exercises have yet to
undergo empirical proofing in a strik-
ing force context.
Given the importance of striking
velocity, speed-emphasized training
using more specific movement pat-
terns and training velocities have been
recommended to enhance the rate of
force development and movement
velocity for open kinetic chain kicking
techniques (23). Plyometric and ballis-
tic exercises that encompass rapid
bilateral and unilateral movement
against no load or light load in the
frontal, sagittal, and transverse planes
will address the transference of linear
momentum (primarily vertically ori-
ented from the legs) to more dynamic,
sport-specific movements, such as
punching and kicking (23,32,47,48).
Furthermore, these modes of training
can help enhance the elastic contribu-
tion of the muscle-tendon unit (17),
increasing stretch-shorten cycle perfor-
mance, thus enabling more powerful
strikes to be delivered (61). These sug-
gestions may partially be based on the
findings that ballistic training leads to
preferential hypertrophy in type IIx
muscle fibers (65) and induces superior
performance adaptations to lower-
body power compared with traditional
resistance training (18).
The use of ballistic jump squats to
improve striking force has been estab-
lished in the literature as previously
stated above using traditional power
loading based on a percentage of
1RM. A novel method of loading has
been used anecdotally based off the
work of Loturco et al. (39). The authors
found strong correlations between
mean propulsive power (MPP) and
Figure 4. Bench press with variable band resistance.
Figure 5. Partner isometric punch.
Effects of Training on Striking Force
Copyright © National Strength and Conditioning Association. Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.
punching forces in both boxers and kar-
ateka (37). MPP, a representation of
neuromuscular potential is derived from
“an optimal power zone,” is calculated
by sampling the take-off phase of a
jump squat to the final point of upward
movement (40). Loading jump squats in
training to maximize MPP would theo-
retically provide the greatest stimulus to
improve striking force. Practically, MPP
loading is far simpler than other meth-
ods of power optimization as loading an
athlete to produce a mean velocity of
1.0 m/s at a jump height of approxi-
mately 20 cm has been found to opti-
mize MPP (38,40).
Although these training methods have
the potential to (predominantly)
improve peak power in striking, delib-
erate training methodologies to
improve repeat power are also desired.
One method of strength training that
has undergone limited research in the
wider literature and none in the com-
bat sport/striking literature is “high-
volume power training” (HVPT).
HVPT involves high volumes of
high-velocity resistance training, with
the aim to improve repeated high-
intensity efforts. Typical protocols con-
sist of 2–3 sessions per week, of 3–5 sets
and 10–20 repetitions, using loads of
30–40% 1RM (or heavier loads with
fewer repetitions). A recent systematic
review (44) examining 20 studies,
including 8 longitudinal studies re-
ported favorable improvements across
multiple athlete types in repeat power
ability, anaerobic capacity, anaerobic
power, and aerobic performance, all
of which are deemed important in
striking sports (53).
Exercises found in the combat
sports literature. Stone et al. (57)
stated that training movements that
reflect the neuromuscular or metabolic
demands of a sport will have a high
transfer to sport performance. There-
fore, when training striking-based com-
bat, the act of punching and kicking in
of itself should improve striking forces.
Kamandulis et al. (19) demonstrated
the effectiveness of this concept with
punching force training on striking
bags composed of 14 sets 33 seconds
with 1-minute rest between rounds and
14 sets of 3 seconds of all-out punching
with 10-second rest between bouts.
Other authors have suggested that
greater rest periods (3–5 minutes) and
fewer strikes can be performed to train
maximal power development and
increased striking forces (32).
Furthermore, specific training
was found in this review through
the use of bands when kicking (60).
Although the approach of overload-
ing sporting movements has been
criticized as potentially altering
kinematics (60), their findings show
that band-resisted kicks do not
appear to negatively affect unloaded
kicks. The authors were unable to
find research that explored the use
of bands when punching as the sole
intervention performed, although
theoretically and anecdotally this
approach seems sound and allows
for the progressive overload of strik-
ing movements that can be used
against a target. Of note, with both
punches and kicks, the line of pull (or
vector) of the bands must be care-
fully aligned with the striking action
while simultaneously not interfering
with the movement.
The last specific training intervention
found in this review was wearable
resistance. This method again allows
for the progressive overload of strikes
against targets, similar to the band
intervention mentioned above. This
approach has clear advantages to
handheld resistance, which can only
be used to simulate striking move-
ments but cannot be used during
impact because of safety concerns.
