ArticlePDF Available

Kinematics and kinetics of the bench-press and bench-pull exercises in a strength-trained sporting population

  • Queensland Academy of Sport

Abstract and Figures

Understanding how loading affects power production in resistance training is a key step in identifying the most optimal way of training muscular power - an essential trait in most sporting movements. Twelve elite male sailors with extensive strength-training experience participated in a comparison of kinematics and kinetics from the upper body musculature, with upper body push (bench press) and pull (bench pull) movements performed across loads of 10-100% of one repetition maximum (1RM). 1RM strength and force were shown to be greater in the bench press, while velocity and power outputs were greater for the bench pull across the range of loads. While power output was at a similar level for the two movements at a low load (10% 1RM), significantly greater power outputs were observed for the bench pull in comparison to the bench press with increased load. Power output (Pmax) was maximized at higher relative loads for both mean and peak power in the bench pull (78.6 +/- 5.7% and 70.4 +/- 5.4% of 1RM) compared to the bench press (53.3 +/- 1.7% and 49.7 +/- 4.4% of 1RM). Findings can most likely be attributed to differences in muscle architecture, which may have training implications for these muscles.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Kinematics and kinetics of the bench-press and bench-pull
exercises in a strength-trained sporting population
, &
Institute of Sport and Recreation Research New Zealand, AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand,
School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Sciences, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia, and
Emirates Team New Zealand, Auckland, New Zealand
(Received 26 August 2008; accepted 6 May 2009)
Understanding how loading affects power production in resistance training is a key step in identifying
the most optimal way of training muscular power an essential trait in most sporting movements.
Twelve elite male sailors with extensive strength-training experience participated in a comparison of
kinematics and kinetics from the upper body musculature, with upper body push (bench press) and pull
(bench pull) movements performed across loads of 10100% of one repetition maximum (1RM). 1RM
strength and force were shown to be greater in the bench press, while velocity and power outputs were
greater for the bench pull across the range of loads. While power output was at a similar level for the two
movements at a low load (10% 1RM), significantly greater power outputs were observed for the bench
pull in comparison to the bench press with increased load. Power output (P
) was maximized at higher
relative loads for both mean and peak power in the bench pull (78.6 ^ 5.7% and 70.4 ^ 5.4% of 1RM)
compared to the bench press (53.3 ^ 1.7% and 49.7 ^ 4.4% of 1RM). Findings can most likely be
attributed to differences in muscle architecture, which may have training implications for these muscles.
Keywords: Performance, power, sailing, strength
Muscular power, the product of force and velocity (Harman, 1993; Hamill and Knutzen,
1995), has been identified as an important factor in the performance of many sporting
activities (Sale, 1991; Harman, 1993; Abernethy et al., 1995; Lyttle et al., 1996) and has
been the subject of substantial research. Resistance training has been identified as one factor
which plays an important role in the development of muscular power (Pearson et al., 2000),
although there is still considerable conjecture in the literature as to the most efficient method
of achieving this goal (Cron in et al., 2001). In order to understand how muscular power can
best be developed using resistance training, it is important to understand how the
manipulation of different parameters can influence power output. One factor that is of
particular interest is the influence of load, and in particular the load that maximizes muscular
power output (P
) (Wilson et al., 1993; McBride et al., 2002; Cronin and Sleivert, 2005).
ISSN 1476-3141 print/ISSN 1752-6116 online q 2009 Taylor & Francis
DOI: 10.1080/14763140903229484
Correspondence: S. N. Pearson, Institute of Sport and Recreation Research New Zealand, Faculty of Health and Environmental
Sciences, AUT University, Private Bag 92006, Auckland, New Zealand. E-mail:
Sports Biomechanics
September 2009; 8(3): 245–254
Downloaded By: [Pearson, Simon N.] At: 09:35 22 September 2009
is considered by many researchers to be important in improving muscular power
capability, and therefore the performance of various sporting movements, however, Cronin
and Sleivert (2005) have identified a number of issues within the curren t available research
into the power-load relationship. Along with various methodological inconsistencies present
in the literature (incl uding contraction type, peak versus mean power), the variation in the
power-load spectrum and P
load observed across populations and movements,
necessitates situation-specific research and prohibits generalization of results (Cronin and
Sleivert, 2005; Harris et al., 2007).
Within the sphere of power-load research to date, the vast majority of studies have been
conducted using derivatives of two movements or exercises: the bench-press exercise in the
upper body (Cronin and Sleivert, 2005; Cronin et al., 2007) and the squat in the lower body
(Cronin and Sleivert, 2005; Harris et al., 2007). While these exercises certainly represent key
movements for many sporting activities, there are other movement patterns which also
warrant examination. The bench pull, also known as the prone row, is another key multi-
articular exercise used in the conditioning of athletes across a variety of sports (Sharp et al.,
1988; Kramer et al., 1993; Liow and Hopkins, 2003), and as such a better understanding of
the kinetic and kinematic characteristics of this movement will be of benefit to the
neuromuscular development of athletes. The bench-pull is essentially a direct contrast to the
bench-press movement, being performed by pulling the bar towards the chest from a prone
horizontal position (shoulder extension, elbow flexion), compared to the supine, push-based
motion of the bench press (shoulder flexion, elbow extension).
To date there has been no research examining the power-load relationship in the bench-
pull exercise, although one recent study has examined the similarly pull-based seated row
(Cronin et al., 2007) in elite rowers while (Kawamori et al., 2005) studied the power-load
relationship in the hang power clean, a whole body exercise with heavy dependence on upper
body pulling. Some key differences were observed between the kinematics and kinetics of
these pull-based exercises and those reported previously for the bench press. Most notable
amongst these was the difference in the power-load relationship, with power output
maximized at higher relative loads in the pull-base d movements (row ¼ 81% of 1RM; power
clean ¼ 70% of 1RM) compared to the push-based bench press. However, a limitation of
both studies was that only the single movement was examined, and while there is
considerable bench-press research with which to draw comparison, issue s with varying
samples and methodologies mean that making certain assumptions and conclusions is
problematic. The aim of this study therefore was to determine the power-load relationship of
a push-based upper body shoulder horizontal flex ion/push movement (bench press) and a
pull-based extension/pull movement (bench pull/prone row) in a strength-trained sporting
population. Examining this relationship in an identical population will enable a direct
comparison of the power-load characteristics associated with each of these movements.
