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Are Acute Effects of Maximal Dynamic Contractions on Upper-Body Ballistic Performance Load Specific?

Markovic, Goran1; Simek, Sanja1; Bradic, Asim2

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: November 2008 - Volume 22 - Issue 6 - pp 1811-1815
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e318182227e
Original Research

Markovic, G, Simek, S, and Bradic, A. Are acute effects of maximal dynamic contractions on upper-body ballistic performance load specific? J Strength Cond Res 22(6): 1811-1815, 2008-This study investigated the acute effects of upper-body maximal dynamic contractions on maximal throwing speed with 0.55- and 4-kg medicine balls. It was hypothesized that heavy preloading would transiently improve throwing performance only when overcoming the heavier of the two loads. Twenty-three male volunteers were randomly allocated into experimental (n = 11) and control (n = 12) groups. Both groups performed initial and final seated medicine ball throws from the chest, and the maximal medicine ball speed was measured by means of a radar gun. Between the two measurements, the control group rested passively for 15 minutes, and the experimental group performed three sets of three-repetition maximum bench presses. For the 0.55-kg load, a 2 × 2 repeated-measures analysis of variance revealed no significant effect of time × group interaction (p = 0.22), as well as no significant time (p = 0.22) or group (p = 0.72) effects. In contrast, for the 4-kg load, a significant time × group interaction (p = 0.004) and a significant time (p = 0.035) but not group (p = 0.77) effect were observed. Analysis of simple main effects revealed that the experimental group significantly (8.3%; p < 0.01) improved maximal throwing speed with the 4-kg load. These results support our research hypothesis and suggest that the acute effects of heavy preloading on upper-body ballistic performance might be load specific. In a practical sense, our findings suggest that the use of upper-body heavy resistance exercise before ballistic throwing movements against moderate external loads might be an efficient training strategy for improving an athlete's upper-body explosive performance.

1School of Kinesiology, University of Zagreb, Croatia; and 2School of Sport and Physical Education, University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Address correspondence to Goran Markovic,

© 2008 National Strength and Conditioning Association