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Manuel Santiago Martin, Fernando Pareja Blanco, and Eduardo Saez De Villarreal

Purpose: This study aimed to compare the effects of 5 different 18-week in-season strength training programs on strength gains and specific water polo performance. Methods: A total of 56 young male water polo players were randomly assigned to the following 5 training groups: dry-land strength training, in-water-specific strength training, combined (dry-land and in-water) strength training, ballistic training, and eccentric-overload training. Physical performance was assessed before (Pre) and after (Post) the training period using the following battery of tests: in-water boost and countermovement jump, muscle strength in bench-press and full-squat, throwing speed (ThS), in-water agility, and 20-m maximal sprint swim. Results: Significant group × time interactions were observed for countermovement jump and in-water boost. Eccentric-overload training showed significantly higher gains in ThS and bench-press and full-squat strength than the rest of the training groups. In addition, all training groups (except in-water-specific strength training) induced significant improvements (P ≤ .05) in countermovement jump, in-water boost, and bench-press and full-squat strength. All training groups significantly increased (P ≤ .001) ThS. Moreover, all training groups improved (P ≤ .05) in-water agility (except dry-land strength training) and swimming sprint performance (except in-water-specific strength training and ballistic training). Conclusion: The findings indicate that the 18-week in-season strength training programs induced improvements in strength and specific water polo skills. The eccentric-overload training resulted in greater improvements in muscle strength (in both upper and lower body) and ThS than the other training methods examined in the study.

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David Rodríguez-Osorio, Oliver Gonzalo-Skok, and Fernando Pareja-Blanco

Purpose: To compare the effects of resisted change-of-direction (COD) movements, using several relative loads, on soccer players’ physical performance. Methods: Fifty-four male soccer players were randomly assigned to 1 of the following 3 groups, which differed only in the magnitude of the external load used during the COD training: COD training without external load (COD-0; n = 16), COD training with a 12.5% body-mass external load (COD-12.5; n = 19), and COD training with a 50% body-mass external load (COD-50; n = 19). Participants performed the specific COD training twice per week for 6 wk. Before and after the training period, a battery of tests was completed: countermovement jump, 30-m running sprint (time in 10 m [T10], 20 m [T20], and 30 m [T30]), L-run test, and V-cut test. Results: Within-group comparisons showed substantial improvements in countermovement jump and T10 (likely) in COD-0, whereas countermovement jump, T10, and T20 were substantially enhanced (possibly to likely) in COD-50. COD-12.5 induced substantial improvements in all analyzed variables (likely to most likely). Between-groups comparisons showed better effects on all analyzed variables for COD-12.5 than for COD-0 (possibly to very likely), whereas COD-50 only showed possibly better effects than COD-0 on T10. In addition, COD-12.5 induced a better effect on L-run and V-cut tests than COD-50 (possibly to likely). Conclusions: These results indicate that COD training, especially moderate load (12.5% body mass) resisted COD training, may have a positive effect on COD skills, running sprint performance, and jumping ability in young soccer players.

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Miguel Sánchez-Moreno, Gonçalo Rendeiro-Pinho, Pedro V. Mil-Homens, and Fernando Pareja-Blanco

Purpose: This study aimed (1) to analyze the interindividual variability in the maximal number of repetitions (MNR) performed against a given relative load (percentage of 1-repetition maximum [%1RM]) and (2) to examine the relationship between the velocity loss (VL) magnitude and the percentage of completed repetitions with regard to the MNR (%Rep), when the %1RM is based on individual load–velocity relationships. Methods: Following an assessment of 1RM strength and individual load–velocity relationships, 14 resistance-trained men completed 5 MNR tests against loads of 50%, 60%, 70%, 80%, and 90% 1RM in the Smith machine bench-press exercise. The relative loads were determined from the individual load–velocity relationship. Results: Individual relationships between load and velocity displayed coefficients of determination (R2) ranging from .986 to .998. The MNR showed an interindividual coefficient of variation ranging from 8.6% to 33.1%, increasing as the %1RM increased. The relationship between %Rep and the magnitude of VL showed a general R2 of .92 to .94 between 50% and 80% 1RM, which decreased to .80 for 90% 1RM. The mean individual R2 values were between .97 and .99 for all loading conditions. The %Rep when a given percentage of VL was reached showed interindividual coefficient of variation values ranging from 5% to 20%, decreasing as the %Rep increased in each load condition. Conclusions: Setting a number of repetitions had acceptable interindividual variability, with moderate relative loads being adjusted based on the individual load–velocity relationship. However, to provide a more homogeneous level of effort between athletes, the VL approach should be considered, mainly when using individual VL–%Rep relationships.

