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A Comparison of Maximal Squat Strength and 5-, 10-, and 20-Meter Sprint Times, in Athletes and Recreationally Trained Men

Comfort, Paul; Bullock, Nathan; Pearson, Stephen J.

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: April 2012 - Volume 26 - Issue 4 - p 937–940
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31822e5889
Original Research

Abstract: Comfort, P, Bullock, N, and Pearson, SJ. A comparison of maximal squat strength and 5-, 10-, and 20-meter sprint times, in athletes and recreationally trained men. J Strength Cond Res 26(4): 937–940, 2012—The purpose of this study was to identify whether there was a relationship between relative strength during a 1 repetition maximum (1RM) back squat and 5-, 10-, and 20-m sprint performances in both trained athletes and recreationally trained individuals. Professional rugby league players (n = 24) and recreationally trained individuals (n = 20) participated in this investigation. Twenty-meter sprint time and 1RM back squat strength, using free weights, were assessed on different days. There were no significant (p ≥ 0.05) differences between the well-trained and recreationally trained groups for 5-m sprint times. In contrast, the well-trained group's 10- and 20-m sprint times were significantly quicker (p = 0.004; p = 0.002) (1.78 + 0.06 seconds; 3.03 + 0.09 seconds) compared with the recreationally trained group (1.84 + 0.07 seconds; 3.13 + 0.11 seconds). The athletes were significantly stronger (170.63 + 21.43 kg) than the recreationally trained individuals (135.45 + 30.07 kg) (p = 0.01); however, there were no significant differences (p > 0.05) in relative strength between groups (1.78 + 0.27 kg/kg; 1.78 + 0.33 kg/kg, respectively). Significant negative correlations were found between 5-m sprint time and relative squat strength (r = −0.613, power = 0.96, p = 0.004) and between relative squat strength and 10- and 20-m sprint times in the recreationally trained group (r = −0.621, power = 0.51, p = 0.003; r = −0.604, power = 0.53, p = 0.005, respectively). These results, indicating that relative strength, are important for initial sprint acceleration in all athletes but more strongly related to sprint performance over greater distances in recreationally trained individuals.

1Directorate of Sport, Exercise and Physiotherapy, University of Salford, Greater Manchester, United Kingdom

2Manchester City Football Club (Academy), Platt Lane, Greater Manchester, United Kingdom

Address correspondence to Paul Comfort,

Copyright © 2012 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.