A Comparison of Training With a Velocity Loss Threshold or to Repetition Failure on Upper-Body Strength Development in Professional Australian Footballers

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: To compare resistance training using a velocity loss threshold with training to repetition failure on upper-body strength parameters in professional Australian footballers. Methods: A total of 26 professional Australian footballers (23.9 [4.2] y, 189.9 [7.8] cm, 88.2 [8.8] kg) tested 1-repetition-maximum strength (FPmax) and mean barbell velocity at 85% of 1-repetition maximum on floor press (FPvel). They were then assigned to 2 training groups: 20% velocity loss threshold training (VL; n = 12, maximum-effort lift velocity) or training to repetition failure (TF; n = 14, self-selected lift velocity). Subjects trained twice per week for 3 weeks before being reassessed on FPmax and FPvel. Training volume (total repetitions) was recorded for all training sessions. No differences were present between groups on any pretraining measure. Results: The TF group significantly improved FPmax (105.2–110.9 kg, +5.4%), while the VL group did not (107.5–109.2 kg, +1.6%) (P > .05). Both groups significantly increased FPvel (0.38–0.46 m·s−1, +19.1% and 0.37–0.42 m·s−1, +16.7%, respectively) with no between-groups differences evident (P > .05). The TF group performed significantly more training volume (12.2 vs 6.8 repetitions per session, P > .05). Conclusions: Training to repetition failure improved FPmax, while training using a velocity loss threshold of 20% did not. Both groups demonstrated similar improvements in FPvel despite the VL group completing 45% less total training volume than the TF group. The reduction in training volume associated with implementing a 20% velocity loss threshold may negatively impact the development of upper-body maximum strength while still enhancing submaximal movement velocity.

Kilgallon is with the Sydney Swans Football Club, Sydney, NSW, Australia. Johnston is with British Athletics, Loughborough University, Loughborough, United Kingdom. Kilduff is with the Applied Sports Technology Exercise and Medicine Research Centre (A-STEM), Health and Sport Portfolio, Swansea University, Swansea, United Kingdom. Watsford is with the Human Performance Research Centre, Faculty of Health, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Kilgallon (markkilgallon@hotmail.com) is corresponding author.
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