Currently, the literature has only
explored the use of whole-body
wearable resistance during extended
training sessions, but similar striking-
by Kamandulis et al. (19) or others
may further increase striking forces.
Moreover, this method seems to be
more beneficial for punches rather
than kicks. The exact cause of this
difference remains to be fully estab-
lished; however, the authors suggest
that wearable resistance may cause an
inappropriate overspeed effect
(because of the greater inertia of the
lower limb), which results in athletes
applying braking forces to maintain
limb control during the kick rather
than increasing kicking forces. This
effect would not occur during band-
resisted kicks and would explain the
beneficial effects of band interven-
tions when compared with wearable
Figure 6. Landmine isometric punch.
Strength and Conditioning Journal | 13
Copyright © National Strength and Conditioning Association. Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.
resistance, although this comparison
is yet to be conducted. Punching does
not appear to be influenced by
inertia-related braking forces. Possi-
ble explanations for this could be that
2–4.5% of body weight is not enough
loading to affect punching, a movement
that has a stable base of support and
large transfers of mass between legs in
contrast to kicking, a single-leg rotational
movement (31). In addition, because of
the relatively novel wearable resistance
technology, current loading patterns for
optimizing kicking may not yet be devel-
oped. Specific training methods such as
wearable resistance overload rotational
kinetics (14), as opposed to linear kinet-
ics for most nonspecific training meth-
ods. This is particularly relevant as
rotational movements are known to
increase agonist force production with
reduced antagonist activation (43).
Therefore, specific training may be a
means to increase striking force produc-
tion via improved agonist and synergistic
muscle contribution, leading to a greater
striking velocity upon impact.
Recommended exercises not
found in the combat sports liter-
ature. For speed-strength, using
velocity-specific training methods that
are biomechanically similar to the
desired movement is believed to
have the highest transfer to perfor-
mance (4,7,8). This is likely why elastic
bands were initially introduced into
sport-specific training, and recently,
advanced wearable resistance is now
becoming popular for combat athletes.
Of the specific training methods
explored to improve punching forces,
the general focus is in the early phases
of the strike, propelling the mass of a
fighter’s limb toward the target and/or
rotating the body to increase punch
velocity (56). Once impact occurs, a
fighter needs to increase their inertial
contribution to the strike, otherwise
known as effective mass (33). There
are several specific methods that the
authors recommend to improve this
phase of a punch. First, landmine
punch throws (see Video 7, Supple-
mental Digital Content 7, http:// or jammer
punches (see Video 8, Supplemental
Digital Content 8, http://links.lww.
com/SCJ/A336), movements that sim-
ulate much of the early phase of punch-
ing movements but most importantly
require a large shift in body weight
from the rear leg to the front. This
weight shift reflects a similar change
in weight seen in cross punches. Hier-
archically regressions of ground reac-
tion forces in crosses have identified
that shifting body weight onto the lead
leg led to greater strike impulse as the
fighter’s momentum is directed toward
the target (28). Second, isometric
punches (Figures 5 and 6), as popular-
ized by the website
uk. These exercises serve to train fight-
ers to stiffen their body upon impact,
improving effective mass (27). This
exercise may be primarily programmed
as an overcoming isometric, trying to
push an immovable object. However,
specifics relating to the efficacy of
“holding,” resisting an external load
statically, versus “pushing” still necessi-
tates investigation. Finally, elastic band
loaded oscillations (see Video 9, Sup-
plemental Digital Content 9, http:// and Video
similar to the ABC method have been
used in attempts to simulate the “double-
peak muscular activation,” an activation,
relaxation, activation neuromuscular pat-
tern proposed to optimize effective mass
(41). Executed by performing high-
speed contractions and relaxation, this
training approach can be programmed
in clusters to maximize power outputs
with reduced fatigue (10).
