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Lower-Body Work Capacity and One-Repetition Maximum Squat Prediction in College Football Players

Brechue, William F1; Mayhew, Jerry L2,3

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: February 2012 - Volume 26 - Issue 2 - pp 364-372
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e318225eee3
Original Research

Brechue, WF and Mayhew, JL. Lower-body work capacity and 1RM squat prediction in college football players. J Strength Cond Res 26(2): 364–372, 2012—The purpose of this study was to assess lower-body muscular strength and work capacity after off-season resistance training and the efficacy of predicting maximal squat strength (1 repetition maximum [1RM]) from repetitions to fatigue. National Collegiate Athletic Association Division-II football players (n = 58) were divided into low-strength (LS, 1RM < 365 lb, n = 32) and high-strength (HS, 1RM ≥ 365 lb, n = 26) groups before training based on median 1RM squat performance. Maximal repetitions to failure (RTFs) were performed with a relative load of 70% of 1RM before training and 60, 70, 80, and 90% of 1RM after 12 weeks of a linear periodization resistance training program. As a team, 1RM squat (32 ± 27 lb), 70% RTF (4.5 ± 4.5 reps), and work capacity at 70% 1RM load (1,482 ± 1,181 lb reps) increased significantly after training. Likewise, training resulted in significant increases in 1RM, RTF at 70% 1RM, and work capacity (load × reps) in both LS (8 ± 33 lb, 3.9 ± 4.7 reps, 1,736 ± 1,521 lb reps, respectively) and HS (27 ± 21 lb, 4.9 ± 4.4 reps, 2,387 ± 1,767 lb reps, respectively), with no significant difference between groups. There was no relationship between the change in work capacity and the change in muscular strength for either the LS (r = 0.02) or HS (r = 0.06) group. Predicted 1RMs were best when RTFs were performed using 80% 1RM (5–17 RTFs), with an error of ±5% in 95% of the subjects. In conclusion, the changes in muscular strength associated with an off-season training program appear to have a positive influence on squat work capacity at 70% of 1RM and allow favorable prediction of 1RM using submaximal loads.

1Department of Physical Education, Center for Physical Development Excellence, United States Military Academy, West Point, New York; 2Human Performance Laboratory, Truman State University, Kirksville, Missouri; and 3Department of Physiology, A. T. Still University of Health Sciences, Kirksville, Missouri

Address correspondence to Dr. William F. Brechue,

© 2012 National Strength and Conditioning Association