Approach to the problem
This study was designed to examine and compare the biomechanical characteristics of the
power-load relationship in the bench-press and bench-pull exercises. A Smith machine was
instrumented to allow measurement of the kinematics and kinetics of the bar and weights
during performance of the exercise. A spectrum of loads ranging from 10 100% of an
individual’s one repetition maximum (1RM) were used to model the full range power-load
relationship by fitting a quadratic curve.
S. N. Pearson et al.246
Downloaded By: [Pearson, Simon N.] At: 09:35 22 September 2009
Twelve elite -level male sailors from the E mirates Team New Zeala nd Ameri cas
Cup syndicate participated in this study. As part of their sailing role all sailors performed
grinding; a cyclic high-load, high-intensity upper body activity involving both push-based
forward grinding and pull-based backward grinding. The sample size was small due to the
elite nature of the participants, and therefore restricts the level of statistical power.
The sailor’s mean (^ s) age, body mass, and height were 33.9(^ 5.5) years,
97.8(^ 12.5) kg, and 186.0(^ 7.1) cm. All participants had an extensive strength-training
background (minimum of three years) and the bench-press and bench-pull exercises were
commonly used as part of their training program. All subjects provided written, informed
consent within the guidelines of the AUT University Ethics Committee.
Testing was performed on a modified Smith machine, which incorporates a bar fixed using
low-friction linear bearings so that it can only slide vertically (Figure 1). A linear position
transducer (Unimeasure, Oregon) was attached to the bar and measured bar displacement
with an accuracy of 0.1 mm . These data were sampled at 500 Hz and relayed to a Labview
(National Instruments, Texas) based acqui sition and analysis program.
Each participant completed a 60-minute testing session involving both the bench-press and
bench-pull exercises (Figure 2). Familiarisation was conducted through a self-determined,
exercise-specific warm up typically consisting of 34 warm-up sets of the particular exercise
using progressively heavier loads. Following the warm up, the individuals’ 1RM (Smith
machine, concentric-only) was determined to the nearest 2.5 kg. The spectrum of loads for
Figure 1. Testing set-up for the power-load spectrum of the bench-press exercise.
Kinematics and kinetics of the bench-press and bench-pull exercises 247
Downloaded By: [Pearson, Simon N.] At: 09:35 22 September 2009
the power testing were then determined from 10 100% of 1RM at 10% intervals. Single
repetitions of each load were performed in ascending order, with the instruction that each lift
should be performed as explosively as possible without releasing the bar (in the bench press).
All lifts were concentric-only, with the bench press initiated f rom mechanical stops
positioned ,30 mm off the sailor’s chest, and the bench pull initiated from a supported
supine position. Two potential issues in regard to the presentation order of loads are the
effects of fatigue and/or potentiation on later lifts in the sequence. In order to hopefully avoid
such an occurrence each lift was separated by a rest period of 1 2 minutes (increasing with
load), which was considered to be of a sufficient duration to minimise any order effects.
Evidence that any possible fatigue effects were in fact minimal was confirmed by the sailor’s
ability to repeat their determined 1RM effort from the start of the session in the last of their
ordered lifts (100% of 1RM), however the possibility of either fatigue or potentiation
influencing the results, even if only in a small way, must be acknowledged.
Data and statistical analyses
Displacement-time data were filtered using a low pass Butterworth filter with a cut- off
frequency of 6 Hz, and then differentiated to determine instantaneous velocity, acceleration,
force (using additional load information) and power output data over the range of motion for
each load condition. It shoul d be acknowledged that there is likely to be slight
underestimation in the calculation of force, as it will not include the force required to
overcome any friction of the Smith machine. However, as the Smith machine system is
specifically designed to have low levels of friction it is expected that any effect is likely to be
less than the biological variability of the user and therefore have minimal effect on the overall
findings. An assertion supported by previous findings that the measu res of force determined
using this methodology have been previously validated and found to correlate highly with
force plate measures across a range of movements, loads, and testing conditions (Chiu et al.,
2004; Cronin et al., 2004).
Descriptive statistics for all variables are represented as mean and standard deviations.
values and power drop-off around P
were calculated using the line estimation
function (least squares method) in Microsoft Excel. Presence of significant systematic
discrepanc y between measures from the ben ch p ress and bench pull was determined using a
two-tailed unpaired t-test (a level of p # 0.05).
Set-up specific determination of 1RM performance resulted in mean 1RM scores of
119.7 ^ 23.9 kg for the bench press and 99.4 ^ 15.4 kg for the bench pull. Table I displays
the mean force, velocity, and power output values of all participants for the concentric phase
of a single repetition for the ben ch press and bench pull across the range of relative loads.
Mean force values were higher for the bench-press/flexion movement while mean velocity
values were greater for the bench-pull/extension movement. In addition, while both
Figure 2. Structure of the testing session.
S. N. Pearson et al.248
Downloaded By: [Pearson, Simon N.] At: 09:35 22 September 2009
Table I. Kinematic and kinetic measures (mean ^ s) for the bench press and bench pull exercises throughout a range of loads (%1RM).