The ability to repeatedly deliver pow-
erful blows while also managing to
avoid incoming strikes is critical for
success in many full-contact combat
sports (e.g., boxing, karate, kickboxing,
mixed martial arts). Because power is
the product of force and velocity, a
combination of high-force and high-
velocity training should be considered
when training to maximize striking
performance. The literature has estab-
lished that using nonspecific training
methods, such as squat jumps, bench
throws, and isometric core training, is
beneficial for improving striking forces
in a range of different combat sport
athletes. Moreover, specific training
methods, such as banded strikes,
appear to preferentially transfer to
kicking performance. Performing com-
bat training with wearable resistance
leads to the greatest increases in
punching performance. Although
there is a dearth of empirical evidence
to support an ideal training method, a
variety of nonspecific and specific
methods have been proposed, based
on anecdotal support from strength
and conditioning practitioners. Vari-
able resistance and ABC complexes
can be integrated with nonspecific
training methods to account for the
length-tension relationship of muscles
and improve coactivation, respectively.
Finally, to maximize effective mass,
specific training methods, such as rota-
tional landmine punch throws and iso-
metric punches, may be used to
increase striking impulse. Although
more research is required to substanti-
ate the effectiveness of different train-
ing methods on striking performance,
strength and conditioning practitioners
should integrate a combination of both
nonspecific and specific training meth-
ods to increase both force and velocity
capabilities with combat sport athletes.
Conflicts of Interest and Source of Funding:
The authors report no conflicts of interest
and no source of funding.
Aaron Uthoff is
a research fellow
in the School of
Sport and Recre-
ation at Auck-
land University
of Technology.
Effects of Training on Striking Force
Copyright © National Strength and Conditioning Association. Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.
Seth Lenetsky
is a sport science
consultant and
CEO of Zev
Reid Reale is the
nutrition man-
ager at UFC
Falkenberg is
the sport science
and performance
manager at the
UFC Perfor-
mance Institute
Gavin Pratt is
the strength and
manager at the
UFC Perfor-
mance Institute
Amasinger is
the technical
director at the
UFC Perfor-
mance Institute
Bourgeois is the
Head Strength
and Conditioning
Coach at Nicholls
State University.
´l Cahill
is the chief per-
formance officer
at Athlete Train-
ing and Health.
Duncan French
is the vice presi-
dent of perfor-
mance at the
UFC Perfor-
mance Institute.
John Cronin is a
professor of
strength and
conditioning at
Auckland Uni-
versity of
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Background The acute responses to cluster set resistance training (RT) have been demonstrated. However, as compared to traditional sets, the effect of cluster sets on muscular and neuromuscular adaptations remains unclear.Objective To compare the effects of RT programs implementing cluster and traditional set configurations on muscular and neuromuscular adaptations.Methods Systematic searches of Embase, Scopus, Medline and SPORTDiscus were conducted. Inclusion criteria were: (1) randomized or non-randomized comparative studies; (2) publication in English; (3) participants of all age groups; (4) participants free of any medical condition or injury; (5) cluster set intervention; (6) comparison intervention utilizing a traditional set configuration; (7) intervention length ≥ three weeks and (8) at least one measure of changes in strength/force/torque, power, velocity, hypertrophy or muscular endurance. Raw data (mean ± SD or range) were extracted from included studies. Hedges’ g effect sizes (ES) ± standard error of the mean (SEM) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were calculated.ResultsTwenty-nine studies were included in the meta-analysis. No differences between cluster and traditional set configurations were found for strength (ES = − 0.05 ± 0.10, 95% CI − 0.21 to 0.11, p = 0.56), power output (ES = 0.02 ± 0.10, 95% CI − 0.17 to 0.20, p = 0.86), velocity (ES = 0.15 ± 0.13, 95% CI − 0.10 to 0.41, p = 0.24), hypertrophy (ES = − 0.05 ± 0.14, 95% CI − 0.32 to 0.23, p = 0.73) or endurance (ES = − 0.07 ± 0.18, 95% CI − 0.43 to 0.29, p = 0.70) adaptations. Moreover, no differences were observed when training volume, cluster set model, training status, body parts trained or exercise type were considered.Conclusion Collectively, both cluster and traditional set configurations demonstrate equal effectiveness to positively induce muscular and neuromuscular adaptation(s). However, cluster set configurations may achieve such adaptations with less fatigue development during RT which may be an important consideration across various exercise settings and stages of periodized RT programs.
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Velocity-based training (VBT) is a contemporary method of resistance training that enables accurate and objective prescription of resistance training intensities and volumes. This review provides an applied framework for the theory and application of VBT. Specifically, this review gives detail on how to: use velocity to provide objective feedback, estimate strength, develop load-velocity profiles for accurate load prescription, and how to use statistics to monitor velocity. Furthermore, a discussion on the use of velocity loss thresholds, different methods of VBT prescription, and how VBT can be implemented within traditional programming models and microcycles is provided.