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Fernando Pareja-Blanco, Luis Sánchez-Medina, Luis Suárez-Arrones, and Juan José González-Badillo

Purpose:

To analyze the effects of 2 resistance-training (RT) programs that used the same relative loading but different repetition volume, using the velocity loss during the set as the independent variable: 15% (VL15) vs 30% (VL30).

Methods:

Sixteen professional soccer players with RT experience (age 23.8 ± 3.5 y, body mass 75.5 ± 8.6 kg) were randomly assigned to 2 groups, VL15 (n = 8) or VL30 (n = 8), that followed a 6-wk (18-session) velocity-based squat-training program. Repetition velocity was monitored in all sessions. Assessments performed before (Pre) and after training (Post) included estimated 1-repetition maximum (1RM) and change in average mean propulsive velocity (AMPV) against absolute loads common to Pre and Post tests, countermovement jump (CMJ), 30-m sprint (T30), and Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test (YIRT). Null-hypothesis significance testing and magnitude-based-inference statistical analyses were performed.

Results:

VL15 obtained greater gains in CMJ height than VL30 (P < .05), with no significant differences between groups for the remaining variables. VL15 showed a likely/possibly positive effect on 1RM (91/9/0%), AMPV (73/25/2%), and CMJ (87/12/1%), whereas VL30 showed possibly/unclear positive effects on 1RM (65/33/2%) and AMPV (46/36/18%) and possibly negative effects on CMJ (4/38/57%). The effects on T30 performance were unclear/unlikely for both groups, whereas both groups showed most likely/likely positive effects on YIRT.

Conclusions:

A velocity-based RT program characterized by a low degree of fatigue (15% velocity loss in each set) is effective to induce improvements in neuromuscular performance in professional soccer players with previous RT experience.

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Irineu Loturco, Lucas A. Pereira, Tomás T. Freitas, Chris Bishop, Fernando Pareja-Blanco, and Michael R. McGuigan

Purpose: To test the relationships between maximum and relative strength (MS and RS), absolute and relative peak force (PF and RPF), and strength deficit (SDef), with sprint and jump performance, and to compare these mechanical variables between elite sprinters and professional rugby union players. Methods: Thirty-five male rugby union players and 30 male sprinters performed vertical jumps, 30-m sprint, and half-squat 1-repetition maximum (1RM), where these force-related parameters were collected. Pearson correlation coefficients were used to test the relationships between the variables. An independent t test and magnitude-based inferences compared the mechanical variables between sprinters and rugby players. Results: Almost certain significant differences were observed for jump and sprint performance between groups (P < .0001). The rugby union players demonstrated a likely significant higher MS (P = .03) but a very likely lower RS (P = .007) than the sprinters. No significant differences were observed for PF between them. The sprinters exhibited an almost certain significant higher RPF than the rugby players (P < .0001). Furthermore, the rugby players demonstrated almost certain to likely significant higher SDef from 40% to 70% 1RM (P < .05) compared with the sprinters. Overall, all strength-derived parameters were significantly related to functional performance. Conclusions: Elite sprinters present higher levels of RS and RPF, lower levels of SDef, and better sprint and jump performance than professional rugby players. Relative strength-derived values (RS and RPF) and SDef are significantly associated with speed–power measures and may be used as effective and practical indicators of athletic performance.

