Peak power production is an important component of many sports including Australian Football which is a contact sport involving an array of explosive movements including kicking, tackling, sprinting and jumping. Players in the Australian Football League (AFL) are full-time professional athletes. Exercises targeting the activation of the gluteal muscle group (GM) are commonly used in the rehabilitation of injuries involving the hips and pelvis, however they may also be used in healthy athlete populations as a warm-up protocol before exercise or sport. The effects of such a protocol on peak power production are currently unknown. Studies into the influence of whole body vibration (WBV) on performance and peak power production have produced inconsistent results and have been the focus of conjecture in recent published literature. PURPOSE: To investigate the effects of WBV, an exercise protocol targeting GM activation and a control protocol on peak power production during countermovement vertical jumps (CMJ). METHODS: 22 AFL players performed three different pre-performance protocols on separate days in a randomized order. Players were then tested within 5 minutes for peak power production during CMJ. These protocols included WBV, GM activation exercise and a control protocol. The WBV protocol involved standing on the WBV platform for 45 seconds at 30 Hz. The GM activation protocol consisted of 7 exercises taking about 7 min to perform. The control protocol involved CMJ testing without any prior warm-up. CMJ peak power testing involved the player performing 5 jumps on a smith-machine while a linear transducer was used to measure peak power. Testing was conducted after football training sessions on non-consecutive days over a 10 day period. Players who were unable to perform all three pre-performance protocols were excluded from the study. An ANOVA with repeated measures was performed to determine any differences in peak power between the protocols. RESULTS: The GM activation protocol produced significantly higher peak power during CMJ testing than both the control (p = 0.03) and WBV protocols (p < 0.01) (Figure 1). There were no other significant differences between protocols, although the WBV protocol showed a trend for reduced peak power scores when compared to control (p = 0.08). Conclusion: GM activation exercises used as a pre-performance protocol generated greater peak power scores during CMJ testing than both a control and a WBV protocol in professional AFL players. The WBV protocol showed a trend for lower peak power scores than those recorded using the control protocol. Practical Application: Exercise targeted at activating the GM group should be considered as a pre-performance protocol in sports where peak power production is a key component. In contrast, the use of WBV as a pre-performance modality should be reconsidered as its use may have a deleterious effect on peak power production.
© 2011 National Strength and Conditioning Association