The purpose of this investigation was to determine whether the performance of explosive-force movements before bench-press exercise would improve 1-repetition-maximum (1RM) strength.
Twelve male college athletes participated in 3 testing sessions separated by at least 5 days of rest. During each testing session, the 1RM was assessed on the bench-press exercise. After a general warm-up, subjects performed a specific warm-up that consisted of submaximal sets with increasing loads on the bench-press exercise before attempting a 1RM lift. During the first testing trial, subjects performed a series of 1RM attempts with increasing loads until their 1RM was determined. During the second and third testing trials, subjects performed in a counterbalanced randomized order either 2 plyometric push-ups or 2 medicine-ball (3 to 5 kg) chest passes 30 seconds before each 1RM attempt.
Analysis of the data revealed that 1RM bench-press strength was significantly greater after plyometric push-ups (P = .004) or chest passes (P = .025) in comparison with the first trial (123.8 ± 23.5 kg and 124.0 ± 24.1 kg vs 120.9 ± 23.2 kg, respectively).
These data suggest that an acute bout of low-volume, explosive-force upper body movements performed 30 seconds before a 1RM attempt might enhance bench-press performance in athletic men.
Wilcox and Larson are with the Dept of Exercise Science and Physical Education, University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA. Brochu is with Competitive Athlete Training Zone, Canton, MA. Faigenbaum is with the Dept of Health and Exercise Science, The College of New Jersey, Ewing, NJ 08628.