Load Bench press Bench pull P-value (difference)
%1RM Velocity (m/s) Force (N) Power (W) Velocity (m/s) Force (N) Power (W) Vel. Force Power
10% 0.95 ^ 0.14 122 ^ 29 117 ^ 36 1.20 ^ 0.16 102 ^ 15 125 ^ 32 0.001 0.055 0.615
20% 0.85 ^ 0.15 234 ^ 49 199 ^ 61 1.17 ^ 0.14 198 ^ 31 235 ^ 63 0.000 0.056 0.189
30% 0.72 ^ 0.10 354 ^ 70 253 ^ 57 1.06 ^ 0.12 293 ^ 45 315 ^ 80 0.000 0.027 0.051
40% 0.61 ^ 0.10 473 ^ 96 286 ^ 65 0.99 ^ 0.07 389 ^ 64 387 ^ 82 0.000 0.028 0.005
50% 0.52 ^ 0.10 592 ^ 124 306 ^ 75 0.88 ^ 0.05 488 ^ 75 432 ^ 82 0.000 0.030 0.001
60% 0.44 ^ 0.09 708 ^ 146 303 ^ 64 0.79 ^ 0.06 573 ^ 87 454 ^ 89 0.000 0.019 0.000
70% 0.34 ^ 0.05 829 ^ 167 284 ^ 64 0.73 ^ 0.04 685 ^ 103 499 ^ 88 0.000 0.026 0.000
80% 0.24 ^ 0.05 942 ^ 187 225 ^ 55 0.65 ^ 0.05 779 ^ 119 506 ^ 86 0.000 0.026 0.000
90% 0.15 ^ 0.04 1049 ^ 216 153 ^ 50 0.53 ^ 0.04 878 ^ 131 468 ^ 80 0.000 0.038 0.000
100% 0.09 ^ 0.03 1176 ^ 232 105 ^ 38 0.47 ^ 0.03 984 ^ 147 462 ^ 78 0.000 0.033 0.000
Note: Measurements are the mean value of the sample for the concentric phase of a single repetition.
Kinematics and kinetics of the bench-press and bench-pull exercises 249
Downloaded By: [Pearson, Simon N.] At: 09:35 22 September 2009
movements followed the typical force-velocity relationship, the patterns of how these
characteristics related to each other differed. Analysis of group means showed that force
values maintained a linear relationship throughout the range of loads; with values for the
bench pull approximately 17% lower relative to the comparative force values of the bench
press. However, wh en bench-pull velocity values were expressed relative to comparative
bench-press velocities, they increased in an exponential manner as relative load increased;
this exponential increase influenced the power output (see Figure 3). This resulted in the
mean velocity for the concentric phase of the bench pull being 526% greater than the bench
press at the 100% 1RM and mean power being 442% higher at the same load.
The average (across all participants) power output for bench press and bench pull across
the spectrum of loads can be observed in Figure 4. Power was at a similar level for the two
movements at low load (10% of 1RM), but with increasing load a substantially greater
increase in power was observed for the bench pull in comparison to the bench press. Mean
power output was maximised at a significantly higher loa d ( p , 0.001) for the bench pull
(78.6 ^ 5.7% 1RM) than the bench press (53.3 ^ 1.7% 1RM). A similar disparity in P
values were found for peak power, although the relative load at which maximum values
occurred was significantly lower for both the bench pull (70.4 ^ 5.4%; p , 0.001) and
bench press (49.7 ^ 4.4%; p ¼ 0.003). In addition, reduction in power output either side of
was significantly lower for the bench pull at both 10% ( p , 0.001) and 20%
( p , 0.001) of load each side of P
. Power output drop-off at 10% from P
load was
1.6% for the bench pull and 3.2% for the bench press, while drop-off at 20% from P
6.5% for the bench pull and 12.9% for the bench press.
The most no table finding of this study was the divergent power-load spectrum profiles of the
bench press and bench pull. Muscular power output was higher for the bench pull
Figure 3. Differences in the group means for force, velocity and power in the bench press and bench pull, with
bench-pull values presented as a percentage of equivalent bench-press values.
S. N. Pearson et al.250
Downloaded By: [Pearson, Simon N.] At: 09:35 22 September 2009
throughout the entire load range, and significantly higher at loads of 40% 1RM and over.
This in itself was unexpected given the higher absolute loads (, 17%) being lifted in the
bench press, which should result in higher forces and generally be linked to higher power
outputs, as is seen within exercises (stronger individuals having greater power output). Given
that power is the product of force and velocity it would seem that the combination of these
two variables in power production m ay be dependent on the muscles/movement used as
evidenced in this agonist-antagonist pairing. Though speculative, the greater velocities and
subsequent power outputs observed in the bench-pull movement may be attributed to the
differing muscle architecture. That is, previous research (Lieber and Friden, 2000) has
shown that the greater fibre lengths and longitudinal fibre arrangement of the primary
movers used in exercises such as the bench-pull exercise (i.e. latissimus dorsi, biceps brachii,
brachialis) are characterised by faster shorte ning velocities, whereas the primary movers for
exercises such as the bench press (i.e. pectoralis major, triceps brachii) are characterised by
shorter fibre lengths, greater pennation angles, and subsequently g reater force capability.
For the bench pull it seems that velocity is a more important contributor to power output.
Furthermore it is evident that, as relative load increased, the benefits gained from the greater
velocity-generating capability of the musculature used in the bench pull greatly out-weighed
the deficit in force production compared to the bench-press musculature in terms of
maximising power output.
Another explanation for the discrepancy between power outputs may be that the bench
pull and bench press have different strength curves (mechanical advantages). Strength
curves are classified into three categories: ascending, descending and bell-shaped, which are
deter mined by the force-angle (torque) relationship within the musculoskeletal system
(Kulig et al., 1984). Findings by Murphy et al. (1995) indicate that the bench press has an
ascending strength curve, meaning that maximum strength and greatest force production
occurs near the apex of the lift. In comparison, individua l muscle strength curves (Kulig et al.,
1984) suggest that the bench pull is a descending-strength curve exercise where maximum
Figure 4. Comparison of the power-load spectrum for the bench press and bench pull. Curves are presented for both
mean and maximum power from a single repetition for all sailors (averaged).
Kinematics and kinetics of the bench-press and bench-pull exercises 251
Downloaded By: [Pearson, Simon N.] At: 09:35 22 September 2009
strength is produced at the start of the lift. Given this relationship, the ability of the muscles
to produce higher forces/ accelerations earlier in the bench-pull motion seemingly assist the
relevant musculature to overcome the inertia of the load, which results in greater velocity and
power output throughout the movement. Furthermore, this ability to overcome the inertial
load seems of increasing advantage as load increases.