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Miguel Sánchez-Moreno, David Rodríguez-Rosell, David Díaz-Cueli, Fernando Pareja-Blanco, and Juan José González-Badillo

Purpose: This study analyzed the effects of 3 training interventions: 1 isolated endurance training (ET) and 2 concurrent training (CT), which differed in the velocity loss (VL) magnitude allowed during the resistance training (RT) set: 15% (VL15) versus 45%, on strength and endurance running performance. Methods: A total of 33 resistance- and endurance-trained men were randomly allocated into 3 groups: VL15, VL 45%, and ET. ET was similar across all groups. The CT groups differed in the VL allowed during the RT set. Before and after the 8-week training program the following tests were performed: (1) running sprints, (2) vertical jump, (3) progressive loading test in the squat exercise, and (4) incremental treadmill running test up to maximal oxygen uptake. Results: Significant differences (P < .001) in RT volume (approximately 401 vs 177 total repetitions for VL 45% and VL15, respectively) were observed. Significant “group” × “time” interactions were observed for vertical jump and all strength-related variables: the CT groups attained significantly greater gains than ET. Moreover, a significant “group” × “time” interaction (P = .03) was noted for velocity at maximal oxygen uptake. Although all groups showed increases in velocity at maximal oxygen uptake, the VL15 group achieved greater gains than the ET group. Conclusions: CT interventions experienced greater strength gains than the ET group. Although all groups improved their endurance performance, the VL15 intervention resulted in greater gains than the ET approach. Therefore, moderate VL thresholds in RT performed during CT could be a good strategy for concurrently maximizing strength and endurance development.

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Pablo Nájera-Ferrer, Carlos Pérez-Caballero, Juan José González-Badillo, and Fernando Pareja-Blanco

Purpose: This study aimed to analyze the response to 4 concurrent training interventions differing in the training sequence and in the velocity loss (VL) threshold during strength training (20% vs 40%) on following endurance and strength performance. Methods: A randomized crossover research design was used. Sixteen trained men performed 4 training interventions consisting of endurance training (ET) followed by resistance training (RT), with 20% and 40% VL, respectively (ET + RT20 and ET + RT40), and RT with 20% and 40% VL, respectively, followed by ET (RT20 + ET and RT40 + ET). The ET consisted of running for 10 minutes at 90% of maximal aerobic velocity. The RT consisted of 3 squat sets with 60% of 1-repetition maximum. A 5-minute rest was given between exercises. The oxygen uptake throughout the ET and repetition velocity during RT were recorded. The blood lactate concentration, vertical jump, and squat velocity were measured at preexercise and after the endurance and strength exercises. Results: The RT40 + ET protocol showed an impaired running time along with higher ventilatory equivalents compared with those protocols that performed the ET without previous fatigue. No significant differences were observed in the repetitions per set performed for a given VL threshold, regardless of the exercise sequence. The protocols consisting of 40%VL induced greater reductions in jump height and squat velocity, along with elevated blood lactate concentration. Conclusions: A high VL magnitude (40%VL) induced higher metabolic and mechanical stress, as well as greater residual fatigue, on the following ET performance.

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Beatriz Bachero-Mena, Miguel Sánchez-Moreno, Fernando Pareja-Blanco, and Borja Sañudo

Purpose: To analyze the acute and short-term physical and metabolic responses to resisted sprint training with 5 different loading conditions (0%, 20%, 40%, 60%, and 80% body mass). Methods: Fifteen male participants performed 8 × 20-m sprints with 2-minute rests between sprints with 5 different loading conditions. Subjects performed a battery of tests (creatine kinase and lactate concentrations, countermovement jump, 20-m sprint, and isokinetic knee extension and flexion contractions) at 3 different time points (preexercise [PRE], postexercise [POST], and 24-h postexercise [POST24H]). Results: Results revealed significant increases in blood lactate for all loading conditions; however, as sled loadings increased, higher blood lactate concentrations and increments in sprint times during the training session were observed. Significant increases in creatine kinase concentration were observed from PRE to POST24H for all loading conditions. Concerning physical performance, significant decreases in countermovement-jump height from PRE to POST were found for all loading conditions. In addition, significant decreases in 20-m sprint performance from PRE to POST were observed for 0% (P = .05) and 80% (P = .02). No significant differences with PRE were observed for the physical-performance variables at POST24H, except for 20% load, which induced a significant decrease in mean power during knee flexion (P = .03). Conclusions: These results suggest that the higher the load used during resisted sprint training, the higher the physical-performance impairments and metabolic response produced, although all loading conditions led to a complete recovery of sprint performance at POST24H.

