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The Seated Medicine Ball Throw as a Test of Upper Body Power in Older Adults

Harris, Chad1; Wattles, Andrew P2; DeBeliso, Mark3; Sevene-Adams, Patricia G3; Berning, Joseph M4; Adams, Kent J3

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research:
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181ecd27b
Short Research Report

Harris, C, Wattles, AP, DeBeliso, M, Sevene-Adams, PG, Berning, JM, and Adams, KJ. The seated medicine ball throw as a test of upper body power in older adults. J Strength Cond Res 25(8): 2344-2348, 2011—Practitioners training the older adult may benefit from a low-cost, easy-to-administer field test of upper body power. This study evaluated validity and reliability of the seated medicine ball throw (SMBT) in older adults. Subjects (n = 33; age 72.4 ± 5.2 years) completed 6 trials of an SMBT in each of 2 testing days and 2 ball masses (1.5 and 3.0 kg). Subjects also completed 6 trials of an explosive push-up (EPU) on a force plate over 2 testing days. Validity was assessed via a Pearson Product-Moment correlation (PPM) between SMBT and EPU maximal vertical force. Reliability of the SMBT was determined using PPMs (r), Intraclass correlation (ICC, R) and Bland-Altman plots (BAPs). For validity, the association between the SMBT and the EPU revealed a PPM of r = 0.641 and r = 0.614 for the 1.5- and 3.0-kg medicine balls, respectively. Test-retest reliability of the 1.5- and 3.0-kg SMBT was r = 0.967 and r = 0.958, respectively. The ICC values of the 1.5- and 3.0-kg SMBT were R = 0.994 and 0.989, respectively. The BAPs revealed 94% of the differences between day 1 and 2 scores were within the 95% confidence interval of the mean difference. Test-retest reliability for the EPU was r = 0.944, R = 0.969. The BAPs showed 94% of the differences between day 1 and 2 scores were within the 95% confidence interval of the mean difference, for both medicine ball throws. In conclusion, for the older adult, the SMBT appears to be highly reliable test of upper body power. Its validity relative to the maximal force exerted during the EPU is modest. The SMBT is an inexpensive, safe, and repeatable measure of upper body power for the older adult.

Author Information

1School of Allied Health, Exercise Science Laboratory, Western New Mexico University, Silver City, New Mexico; 2Kinesiology Department, Boise State University, Boise, Idaho; 3Kinesiology Department, California State University Monterey Bay, Seaside, California; and 4Department of Human Performance, Dance and Recreation, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico

Address correspondence to Dr. Chad Harris,

© 2011 National Strength and Conditioning Association