Further differences between exercises were also evident when the relative loads at wh ich
occurred were compared. P
loads for the bench press of around 50% 1RM for both
mean and peak power, along with a power output drop-off of , 3% for a 10% variation in
load, were consistent with previous research which has reported P
loads of 30 60% 1RM
in both the directly comparable concentric-only bench press (Izquierdo et al., 1999; Cronin
et al., 2001; Izquierdo et al., 2002) as well as the more explosive rebound (stretch-shorten
cycle) and throw bench press derivatives (Newton et al., 1997; Baker, 2001; Baker et al.,
2001; Siegel et al., 2002). In contrast P
occurred at a much heavier load for the bench
pull; 78.6% 1RM for mean power and 70.4% for peak power. Similar findings have been
reported in the two other stu dies to examine the power-load spectrum in an upper-body pull
movement, with P
for mean power occurring at 81% of 1RM in the seated row (Cronin
et al., 2007) and at 70% 1RM for the hang power clean (Kawamori et al., 2005). In addition,
similar trends have been shown in situ for a single muscle fibre, with Edgerton et al. (1986)
attributing the differences obse rved between power outputs and P
loads in muscle groups
of the lower limb to differences in muscle architecture (fibre length, type and arrangement).
Although Edgerton et al. (1986) reporte d flexor P
(59%) to occur at a higher relative load
than extensor P
(45%) at the knee, the higher values again corresponded with the action
involving more fusiform muscles with greater fibre length. In te rms of these results it seems
that the functional character istics of the uppe r body “pull” musculature are indeed
substantially different from those of the muscles responsible for the “push” movement.
However, it should be noted that both studies examining the upper-body pull movement
in vivo used elite, male, resistance-trained performers. Although it seems reasonably clear
from the limited evidence available that P
occurs at a higher relative load in upper-body
pull movements compared to push, it may not be possible to generalise the magnitude of
these differences to other populations, especially given that P
has been shown to be
transient in relation to training status (Cronin and Sleivert, 2005).
Force-, velocity- and power-generating character istics of the shoulder extensor and elbow
flexor muscles responsible for the bench-pull movement were substantially different from
the shoulder flexor and elbow extensor muscles responsible for the bench-press movement.
The bench pull produced greater velocities and power outputs, along with exhibiting a higher
relative load for P
findings which may be due to differences in muscle architecture.
The disparate characteristics of the upper-body push an d pull movements examined in this
study may have implications in terms of the way different muscle groups or movement patterns
are trained. In particular it may be pertinent to advocate higher relative loads in res istance
training in upper-body pull (compared to push) movements where power development is of
importance, however further train ing studies are necessary to validate this recommendation.
When targeting power in resistance training exercises, key points for consideration from
this study are:
(1) P
is not only individual but also exercise-specific and needs to be assessed in such a
S. N. Pearson et al.252
Downloaded By: [Pearson, Simon N.] At: 09:35 22 September 2009
(2) Different loads are required to maximise peak and mean power so the functional
significance of each must therefore be evaluated with training design.
In terms of the specific (sailing) population used in this study, it is possible that greater
performance benefits can be derived by altering upper-body training loads for forward
(push-based) and backward (pull-based) grinding in order to more efficiently stimulate the
development of muscular power.
This research was funded by the Tertiary Education Commission (New Zealand) and
Emirates Team New Zealand. Thanks are given to the sailors and support crew at Emirates
Team New Zealand for their participation and assistance with this research. The authors
have no professional relationships with any companies or manufacturer s identified in this
Abernethy, P., Wilson, G., and Logan, P. (1995). Strength and power assessment. Issues, controversies and
challenges. Sports Medicine, 19 (6), 401 417.
Baker, D. (2001). Comparison of upper-body strength and power between professional and college-aged rugby
league players. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 15 (1), 3035.
Baker, D., Nance, S., and Moore, M. (2001). The load that maximizes the average mechanical power output during
explosive bench press throws in highly trained athletes. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 15 (1),
20 24.
Chiu, L. Z. F., Schilling, B. K., Fry, A. C., and Weiss, L. W. (2004). Measurement of resistance exercise force
expression. Journal of Applied Biomechanics, 20, 204 212.
Cronin, J., McNair, P. J., and Marshall, R. N. (2001). Developing explosive power: A comparison of technique and
training. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 4 (1), 59 70.
Cronin, J., and Sleivert, G. (2005). Challenges in understanding the influence of maximal power training on
improving athletic perfor mance. Sports Medicine, 35 (3), 213 234.
Cronin, J. B., Hing, R. D., and McNair, P. J. (2004). Reliability and validity of a linear position transducer for
measuring jump performance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 18 (3), 590 593.
Cronin, J. B., Jones, J. V., and Hagstrom, J. T. (2007). Kinematics and kinetics of the seated row and implications for
conditioning. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 21 (4), 12651270.
Edgerton, V. R., Roy, R. R., Gregor, R. J., and Rugg, S. G. (1986). Morphological basis of skeletal muscle power
output. In N. L. Jones, N. McCartney, and A. J. McComas (Eds.), Human muscle power (pp. 43 59).
Champaign, IL.: Human Kinetics.
Hamill, J., and Knutzen, K. M. (1995). Biomechanical basis of human movement. Balimore, MD: Williams and
Harman, E. (1993). Strength and power: A definition of terms. National Strength and Conditioning Association
Journal, 15 (6), 18 20.
Harris, N. K., Cronin, J. B., and Hopkins, W. G. (2007). Power outputs of a machine squat-jump across a spectrum
of loads. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 21 (4), 1260 1264.
Izquierdo, M., Hakkinen, K., Gonzalez-Badillo, J. J., Ibanez, J., and Gorostiaga, E. M. (2002). Effects of long-term
training specificity on maximal strength and power of the upper and lower extremities in athletes from different
sports. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 87 (3), 264 271.
Izquierdo, M., Ibanez, J., Gorostiaga, E., Garrues, M., Zuniga, A., Anton, A. et al. (1999). Maximal strength and
power characteristics in isometric and dynamic actions of the upper and lower extremities in middle-aged and
older men. Acta Physiologica Scandinavica, 167 (1), 5768.
Kawamori, N., Crum, A. J., Blumert, P. A., Kulik, J. R., Childers, J. T., Wood, J. A. et al. (2005). Influence of
different relative intensities on power output during the hang power clean: Identification of the optimal load.
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 19 (3), 698 708.
