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Evaluating Upper-Body Strength and Power From a Single Test

The Ballistic Push-up

Wang, Ran1; Hoffman, Jay R.1; Sadres, Eliahu1,2; Bartolomei, Sandro1; Muddle, Tyler W.D.1; Fukuda, David H.1; Stout, Jeffrey R.1

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: May 2017 - Volume 31 - Issue 5 - p 1338–1345
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001832
Original Research

Wang, R, Hoffman, JR, Sadres, E, Bartolomei, S, Muddle, TWD, Fukuda, DH, and Stout, JR. Evaluating upper-body strength and power from a single test: the ballistic push-up. J Strength Cond Res 31(5): 1338–1345, 2017—The purpose of this study was to examine the reliability of the ballistic push-up (BPU) exercise and to develop a prediction model for both maximal strength (1 repetition maximum [1RM]) in the bench press exercise and upper-body power. Sixty recreationally active men completed a 1RM bench press and 2 BPU assessments in 3 separate testing sessions. Peak and mean force, peak and mean rate of force development, net impulse, peak velocity, flight time, and peak and mean power were determined. Intraclass correlation coefficients were used to examine the reliability of the BPU. Stepwise linear regression was used to develop 1RM bench press and power prediction equations. Intraclass correlation coefficient's ranged from 0.849 to 0.971 for the BPU measurements. Multiple regression analysis provided the following 1RM bench press prediction equation: 1RM = 0.31 × Mean Force − 1.64 × Body Mass + 0.70 (R2 = 0.837, standard error of the estimate [SEE] = 11 kg); time-based power prediction equation: Peak Power = 11.0 × Body Mass + 2012.3 × Flight Time − 338.0 (R2 = 0.658, SEE = 150 W), Mean Power = 6.7 × Body Mass + 1004.4 × Flight Time − 224.6 (R2 = 0.664, SEE = 82 W); and velocity-based power prediction equation: Peak Power = 8.1 × Body Mass + 818.6 × Peak Velocity − 762.0 (R2 = 0.797, SEE = 115 W); Mean Power = 5.2 × Body Mass + 435.9 × Peak Velocity − 467.7 (R2 = 0.838, SEE = 57 W). The BPU is a reliable test for both upper-body strength and power. Results indicate that the mean force generated from the BPU can be used to predict 1RM bench press, whereas peak velocity and flight time measured during the BPU can be used to predict upper-body power. These findings support the potential use of the BPU as a valid method to evaluate upper-body strength and power.

1Institute of Exercise Physiology and Wellness, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida; and

2The Nat Holman School for Coaches and Instructors, Wingate Institute for Physical Education and Sport, Netanya, Israel

Address correspondence to Dr. Jay R. Hoffman,

Copyright © 2017 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.