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Julian Alcazar, Pedro J. Cornejo-Daza, Juan Sánchez-Valdepeñas, Luis M. Alegre, and Fernando Pareja-Blanco

Purpose: This study aimed to compare the adaptations provoked by various velocity loss (VL) thresholds used in resistance training on the squat force–velocity (F–V) relationship. Methods: Sixty-four resistance-trained young men were randomly assigned to one of four 8-week resistance training programs (all 70%–85% 1-repetition maximum) using different VL thresholds (VL0 = 0%, VL10 = 10%, VL20 = 20%, and VL40 = 40%) in the squat exercise. The F–V relationship was assessed under unloaded and loaded conditions in squat. Linear and hyperbolic (Hill) F–V equations were used to calculate force at zero velocity (F0), velocity at zero force (V0), maximum muscle power (Pmax), and force produced at mean velocities ranging from 0.0 to 2.0 m·s−1. Changes in parameters derived from the F–V relationship were compared among groups using linear mixed models. Results: Linear equations showed increases in F0 (120.7 N [89.4 to 152.1]) and Pmax (76.2 W [45.3 to 107.2]) and no changes in V0 (−0.02 m·s−1 [−0.11 to 0.06]) regardless of VL. Hyperbolic equations depicted increases in F0 (120.7 N [89.4 to 152.1]), V0 (1.13 m·s−1 [0.78 to 1.48]), and Pmax (198.5 W [160.5 to 236.6]) with changes in V0 being greater in VL0 and VL10 versus VL40 (both P < .001). All groups similarly improved force at 0.0 to 2.0 m·s−1 (all P < .001), although in general, effect sizes were greater in VL10 and VL20 versus VL0 and VL40 at velocities ≤0.5 m·s−1. Conclusions: All groups improved linear and hyperbolic F0 and Pmax and hyperbolic V0 (except VL40). The dose–response relationship exhibited an inverted U-shape pattern at velocities ≤0.5 m·s−1 with VL10 and VL20 showing the greatest standardized changes.

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Pedro Jiménez-Reyes, Fernando Pareja-Blanco, David Rodríguez-Rosell, Mario C. Marques, and Juan José González-Badillo

Purpose:

To determine what variables determine the differences in performance on 2 tests of squat jump (SJ) performed under light load in highly trained athletes using maximal velocity (Vmax) or flight time (FT) as the discriminating factor of SJ performance.

Methods:

Thirty-two participants performed 2 maximal weighted SJs using a force platform synchronized with a linear transducer. Mean force (Fmean), mean and maximal power (Pmean, Pmax), peak force (PF), maximal rate of force development (RFDmax), and time required to attain PF (TPF) and RFDmax (TRFDmax) were analyzed. SJs were divided into 2 segments: from the initiation of force application to PF1 and from the moment after PF1 to Vmax.

Results:

Traditional significance statistics revealed significant differences in the same variables between best and worst SJs using both FT and Vmax. However, to use an approach based on the magnitude of the effect, the best SJ showed greater Pmax (83/17/0%), Pmean (85/15/0%), Fmean (71/29/0%), RFDmax1 (73/27/0%), and PF1 (53/47/0%) and lower TPF2 (0/61/39%) than the worst SJ when Vmax was used to discriminate SJ performance. However, using FT to differentiate SJ performance, no difference was observed between best and worst.

Conclusions:

Although jump height assessed through FT is a valid measure, these results suggest that Vmax is a more sensitive variable than FT to detect differences in loaded-SJ performance.