PURPOSE: Complex training is a resistance training method which alternates a heavy resistance exercise with a biomechanically similar plyometric exercise (complex set) and is suggested to be beneficial for enhancement of power production. Prior muscle activation results in both muscle potentiation and fatigue, in order for performance to be enhanced, fatigue is required to dissipate more rapidly than potentiation decays, a response which is influenced by individual subject muscle morphology. To date, the individual response to the fatigue/potentiation relationship in complex training has largely been ignored. Therefore, this research aimed to characterise the individual response of this relationship and subsequent influence on lower-body power output in complex training. METHODS: 11 highly trained Rugby Union (RU) players performed 3 countermovement jumps (CMJ) at baseline and at recovery times of 30 s, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 min following a 5RM squat. Each recovery time was assessed on a separate occasion in a randomised order. Measurement of force-time and displacement-time data was collected at a sampling frequency of 200Hz using a force plate and linear position transducer for calculation of concentric mechanical power output. Changes in the log-transformed peak power (Watts) for each time interval was calculated and then back-transformed and expressed as a percent. A small and moderate substantial difference in peak power was quantified as 0.2 and 0.6 of the log transformed between-athlete SD of baseline peak power at each time interval, back-transformed and expressed as a percent. RESULTS: A small and moderate substantial difference in peak power across recovery times was 0.8% and 2.4% respectively. Despite a trend towards a positive enhancement in mean peak power in the CMJ at 2 min and 4 min (0.1%) it was not a substantial change. Individual responses show moderate substantial improvement in CMJ peak power for all players at different time intervals (Fig. 1). CONCLUSIONS: Acute performance in the CMJ of highly trained Rugby Union players is enhanced with complex training provided adequate and individualised recovery time is provided within the complex set. Practical Applications: Practitioners should consider the individual response of athletes to recovery time in complex sets when designing complex training programes. Although individualised recovery is ideal for the enhancement of power, it is not always prcatical. Selection of a fixed recovery time is logistically more practical, yet practioners must be aware that not all athletes will repsond positively to the selected recovery time.
© 2011 National Strength and Conditioning Association