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The Effects of Combined Ballistic and Heavy Resistance Training on Maximal Lower- and Upper-Body Strength in Recreationally Trained Men

Mangine, Gerald T; Ratamess, Nicholas A; Hoffman, Jay R; Faigenbaum, Avery D; Kang, Jie; Chilakos, Aristomen

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: January 2008 - Volume 22 - Issue 1 - pp 132-139
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31815f5729
Original Research

The purpose of the present study was to investigate the additive effects of ballistic training to a traditional heavy resistance training program on upper- and lower-body maximal strength. Seventeen resistance-trained men were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 groups: (i) a combined ballistic and heavy resistance training group (COM; age = 21.4 ± 1.7 years, body mass = 82.7 ± 15.1 kg) or (ii) a heavy resistance training group (HR; age = 20.1 ± 1.2 years, body mass = 81.0 ± 9.2 kg) and subsequently participated in an 8-week periodized training program. Training was performed 3 days per week, that is, 6-8 exercises per workout (6-8 traditional exercises for HR; 4-6 traditional + 2 ballistic exercises in COM) for 3-8 repetitions. A significant increase in 1-repetition maximum (1RM) squat was shown in both groups (COM = 15.2%; HR = 17.3%) with no difference observed between groups. However, 1RM bench press increased to a significantly greater extent (P = 0.04) in COM than HR (11.6% vs. 7.1%, respectively). For peak power attained during the jump squat, an interaction (P = 0.02) was observed where the 5.4% increase in COM and -3.2% reduction in HR were statistically significant. Nonsignificant increases were observed in peak plyometric push-up power in COM (8.5%) and HR (3.4%). Lean body mass increased significantly in both groups, with no between-group differences observed. The results of this study support the inclusion of ballistic exercises into a heavy resistance training program for increasing 1RM bench press and enhancing lower-body power.

Department of Health and Exercise Science, The College of New Jersey, Ewing, New Jersey

Address correspondence to Nicholas A. Ratamess,

© 2008 National Strength and Conditioning Association