Kinematics and kinetics of the bench-press and bench-pull exercises 253
Downloaded By: [Pearson, Simon N.] At: 09:35 22 September 2009
Kramer, J. F., Morrow, A., and Leger, A. (1993). Changes in rowing ergometer, weight lifting, vertical jump and
isokinetic performance in response to standard and standard plus plyometric training programs. International
Journal of Sports Medicine, 14 (8), 449 454.
Kulig, K., Andrews, J. G., and Hay, J. G. (1984). Human strength curves. Exercise and Sport Science Reviews,
12, 417466.
Lieber, R. L., and Friden, J. (2000). Functional and clinical significance of skeletal muscle architecture. Muscle and
Nerve, 23 (11), 1647 1666.
Liow, D. K., and Hopkins, W. G. (2003). Velocity specificity of weight training for kayak sprint performance.
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 35 (7), 1232 1237.
Lyttle, A. D., Wilson, G. J., and Ostrowski, K. J. (1996). Enhancing performance: Maximal power versus combined
weights and plyometrics training. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 10 (3), 173179.
McBride, J. M., Triplett-McBride, T., Davie, A., and Newton, R. U. (2002). The effect of heavy- vs. light-load
jump squats on the development of strength, power, and speed. Jour nal of Strength and Conditioning Research,
16 (1), 75 82.
Murphy, A. J., Wilson, G. J., Pryor, J. F., and Newton, R. U. (1995). Isometric assessment of muscular function:
The effect of joint angle. Journal of Applied Biomechanics, 11 (2), 205 215.
Newton, R. U., Murphy, A. J., Humphries, B. J., Wilson, G. J., Kraemer, W. J., and Hakkinen, K. (1997). Influence
of load and stretch shortening cycle on the kinematics, kinetics and muscle activation that occurs during
explosive upper-body movements. European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology, 75 (4),
333 342.
Pearson, D., Faigenbaum, A., Conley, M., and Kraemer, W. J. (2000). The National Strength and Conditioning
Association’s basic guidelines for the resistance training of athletes. Strength and Conditioning Journal, 22 (4),
14 27.
Sale, D. G. (1991). Testing strength and power. In J. D. MacDougall, H. A. Wenger, and H. J. Green (Eds.),
Physiological testing of the high-performance athlete (pp. 21 106). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Sharp, M. A., Harman, E., Vogel, J. A., Knapik, J. J., and Legg, S. J. (1988). Maximal aerobic capacity for repetitive
lifting: Comparison with three standard exercise testing modes. European Journal of Applied Physiology and
Occupational Physiology, 57 (6), 753760.
Siegel, J. A., Gilders, R. M., Staron, R. S., and Hagerman, F. C. (2002). Human muscle power output during upper-
and lower-body exercises. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 16 (2), 173 178.
Wilson, G. J., Newton, R. U., Murphy, A. J., and Humphries, B. J. (1993). The optimal training load for the
development of dynamic athletic performance. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 25 (11), 1279 1286.
S. N. Pearson et al.254
Downloaded By: [Pearson, Simon N.] At: 09:35 22 September 2009
... Therefore, it is possible to deduce that the kayak means velocity is the consequence of the combined effects of the propulsion and the drag forces (Pendergast et al., 2005;Michael et al., 2009). In order to improve the propulsion phase useful to reduce the race time performance, the kayaker usually conditions the strength and power of upper limbs muscles through the prone bench pull (PBP) and bench press (BP) exercises (Akca and Muniroglu, 2008;García-Pallarés et al., 2009;Pearson et al., 2009;Burkett, 2010, 2014;Ualí et al., 2012;Hamano et al., 2015;Bielik et al., 2017;Bjerkefors et al., 2018;Winchcombe et al., 2019). Uali et al. (2012) reported that heavy resistance training performed in bilateral bent pull and one-arm cable row significantly correlated with the start phase of kayak sprint performances. ...
... In addition, Liow and Hopkins (2003), using both bench press and bilateral dumbbell prone lifts exercises, have shown that heavy resistance training seems to be more effective in conditioning the start phase (0-15 m) of kayak sprint performance while an explosive power training (low loads performed at high contraction velocity) could be more effective to maintain kayak velocity. However, it is necessary to consider that BP and PBP exercises present some distinctive biomechanical and neuromuscular features that make them antagonistic exercises to each other (Pearson et al., 2009;Sánchez-Medina et al., 2014). In this context, it should be more appropriate to consider these differences in specific strength and power conditioning and assessments in those sports disciplines that use upper limbs differently in pushing or pulling actions (Sánchez-Medina et al., 2014). ...
... According to these considerations, to increase the propulsive power produced by the paddler, it is necessary to condition in a dry-land environment, specific kinetic muscle chains and neuromuscular patterns using the power based-training method (Cronin et al., 2001). For that, it is essential to determine the powerload and velocity-load relationships, analyzed on bench exercises, monitoring the kinetic parameters with a dynamometer during an increasing loads test performance (Pearson et al., 2009;Sánchez-Medina et al., 2014;Sreckovic et al., 2015). Thus, this study aims to compare the power-load (p-l) and velocity-load (v-l) relationships expressed in BP and PBP exercises, verifying which of their dynamic parameters, 1RM and maximum power (P max ), is more correlated with the maximum velocity reached during flatwater kayak performance. ...
Full-text available
Several studies showed significant differences between bench lift exercises without investigating which is more related, in biomechanical and neuromuscular terms, to improve the sprint flatwater kayak performance. This study aims to compare the power-load and velocity-load neuromuscular parameters performed in prone bench pull (PBP), and bench press (BP) exercises to identify which of them meet the gesture specificity in sprint flatwater kayak performance. Ten elite kayakers participated in this study. Power-load, velocity-load relationships, the maximum dynamic strength, and the kayak sprint performance test were assessed. The power-load and velocity-load relationships showed significant differences between the PBP and BP for each considered load. The kayakers showed a significant correlation between maximum power performed on the PBP and the maximum velocity reached in the kayak sprint (r = 0.80, p < 0.01) and the stroke frequency (r = 0.61, p < 0.05). Conversely, the maximum power performed on the BP did not correlate with the kinematic parameters analyzed. In addition, the maximum dynamic strength in the PBP and BP did not correlate with the maximum velocity and stroke frequency. Furthermore, no significant difference was observed in both the bench exercises for the maximum dynamic strength ( p > 0.05). The results of this study suggest that the maximal muscular power expressed in PBP exercise only seems to be more specific in kayak velocity performance compared with maximal dynamic strength and with all dynamic parameters recorded in the BP. This will allow coaches and trainers to use specific bench exercises for specific neuromuscular kayakers’ adaptations during the whole competitive season.
