Reliability of a Novel Testing Protocol to Assess Upper-Body Strength Qualities in Elite Athletes

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose:

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the reliability of an isometric-bench-press (IBP) test performed across 4 elbow angles and a ballistic bench throw (BBT) using a relative load, as well as evaluating the reliability of the dynamic strength index (DSI: BBT peak force/IBP peak force).

Methods:

Twenty-four elite male athletes performed the IBP and a 45% 1-repetition-maximum BBT on 2 separate days with 48 h between testing occasions. Peak force, peak power, peak velocity, peak displacement, and peak rate of force development (PRFD) were assessed using a force plate and linear position transducer. Reliability was assessed by intraclass correlation (ICC), coefficient of variation (%CV) and typical error.

Results:

Performance measures in the BBT, such as peak force, peak velocity, peak power, and peak displacement, were considered reliable (ICC = .85–.92, %CV = 1.7–3.3), while PRFD was not (ICC = .43, %CV = 4.1). Similarly, for the IBP, peak force across all angles was considered reliable (ICC = .89–.97, %CV = 1.2–1.6), while PRFD was not (ICC = .56–.65, %CV = 0.5–7.6). The DSI was also reliable (ICC = .93, %CV = 3.5).

Conclusions:

Performance measures such as peak force in the IBP and BBT are reliable when assessing upper-body pressing-strength qualities in elite male athletes. Furthermore, the DSI is reliable and could potentially be used to detect qualities of relative deficiency and guide specific training interventions.

Young is with the Strength and Conditioning Dept, Canadian Sport Inst Pacific, Victoria, BC, Canada. Haff, Newton, and Sheppard are with the Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia. Address author correspondence to Kieran Young at kyoung@csipacific.ca.