Association between upper and lower body strength as indices of speed
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between upper and lower body measures of strength using back squat, front squat and bench press, with sprint speed over 40 metres, which was broken down into 3 phases being, 5 metres (first step quickness), 10 metres (acceleration) and 40 metres (maximal speed attainment). 15 male athletes from a variety of sports, with least 2 years of resistance training experience participated in the study. To assess maximal voluntary strength 1 repetition maximum (1RM) tests were used on a free weight bar for all three strength exercises, with a good lift only being given if correct form and depth were achieved. Sprint speed was assessed through a maximal 40 metre stationary start sprint, with split times being taken at 5, 10 and 40 metres to measure the three different phases of sprinting, being first step quickness, acceleration and maintenance of maximal velocity respectively. Correlations between sprint distances at 5 and 10 metre (r=0.81) and 10 and 40 metres (r=0.73) indicate that between these distances similar physiological systems are being used. Strength exercises also showed results indicating similar physiological system usage (r=0.56-0.88), both correlations between speed indices and strength scores were all at a high level of significance. Correlations observed between strength and speed measures showed weak, non significant relationships (r= 0.03-0.54), when strength was expressed in relative and absolute terms, with absolute bench press and 40 metres showing the only significant relationship (r=0.54) between strength exercises and sprint speed intervals. Subjects with lower bench press in this case actually achieved quicker sprint speed times over 40 metres. The use of predictive equations from the study was difficult due to the weak relationships between strength and speed, which indicates factors other than strength are important for sprinting which effect athlete’s ability to transfer strength into force production to the ground. From this it is advised that further research be undertaken into different physiological aspects of strength.
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