Hrysomallis, C. Upper-body strength and power changes during a football season. J Strength Cond Res 24(2): 557-559, 2010-There are different football codes played around the world, and most of them involve contact and collision during competition. Upper-body strength and power are important for success in American football, rugby league, rugby union, and Australian football. The goal of the preseason conditioning program is usually to maximize muscular fitness before the competitive season. The in-season program is usually intended to maintain the preseason gains, but it is unclear as to whether the preseason levels of upper-body strength and power can be maintained or even increased during the in-season. The aims of this review were to investigate and identify any general trends in the training programs and results of football studies that have monitored levels of upper-body strength and power preseason, in-season, or postseason. Six studies were identified: 4 involved American college football and the other 2 involved rugby codes and included professional athletes. For most studies, resistance training was conducted 4 times per week preseason and reduced to 2 times per week in-season. The bench press exercise was used as the measure of upper-body strength, and only one of the rugby studies measured upper-body power and used bench press throws. It was found that upper-body strength or power could be maintained or even increased past the mid-season point, but this may be dependent on age, football code, and level of play. At the end of the season, decreases were starting to be reported but only for 2 studies. Surprisingly, an increase in strength was reported postseason for college rugby league players. From the available information, it seems that an in-season periodized program that includes high-intensity resistance training may optimize strength and power ability during the in-season, but more research is required that compares the effectiveness of conditioning programs with varying combinations of training variables.
Centre for Ageing, Rehabilitation, Exercise and Sport, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia
Address correspondence to Con Hrysomallis, firstname.lastname@example.org.