Studies have both supported and refuted the concept that it is the intent to perform ballistic contractions that determines velocity-specific gains in resistance training. The purpose of this investigation was to determine whether ballistic intent is as effective as ballistic movement in improving muscle activation, force, movement time, and reaction time.
Subjects completed 8 wk of punch training. A dynamic (DYN) group trained with elastic resistance bands, and the isometric (ISO) group trained with an unyielding strap. A control (CTRL) group was also tested. Pretesting and posttesting measures included isometric force; electromyography (EMG) of triceps, biceps, pectoralis major, and latissimus dorsi; movement and reaction time of both arms; and a quick-hands test of coordination.
Triceps iEMG increased by 63% in the ISO group (P = .03). Pectoralis major iEMG increased by 65% in the DYN group (P = .007). Movement time decreased 17.6% in the DYN training group (P = .001). Isometric force did not improve in either training group or in the CTRL group.
Because of its specificity of movement, dynamic training might be a more appropriate method to improve punching speed for martial artists and boxers. The intent to contract explosively over a short duration does not appear to be beneficial in increasing force production or speed of movement in punching.
The authors are with the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada A1C 5S7.