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Background High volume power training (HVPT) involves high volumes of high-velocity resistance training, with the aim to improve repeated high-intensity efforts (RHIEs). Repeat power ability (RPA) is the ability to repeatedly produce maximal or near maximal efforts. Assessments of RPA using external loading may determine the ability to perform repeat RHIEs typical of many sports and, therefore, provide useful information on the effectiveness of training.Objectives(1) Identify the different HVPT protocols; (2) examine the acute responses and chronic adaptations to different HVPT protocols; (3) identify different lower body RPA assessment protocols and highlight similarities, differences and potential limitations between each protocol, and; (4) describe the reliability and validity of RPA assessments.Methods An electronic search was performed using SPORTDiscus, PubMed, CINAHL and Embase for studies utilising HVPT protocols and assessments of RPA. Eligible studies included peer-reviewed journal articles published in English.ResultsTwenty studies met the inclusion criteria of the final review. Of the eight longitudinal studies, three were rated as fair and five were rated as poor methodological quality, respectively. In contrast, all 12 cross-sectional studies were considered to have a low risk of bias. Preliminary evidence suggests that HVPT can enhance RHIE, RPA, anaerobic capacity, anaerobic power and aerobic performance. HVPT generally consists of 2–3 sessions per week, utilising loads of 30–40% 1 repetition maximum (RM), for 3–5 sets of 10–20 repetitions, with inter-set rest periods of 2–3 min. RPA assessments can be valid and reliable and may provide useful information on an athlete’s ability to perform RHIE and the success of HVPT programmes.ConclusionsHVPT can be used to improve a number of physical qualities including RPA and RHIE; while a variety of RPA assessments provide valid and reliable information regarding the athlete’s ability to perform RHIEs. Considering the heterogeneity in the HVPT protocols currently used and the relatively low volume and quality of longitudinal publications in this area, further studies are needed to identify the effects of a variety of HVPT methods on RPA, RHIE and other performance outcomes and to identify the most valid and reliable RPA outcomes to use in such studies.
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This study investigated the relationship between punching performance and the velocity at which different loads were lifted during the bench press (PB) exercise in 12 professional boxers (age= 22.6 ± 4 years; height= 177.7±5 cm; weight 70.6±6.43 kg; box experience= 6.5 ± 3.5; category= from light to super welter weight). In order to determinate the maximal punching velocity (PVmax) during both rear arm and lead arm punching, an accelerometer (Crossbow, England) was placed inside the boxing glove while executing three jaws at a maximal velocity with each arm. Upper-body strength was assessed through the direct 1RM BP test and the maximum velocity at different percentages of 1RM were obtained with a linear encoder. The main finding of the present study was that rear arm PV was correlated to the BP velocity at all submaximal intensities (p<0.05). Nevertheless, lead arm PV did not correlate with BP at any intensity. Additional linear regression models revealed that velocity at 80% 1RM was the only predictor of rear arm PV (r2= 0.75; p< 0.01) in professional boxers. Additional body-mass adjustment significantly influenced this regression model (p<0.05). Conclusive results encourage coaches and trainers to use BP exercise over high loads (i.e., 80% of 1 RM) to obtain a reliable predictor of the performance during the specific boxing action. Nevertheless, BP strength seems not to reflect the performance during lead arm PV.
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The purpose of the present study was to examine the effect of a six-week strength and power training program, on striking impact power in amateur male combat athletes. A convenience sample of 16 amateur male combat athletes with at least two years combat training experience were assigned to either a strength and power training program (SPT, n = 10) or control group (CT, n = 6). Both groups performed three weekly combat training sessions for six weeks. The SPT group performed two sixtyminute SPT sessions in addition to usual combat training. The following variables: lead-hand jab, rear-hand cross, front kick and roundhouse kick mean impact power, vertical jump height, and five-repetition maximum (5RM) half-squat and bench press, were measured using standard protocols at baseline and after six weeks. Magnitude based inferences (Cohen’s d (d) ±90% CI) revealed likely beneficial effects of SPT on cross punch (d = 0.69 ±0.76), roundhouse kick power (d = 0.86 ±0.83), and vertical jump (d = 0.53 ±0.66). Benefits of usual combat training were unclear for all measured parameters. When between-group changes across the six-week period were compared SPT demonstrated likely benefits for cross-punch (d = 0.75 ±0.80) and 5RM half-squat (d = 0.81 ±0.78) compared to usual combat training. These data suggest the addition of SPT to combat training may have a beneficial effect on cross-punch impact power and 5RM half-squat strength in amateur male combat athletes.
