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The Effect of a Complex Agonist and Antagonist Resistance Training Protocol on Volume Load, Power Output, Electromyographic Responses, and Efficiency

Robbins, Daniel W1,2; Young, Warren B1; Behm, David G3; Payne, Warren R1

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: July 2010 - Volume 24 - Issue 7 - p 1782-1789
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181dc3a53
Original Research

Robbins, DW, Young, WB, Behm, DG, and Payne, WR. The effect of a complex agonist and antagonist resistance training protocol on volume load and power output, electromyographic responses, and efficiency. J Strength Cond Res 24(7): 1782-1789, 2010-The objective of this study was to investigate the acute effects of performing traditional set (TS) vs. complex set (CS) agonist-antagonist training over 3 consecutive sets, on bench press throw (BPT) throw height (TH), peak velocity (PV), peak power (PP), bench pull volume load (VL), and electromyographic (EMG) activity. Eighteen trained men performed 2 testing protocols: TS comprising 3 sets of Bpull followed by 3 sets of BPT performed in approximately 20 minutes or CS comprising 3 sets of both Bpull and BPT performed in an alternating manner in approximately 10 minutes. Throw height, PV, PP, and EMG activity were not different within, or between, the 2 conditions. Bench pull VL decreased significantly from set 1 to sets 2 and 3, under both conditions. Decreases from set 1 to set 2 were 14.55 ± 26.11 and 9.07 ± 13.89% and from set 1 to set 3 were 16.87 ± 29.90 and 14.17 ± 18.37% under CS and TS, respectively. There was no difference in VL per set, or session, between the conditions. Although there was no augmentation of the power measures, CS was determined to have approximately twice the efficiency (ouput/time) as compared to TS. Efficiency calculations for VL, TH, PV, and PP are 103.47 kg·min−1, 26.25 cm·min−1, 1.98 m·s−1·min−1, 890.39 W·min−1 under CS and 54.71 kg·min−1, 13.02 cm·min−1, 0.99 m·s−1·min−1, 459.28 W·min−1 under TS. Comparison of EMG activity between the protocols suggests the level of neuromuscular fatigue did not differ under the 2 conditions. Complex set training would appear to be an effective method of exercise with respect to efficiency and the maintenance of TH, PV, PP, and VL.

1School of Human Movement and Sport Sciences, University of Ballarat, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia; 2Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; and 3School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's Newfoundland, Canada

Address correspondence to Daniel W. Robbins,

© 2010 National Strength and Conditioning Association