... Informed by Newtonian physics and in-vivo research, landmine exercises are characterized by unique features including an angled bar path, variable resistance (7), and multiplanar resistance (7,83). These kinetic and kinematic characteristics make the landmine an appealing resistance training implement for the row, which has a variable strength curve (42,51,68). Landmine row variations are used to train unilateral and bilateral upper body pulling movements (1,44,62). ...
... (7) Rows have a descending strength curve. (42,51,68) That is, the athlete is capable of applying more force at the bottom position of the row than the top position due to interactions between movements of limb segments and the torque capacities of agonist muscles (35,42,43,68). At face value, it appears the descending variable resistance profile of the landmine is well-suited to the strength curve of rows. ...
... 1 It is also commonly used as a benchmark for evaluating upper body strength. 2 Over the last 30 years, a large body of research has investigated this exercise, mainly focusing on the kinematic variables, 3 muscle activation patterns, 4 muscle performance, 5 and neuromuscular adaptations. 6 A number of research studies have specifically analyzed the effect of training variables, 7,8 exercise variations (width grip, 9 bench inclination, 9,10 enhanced lumbar arch, 11 etc.) and modalities (isometric/dynamic, 12 with/without countermovement 13 or pre-load, 14 traditional/explosive/ballistic [15][16][17], as well as other conditions including instability, 18 fatigue, 19,20 and mental focus. ...
... where d C A is the distance of C A from S, and d C F is the distance of C F from E. At the beginning of the concentric phase of the movement, the upper limb position is determined by the corresponding ''initial'' values c A, 0 , c F, 0 , and u 0 of the angular parameters. It is assumed that the forearms are vertically aligned at the beginning of the lift as shown in equation (5) ...
A three-dimensional biomechanical model has been developed to understand and quantify the effect of the triceps brachii force during bench press exercises executed with different external loads, grip widths, and positions of the barbell relative to the shoulders at the beginning of the lift. The upper limbs, chest, and barbell were modeled as a closed three-dimensional articulated system. The elbow extension torque [Formula: see text] developed by the triceps brachii is transferred through the links of the closed chain, yielding a shoulder transverse-flexion torque [Formula: see text], shoulder adduction torque [Formula: see text], and shoulder internal-rotation torque [Formula: see text] proportional to [Formula: see text]. The proportionality factors [Formula: see text], [Formula: see text], and [Formula: see text] are independent of the load and displayed a considerable change during the lift: [Formula: see text] increased from 0.5 to 2, while [Formula: see text] and [Formula: see text] decreased progressively to zero, with a value at the beginning of the lift between 0.5 and 1 depending on the starting barbell position and grip width. Overall, [Formula: see text] considerably decreased the demand for shoulder transverse-flexion and adduction muscle-torque, slightly increased the demand for shoulder abduction muscle-torque in the final phase of the lift, and induced a shoulder internal-rotation torque that should be equilibrated by an opposite torque developed by the shoulder external rotators. With the results of this study, sport practitioners can manage the variants and kinematics of the bench press exercise to modulate the effect of the triceps brachii force on the mechanical output during different phases of the lift and planes of movement.
... Zink et al. 16 discovered the peak power in squat exercise increased at loads ranging from 20-40% of 1RM, decreased at loads 40-80% of 1RM and showed a second increase at 90% of the 1RM. Furthermore, Pearson et al. 17 stated that the mean power value increased between 10 and 50% of 1RM in BP exercises, increased between 10 and 80% of 1RM in bench pull exercises and gradually decreased. In their research Izquierdo et al. 18,19 discovered handball players and middle-distance runners produced maximal power output in squats at 60% of 1RM, while weightlifters and cyclists reached it at 45%. ...
Full-text available
Aim: The purpose of this study was to compare optimal training load which maximizes power output in both lower and upper body exercises for athletes competing in different sports. Methods: To achieve this, a total of sixty athletes from different sports (football, handball, arm-wrestling, volleyball, wrestling, and martial arts) volunteered for the study. To determine the lower and upper body strength characteristics, bench press (BP) and full squat (SQFull) exercises were performed in the research. To determine the mean propulsive power (MPP), the participants executed bench throw (BT) and loaded-squat jump (SJLoad) exercises using an external load corresponding to 30% and 40% of their body weight respectively for the upper body the lower body (10% increments until reaching the maximal power value) via an isoinertial velocity transducer ( T-Force dynamic measurement system). One-way analysis of variance, test of significance between two means, and correlation analysis were used in the study. Results: The results showed there was a statistically significant difference according to different sports in terms of maximal power value and optimal training load for the MPP parameter in both SJLoad and BT exercises. Conclusion: Consequently, it can be claimed that the optimal load value for maximal power output in exercises include shows dissimilarity according to different sports, and individuals need to perform their training by using the load value capable of maximizing their power output. Keywords: Power, optimal load, exercise
... latissimus dorsi is a prime mover and contracts concentrically to extend and internally rotate the shoulder joint during the bench pull exercise (27) and during the pull phases in kayaking (4,14,30) and canoeing (23). The m. triceps brachii contract concentrically to extend the elbow joint during the bench press exercise (16,22) and during the final part of the pull phase in both kayaking and canoeing (14,23). Note that studies of kayak and canoe biomechanics were mainly performed on an ergometer and muscle function may differ between ergometer and on-water testing (4). ...
