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Barbell Kinematics Should Not Be Used to Estimate Power Output Applied to the Barbell-and-Body System Center of Mass During Lower-Body Resistance Exercise

Lake, Jason P.; Lauder, Mike A.; Smith, Neal A.

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research:
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31822e7b48
Original Research

Abstract: Lake, JP, Lauder, MA, and Smith, NA. Barbell kinematics should not be used to estimate power output applied to the barbell-and-body system center of mass during lower-body resistance exercise. J Strength Cond Res 26(5): 1302–1307, 2012—The aim of this study was to compare measures of power output applied to the center of mass of the barbell and body system (CM) obtained by multiplying ground reaction force (GRF) by (a) the velocity of the barbell; (b) the velocity of the CM derived from three-dimensional (3D) whole-body motion analysis, and (c) the velocity of the CM derived from GRF during lower-body resistance exercise. Ten resistance-trained men performed 3 maximal-effort single back squats with 60% 1 repetition maximum while GRF and whole-body motion were captured using synchronized Kistler force platforms and a Vicon Motus motion analysis system. Repeated measures analysis of variance of time-normalized kinematic and kinetic data obtained using the different methods showed that the barbell was displaced 13.4% (p < 0.05) more than the CM, the velocity of the barbell was 16.1% (p < 0.05) greater than the velocity of the CM, and power applied to the CM obtained by multiplying GRF by the velocity of the barbell was 18.7% (p < 0.05) greater than power applied to the CM obtained by multiplying the force applied to the CM by its resultant velocity. Further, the velocity of the barbell was significantly greater than the velocity of the trunk, upper leg, lower leg, and foot (p < 0.05), indicating that a failure to consider the kinematics of body segments during lower-body resistance exercise can lead to a significant overestimation of power applied to the CM. Strength and conditioning coaches and investigators are urged to obtain measures of power from the force applied to and the velocity of either the barbell (using inverse dynamics) or CM (GRF or 3D motion analysis). Failure to apply these suggestions could result in continued overestimation of CM power, compromising methodological integrity.

Author Information

Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Chichester, Chichester, United Kingdom

Address correspondence to Jason P. Lake,

© 2012 National Strength and Conditioning Association