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      The Importance of Muscular Strength in Athletic Performance

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      Sports Medicine

      Springer Nature

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          Increased rate of force development and neural drive of human skeletal muscle following resistance training.

          The maximal rate of rise in muscle force [rate of force development (RFD)] has important functional consequences as it determines the force that can be generated in the early phase of muscle contraction (0-200 ms). The present study examined the effect of resistance training on contractile RFD and efferent motor outflow ("neural drive") during maximal muscle contraction. Contractile RFD (slope of force-time curve), impulse (time-integrated force), electromyography (EMG) signal amplitude (mean average voltage), and rate of EMG rise (slope of EMG-time curve) were determined (1-kHz sampling rate) during maximal isometric muscle contraction (quadriceps femoris) in 15 male subjects before and after 14 wk of heavy-resistance strength training (38 sessions). Maximal isometric muscle strength [maximal voluntary contraction (MVC)] increased from 291.1 +/- 9.8 to 339.0 +/- 10.2 N. m after training. Contractile RFD determined within time intervals of 30, 50, 100, and 200 ms relative to onset of contraction increased from 1,601 +/- 117 to 2,020 +/- 119 (P < 0.05), 1,802 +/- 121 to 2,201 +/- 106 (P < 0.01), 1,543 +/- 83 to 1,806 +/- 69 (P < 0.01), and 1,141 +/- 45 to 1,363 +/- 44 N. m. s(-1) (P < 0.01), respectively. Corresponding increases were observed in contractile impulse (P < 0.01-0.05). When normalized relative to MVC, contractile RFD increased 15% after training (at zero to one-sixth MVC; P < 0.05). Furthermore, muscle EMG increased (P < 0.01-0.05) 22-143% (mean average voltage) and 41-106% (rate of EMG rise) in the early contraction phase (0-200 ms). In conclusion, increases in explosive muscle strength (contractile RFD and impulse) were observed after heavy-resistance strength training. These findings could be explained by an enhanced neural drive, as evidenced by marked increases in EMG signal amplitude and rate of EMG rise in the early phase of muscle contraction.
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            Muscular adaptations in response to three different resistance-training regimens: specificity of repetition maximum training zones.

            Thirty-two untrained men [mean (SD) age 22.5 (5.8) years, height 178.3 (7.2) cm, body mass 77.8 (11.9) kg] participated in an 8-week progressive resistance-training program to investigate the "strength-endurance continuum". Subjects were divided into four groups: a low repetition group (Low Rep, n = 9) performing 3-5 repetitions maximum (RM) for four sets of each exercise with 3 min rest between sets and exercises, an intermediate repetition group (Int Rep, n = 11) performing 9-11 RM for three sets with 2 min rest, a high repetition group (High Rep, n = 7) performing 20-28 RM for two sets with 1 min rest, and a non-exercising control group (Con, n = 5). Three exercises (leg press, squat, and knee extension) were performed 2 days/week for the first 4 weeks and 3 days/week for the final 4 weeks. Maximal strength [one repetition maximum, 1RM), local muscular endurance (maximal number of repetitions performed with 60% of 1RM), and various cardiorespiratory parameters (e.g., maximum oxygen consumption, pulmonary ventilation, maximal aerobic power, time to exhaustion) were assessed at the beginning and end of the study. In addition, pre- and post-training muscle biopsy samples were analyzed for fiber-type composition, cross-sectional area, myosin heavy chain (MHC) content, and capillarization. Maximal strength improved significantly more for the Low Rep group compared to the other training groups, and the maximal number of repetitions at 60% 1RM improved the most for the High Rep group. In addition, maximal aerobic power and time to exhaustion significantly increased at the end of the study for only the High Rep group. All three major fiber types (types I, IIA, and IIB) hypertrophied for the Low Rep and Int Rep groups, whereas no significant increases were demonstrated for either the High Rep or Con groups. However, the percentage of type IIB fibers decreased, with a concomitant increase in IIAB fibers for all three resistance-trained groups. These fiber-type conversions were supported by a significant decrease in MHCIIb accompanied by a significant increase in MHCIIa. No significant changes in fiber-type composition were found in the control samples. Although all three training regimens resulted in similar fiber-type transformations (IIB to IIA), the low to intermediate repetition resistance-training programs induced a greater hypertrophic effect compared to the high repetition regimen. The High Rep group, however, appeared better adapted for submaximal, prolonged contractions, with significant increases after training in aerobic power and time to exhaustion. Thus, low and intermediate RM training appears to induce similar muscular adaptations, at least after short-term training in previously untrained subjects. Overall, however, these data demonstrate that both physical performance and the associated physiological adaptations are linked to the intensity and number of repetitions performed, and thus lend support to the "strength-endurance continuum".
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              Strong correlation of maximal squat strength with sprint performance and vertical jump height in elite soccer players.

              A high level of strength is inherent in elite soccer play, but the relation between maximal strength and sprint and jumping performance has not been studied thoroughly. To determine whether maximal strength correlates with sprint and vertical jump height in elite male soccer players. Seventeen international male soccer players (mean (SD) age 25.8 (2.9) years, height 177.3 (4.1) cm, weight 76.5 (7.6) kg, and maximal oxygen uptake 65.7 (4.3) ml/kg/min) were tested for maximal strength in half squats and sprinting ability (0-30 m and 10 m shuttle run sprint) and vertical jumping height. There was a strong correlation between maximal strength in half squats and sprint performance and jumping height. Maximal strength in half squats determines sprint performance and jumping height in high level soccer players. High squat strength did not imply reduced maximal oxygen consumption. Elite soccer players should focus on maximal strength training, with emphasis on maximal mobilisation of concentric movements, which may improve their sprinting and jumping performance.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Sports Medicine
                Sports Med
                Springer Nature
                0112-1642
                1179-2035
                October 2016
                February 2016
                : 46
                : 10
                : 1419-1449
                Article
                10.1007/s40279-016-0486-0
                413802a5-c0ca-497e-93ba-a82ed6b6760f
                © 2016

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