Gäbler, M, Prieske, O, Elferink-Gemser, MT, Hortobágyi, T, Warnke, T, and Granacher, U. Measures of physical fitness improve prediction of kayak and canoe sprint performance in young kayakers and canoeists. J Strength Cond Res XX(X): 000-000, 2021-Markers of talent selection and predictors of performance in canoe and kayak sprint are not yet well defined. We aimed to determine the combination of variables (i.e., demographic, anthropometric, and physical fitness) that most accurately predicts sprint performance (i.e., 500- and 2000-m race time) in semielite, young kayakers and canoeists (n = 39, age 13 year, 10F). The level of significance was set at p < 0.05. Linear regression analyses identified boat type (i.e., kayak or canoe), skeletal muscle mass, and average power during a 2-minute bench pull test, normalized to body mass, as predictors of 2000-m race time (R22000 m = 0.69, Akaike information criterion [AIC] = 425) and together with vertical jump height, as predictors of 500-m race time (R2500 m = 0.87, AIC = 255). This was an improvement over models containing solely demographic variables (R2500 m = 0.66, AIC = 293; R22000 m = 0.44, AIC = 446) and over models containing demographic and anthropometric variables (R2500m = 0.79, AIC = 277; R22000 m = 0.56, AIC = 437). Race time showed the strongest semipartial correlations with the 2-minute bench pull test (0.7 ≤ r ≤ 0.9). Adding physical fitness data (i.e., 2-minute bench pull test) to demographic and anthropometric data improves the prediction accuracy of race times in young kayak and canoe athletes. The characteristics of physical fitness tests should resemble as much as possible the biomechanical (e.g., prime movers) and metabolic (e.g., duration) demands of the sport.
... In this scenario, bench press (PR) and prone bench pull (PU) represent two of the most common exercises for both training and testing purposes among athletes competing in water disciplines [2,12]. Different typical strength and power expressions have been identified in PR compared to PU, with the first producing greater maximal forces and the latter resulting in greater speed and power [6,13]. In addition, push and pull exercises have been used to calculate strength ratios between anterior and posterior shoulder muscle groups. ...
Full-text available
The aim of the present study was to compare the load-power curve expressed at bench press (PR) and prone bench pull (PU) between elite swimmers and kayakers. Another aim was to calculate the strength and power PR/PU ratio in the same populations. Fifteen elite swimmers (SW: age = 23.8 ± 2.9 y; body mass = 82.8 ± 5.6 kg; body height = 184.1 ± 4.6 cm) and 13 elite kayakers (KA: age = 23.8 ± 2.9 y; body mass = 91.0 ± 3.5 kg; body height = 180.1 ± 5.4 cm) were assessed for PR 1RM and PU 1RM. They were then assessed for power produced at 40, 60 and 80% of 1RM in both PR and PU. The area under the load-power curve (AUC) and PR/PU ratios were calculated for both the SW and KA groups. The KA group showed significantly higher PR1RM (+18.2%; p = 0.002) and PU1RM (+25.7%; p < 0.001) compared to the SW group. Significant group differences were also detected for PUAUC (p < 0.001) and for the PR/PU power ratio (p < 0.001). No significant group differences were detected for PRAUC (p = 0.605) and for the PR/PU strength ratio (p = 0.065; 0.87 and 0.82 in SW and KA, respectively). The present findings indicate that elite KA were stronger and more powerful than elite SW in the upper body. Not consistently with other athletic populations, both KA and SW athletes were stronger and more powerful in upper body pull compared to push moves.
... Horizontal pull force was assessed using a one-repetition maximum of a Bench Pull exercise. 18 ...
Objectives Examine the risk factors for dominant shoulder injury in elite female cricketers during the 2017‐2018 season. Design Prospective cohort study. Setting Australian women’s national cricket league. Participants A total of 115 elite female cricketers were included with a mean (SD) age of 26.0 (4.4) years. Main Outcome Measures Univariate and multivariate logistic regression determined the relationship between physical performance and musculoskeletal screening tests and dominant shoulder injury. Results Fourteen players developed dominant shoulder injuries (12%) throughout the season. No demographic or physical performance tests were risk factors. Univariate analysis revealed shoulder IR:ER strength ratio (OR=1.84, p=0.01), back foot hip abduction strength (OR=0.973, p=0.049) and back foot hip adduction: abduction strength ratio (OR=1.44, p=0.047) were significantly associated with injury. Only shoulder IR:ER strength ratio remained significant (p=0.016) in the multivariate logistic regression model with a 79% increased risk of shoulder injury for every 0.1 ratio increase. Conclusion This study identified that within elite female cricketers, a shoulder IR:ER strength ratio >1.00 is the strongest risk factor for developing shoulder injury. Therefore, injury risk reduction programs in elite female cricketers should focus on keeping the shoulder IR: ER strength ratio closer to 1:1 to minimise shoulder injury burden.
BACKGROUND: Law enforcement recruits (LER) often encounter shoulder injuries, which may cause attrition from academies. Investigating required upper body muscular fitness may inform of muscular balance around shoulder joints through anterior and posterior ratios in LER. OBJECTIVE: To investigate push to pull ratios (P2P) and factors related with P2P in LER. METHODS: LER (95 males; 12 females) completed testing during a single session in the academy’s first week: body mass, one-repetition maximum (1RM) bench press, push-up repetitions (reps) to failure, and pull-up reps to failure. Calculations were: estimated pull-up 1-RM = body mass + 0.033*(body mass x pull-ups); endurance P2P (eP2P) = push-ups / pull-ups; strength P2P (sP2P) = bench press 1RM / estimated pull-up 1-RM. Pearson correlation coefficients assessed relationships among tests and P2P (p<0.05). RESULTS: The sP2P was positively correlated with bench press 1-RM and push-ups. The eP2P was negatively associated with pull-up reps and 1-RM. Females had similar eP2P, but lower sP2P than male recruits (p < 0.05). CONCLUSION: Practitioners may benefit from examining eP2P and sP2P as they should not be used interchangeably. Future research should examine whether the P2P ratios are associated with injury and subsequent inability to successfully complete law enforcement training academies.
