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Combining Elastic Tension With Free Weight Resistance Training: 963 Board #185 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM

Anderson, Corey E.1; Sforzo, Gary A. FACSM2; Sigg, John A.2

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2005 - Volume 37 - Issue 5 - p S186
C-32: Free Communication/Poster – Strength Training/Testing: THURSDAY, JUNE 2, 2005 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM, ROOM: Ryman C2

1Brigham Young University, Provo, UT

2Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY.

(Sponsor: Dr. Gary Sforzo, FACSM)


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This study was undertaken to determine if combined elastic and free weight resistance (CR) training provides different strength and power adaptations than free weight (FW) training alone.

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Forty-four young (20 ± 1 yrs), resistance trained (4 ± 2 yrs experience) subjects, 22 males and 22 females, were recruited from men's basketball, wrestling, women's basketball, and women's hockey teams at Cornell University. Subjects were divided using stratified random assignment according to their respective teams to either the control (C; n=21) or experimental group (E; n=23). Prior to and after 7 weeks of resistance training, subjects were tested for lean body mass (LBM) using skinfold measures, 1 rep max back squat (BS) and bench press (BP), and peak (PP) and average power (AP) calculated from a countermovement vertical jump. Both C and E groups performed identical workouts (i.e., exercises, sets, reps, % of 1 RM) with the exception that the experimental group used CR for the BS and BP while the control group used FW alone. CR was performed using an elastic bungee cord attached to a standard barbell loaded with weight plates. Elastic tension was accounted for in an attempt to equalize the total work done by each group.

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ANOVA (2 × 2 repeated measures) revealed significant interactions and Tukey post-hoc analyses found significant differences between groups after training in all measures except LBM and PP. Improvement for the E group, when compared to improvement in the C group, was nearly three times greater for BS 1 RM (16.47 ± 5.67 kg vs. 6.84 ± 4.42 kg increase), two times greater for BP 1 RM (6.68 ± 3.41 kg vs. 3.34 ± 2.67 kg increase), and nearly three times greater for AP (68.55±84.35 watt vs. 23.66±40.56 watt increase).

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Training with CR may be better for developing lower body strength, upper body strength, and lower body power than using FW training alone in resistance trained individuals. Long-term effects are unclear but CR training makes a meaningful contribution in the short term to performance adaptations of experienced athletes. CR equipment was provided by Mike Berry of BNS Band Systems.

©2005The American College of Sports Medicine