Dunn, EC, Humberstone, CE, Franchini, E, Iredale, KF, and Blazevich, AJ. Relationships between punch impact force and upper- and lower-body muscular strength and power in highly trained amateur boxers. J Strength Cond Res XX(X): 000-000, 2020-This study examined the relationship between upper- and lower-body strength and power characteristics and punch performance in 28 highly trained male amateur boxers. Punch performance was assessed with a custom-built punch integrator using a 3-minute maximal effort punch test that contained straight- and bent-arm punches from the lead and rear hands. Peak punch force and force-time variables including impulse and rate of force development (RFD; calculated to various points) were assessed. Force, power, and RFD of the upper and lower body were assessed with countermovement bench throw, isometric bench push, countermovement jump (CMJ), and isometric midthigh pull (IMTP) tests. Correlation and regression analyses revealed significant (p < 0.05) relationships between peak punch force and forces measured in CMJ and IMTP tests. In addition, peak punch force was moderately and significantly correlated to body mass, but RFD in the lower body was not. Moreover, no meaningful relationships between punch performance characteristics and any upper-body strength or power parameter were identified. The results of this study show that lower-body strength but not RFD had a moderate to strong positive and significant correlation to peak punch force production. Although upper-body strength and power are expected to be important in boxing, they did not discriminate between boxers who punched with higher or lower peak force nor were they correlated to peak punch force. Training that improves lower-body strength without increasing total body mass (to maintain weight category) may positively influence punch capacity in highly trained amateur boxers.
This study examined the weightlifting load effects on the lower extremity coordination pattern during a snatch pull movement. Twenty male elite weightlifters performed snatch trials in each of the three load conditions [light (30%), medium (65%) and heavy (90%) of their maximum weightlifting capacities]. Kinematic data for the transition, second pull and take-off phases of a snatch were collected at 200 Hz using an eight-camera motion capture system. Angle-angle plots and coupling angles were calculated for further analyses. The results indicate that participants utilised knee flexion control-strategy in light and medium load conditions during the transition phase, but not for in-phase strategy in heavy load condition. In the second pull phase, participants utilised concurrent ankle dorsiflexion and knee extension, followed by hip extension strategy. The heavy load condition exhibited the distinct coordination strategies before knee extension. In the take-off phase, light and medium load conditions appeared to use thigh-phase strategy (right ankle-knee: p = 0.788, left: p = 0.035, right knee-hip: p = 0.012, left: p = 0.017, right ankle-hip: p = 0.029, left: p = 0.011). This suggests that the heavy load condition requires the use of two-joint coordination patterns (in-phase or anti-phase) as compared to the other lighter load conditions.
This study examined the changes in bench press (BP), jump squat (JS), and half-squat (HS) power outputs induced by a short-term (one-week) training scheme based on the optimum power load (OPL) applied to National boxing athletes; and measured the transference effect coefficient (TEC) of these exercises on punching impact force. Eight elite boxing athletes from the Brazilian National team participated in this study. Athletes were tested pre and post three power-oriented training sessions performed at OPL. The physical assessments comprised punching impact measures (jab and cross techniques), at fixed and self-selected distances, and bar-power output in BP, HS, and JS exercises. Magnitude based differences were calculated to compare pre- and post-training sessions. TEC was calculated as the ratio between the result gain in the “untrained exercises” (punching impact in jabs and crosses) and “trained exercises” (HS, JS, and BP), for those variables presenting an effect size (ES) of at least 0.2. The OPL training elicited meaningful increases in the punching impact forces (~8%) and in both JS and HS power outputs (~12% and ~14%, respectively), but not in BP power output. There was an effective transference (TEC = ~0.80) of JS and HS power performance gains to punching impact force, suggesting that increases in lower limb power can be directly transferred to punching impact. These results provide strength and conditioning coaches with valuable information about how to rapidly and effectively increase the punching impact force of elite amateur boxers.