Full-text available
Shoulder joint injuries are common for professional firefighters. A potential cause of shoulder injury is an imbalance between anterior (‘push’) and posterior (‘pull’) shoulder joint musculature. Understanding what contributes to these imbalances may help to identify areas needing improvement. The purpose of this study was to investigate different push to pull (P2P) ratios and the relationships among common upper body fitness assessments, body composition, and push to pull (P2P) ratios in firefighters. Thirty-three professional firefighters completed the following testing protocol: one-repetition maximum (1RM) bench press, pull-up repetitions to failure, push-up repetitions to failure, and a body composition assessment. The endurance P2P (eP2P) was computed by dividing the number of push-up by pull-up repetitions, while strength P2P (sP2P) was the relative 1RM divided by pull-up repetitions. Bivariate relationships among variables were assessed with correlation coefficients and linear regression assessed association between eP2P and sP2P (p ≤ 0.05). The sP2P and eP2P were not associated (R2 = 0.032, p = 0.99). Strength P2P was related with bench press 1RM (r=0.80) and push-ups (r=0.40). Endurance P2P was related with pull-up repetitions (r=-0.62), body fat percentage (r=0.40), and fat mass index (r=0.34). The results of the present study suggest sP2P and eP2P ratios should not be used interchangeably. To improve sP2P and eP2P for firefighters, it is recommended to improve the strength of anterior and posterior upper body musculature, respectively, and reduce total body fat mass. Available at:
Full-text available
This study examined the relative effectiveness of two leading forms of athletic training in enhancing dynamic performance in various tests. Thirty-three men who participated in various regional level sports, but who had not previously performed resistance training, were randomly assigned to either a maximal power training program, a combined weight and plyometric program, or a nontraining control group. The maximal power group performed weighted jump squats and bench press throws using a load that maximized the power output of the exercise. The combined group underwent traditional heavy weight training in the form of squats, and bench press and plyometric training in the form of depth jumps and medicine ball throws. The training consisted of 2 sessions a week for 8 weeks. Both training groups were equally effective in enhancing a variety of performance measures such as jumping, cycling, throwing, and lifting. (C) 1996 National Strength and Conditioning Association
Displacement-based measurement systems are becoming increasingly popular for assessment of force expression variables during resistance exercise. Typically a linear position transducer (LPT) is attached to the barbell to measure displacement and a double differentiation technique is used to determine acceleration. Force is calculated as the product of mass and acceleration. Despite the apparent utility of these devices, validity data are scarce. To determine whether LPT can accurately estimate vertical ground reaction forces, two men and four women with moderate to extensive resistance training experience performed concentric-only (CJS) and rebound (RJS) jump squats, two sessions of each type in random order. CJS or RJS were performed with 30%, 50%, and 70% one-repetition maximum parallel back squat 5 minutes following a warm-up and again after a 10-min rest. Displacement was measured via LPT and acceleration was calculated using the finite-difference technique. Force was estimated from the weight of the lifter-barbell system and propulsion force from the lifter-barbell system. Vertical ground reaction force was directly measured with a single-component force platform. Two-way random average-measure intraclass correlations (ICC) were used to assess the reliability of obtained measures and compare the measurements obtained via each method. High reliability (ICC > 0.70) was found for all CJS variables across the load-spectrum. RJS variables also had high ICC except for time parameters for early force production. All variables were significantly (p < 0.01) related between LPT and force platform methods with no indication of systematic bias. The LPT appears to be a valid method of assessing force under these experimental conditions.
Athletic strength and power refer to the forces or torques generated during sporting activity. Their assessment can be used for strength diagnosis or talent identification, to monitor the effects of training interventions and to estimate the relative significance of strength and power to particular athletic pursuits. However, strength and power assessment is a difficult task. Reasons for this include: the fledgling status of research within the area, our limited understanding of the mechanisms underpinning strength and power performance and development, and limitations associated with various forms of dynamometry. This article describes a frame work for the collection of data which may ultimately lead to recommendations for the assessment of strength and power in sporting contexts. Such a framework will be evolutionary and depends upon synergistic improvements in our understanding of: the physiological mechanisms underpinning strength and power development; the effect that various training regimens have upon the development of strength and power; and factors influencing the validity and reliability of dynamometry. Currently, isometric, isoinertial and isokinetic dynamometry are employed in assessment. Each form has its supporters and detractors. Basically, proponents and critics of isokinetic and isometric dynamometry emphasise their apparently high external and apparently low internal validity respectively. While the converse applies for isoinertial dynamometry. It appears that all 3 modalities can have acceptable reliability, however this should be established rather than assumed, as the reliability of each can be threatened by a number of considerations (e.g. instruction for isometric tasks, the impact of weight used during weighted jumping tasks, and the effects of gravity and feedback on isokinetic performance). While reliability is a seminal issue in assessment, it is not the only critical issue. Specifically, there has been little research into the correlation between strength and power measures and athletic performance. This work is central to the use of such indices in talent identification. To date, this work has generally been limited to heterogeneous rather than homogeneous groups. More work is required in this area. Furthermore, not all modes of assessment are sensitive or similarly sensitive to various training interventions. This suggests that these modalities are measuring different neuromuscular qualities. How these qualities relate to performance requires more work, and will determine the contexts in which various strength and power assessment modalities and protocols are used. Following are conclusions from the review: (i) it is unlikely that one assessment procedure can be used for a multitude of ends (e.g. talent identification and monitoring the effects of training); (ii) different levels of athlete ability within a given sport may require different assessment regimens; (iii) minor changes in procedure may alter the usefulness of a procedure and (iv) we must be prepared to question assumptions pervading the field which are based upon anecdotal evidence. There are limitations with, and should be delimitations in the use of the various protocols and forms of dynamometry.
This study was done to determine the kinematic and kinetic relationships between the squatting vertical jump and the Olympic hang snatch lift. Kinematic data were analyzed via the Peak 3-D system; kinetic data were analyzed via the AMTI force plate system. Two genlocked video cameras recorded performance. The subjects were 7 male varsity athletes from an NCAA Div. I school. Ground reaction force data of the lower extremities and angular displacements of the left hip, knee, and ankle joints were collected. The moments of power and force and the angular displacements were analyzed. Results revealed similar kinetic features between the squatting vertical jump and the hang snatch lift during the propulsive phase. However, angular displacements of the left hip, knee, and ankle were statistically dissimilar between both exercises during the propulsive phase. On the basis of the similar kinetic features, Olympic-style lifting may be beneficial in improving power. (C) 1996 National Strength and Conditioning Association