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Jean-Benoît Morin and Pierre Samozino

Recent studies have brought new insights into the evaluation of power-force-velocity profiles in both ballistic push-offs (eg, jumps) and sprint movements. These are major physical components of performance in many sports, and the methods the authors developed and validated are based on data that are now rather simple to obtain in field conditions (eg, body mass, jump height, sprint times, or velocity). The promising aspect of these approaches is that they allow for more individualized and accurate evaluation, monitoring, and training practices, the success of which is highly dependent on the correct collection, generation, and interpretation of athletes’ mechanical outputs. The authors therefore wanted to provide a practical vade mecum to sports practitioners interested in implementing these power-force-velocity–profiling approaches. After providing a summary of theoretical and practical definitions for the main variables, the authors first detail how vertical profiling can be used to manage ballistic push-off performance, with emphasis on the concept of optimal force–velocity profile and the associated force–velocity imbalance. Furthermore, they discuss these same concepts with regard to horizontal profiling in the management of sprinting performance. These sections are illustrated by typical examples from the authors’ practice. Finally, they provide a practical and operational synthesis and outline future challenges that will help further develop these approaches.

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Abderrahmane Rahmani, Pierre Samozino, Jean-Benoit Morin and Baptiste Morel

Purpose: To analyze the reliability and validity of a field computation method based on easy-to-measure data to assess the mean force (F¯) and velocity (v¯) produced during a ballistic bench-press movement and to verify that the force–velocity profile (F–v) obtained with multiple loaded trials is accurately described. Methods: Twelve participants performed ballistic bench presses against various lifted mass from 30% to 70% of their body mass. For each trial, F¯ and v¯ were determined from an accelerometer (sampling rate 500 Hz; reference method) and a simple computation method based on upper-limb mass, barbell flight height, and push-off distance. These F¯ and v¯ data were used to establish the F–v relationship for each individual and method. Results: A strong to almost perfect reliability was observed between the 2 trials (ICC > .90 for F¯ and .80 for v¯, CV% < 10%), whatever the considered method. The mechanical variables (F¯, v¯) measured with the 2 methods and all the variables extrapolated from the F–v relationships were strongly correlated (r 2 > .80, P < .001). The practical differences between the methods for the extrapolated mechanical parameters were all <5%, indicating very probably no differences. Conclusion: The findings suggest that the simple computation method used here provides valid and reliable information on force and velocity produced during ballistic bench press, in line with that observed in laboratory conditions. This simple method is thus a practical tool, requiring only 3 simple parameters (upper-limb mass, barbell flight height, and push-off distance).

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Pascal Edouard, Pierre Samozino, Marc Julia, Sophie Gleizes Cervera, William Vanbiervliet, Paul Calmels and Vincent Gremeaux

Context:

Isokinetic assessment of shoulder internal- (IR) and external-rotator (ER) strength is commonly used with many different postures (sitting, standing, or supine) and shoulder positions (frontal or scapular plane with 45° or 90° of abduction).

Objective:

To conduct a systematic review to determine the influence of position on the intersession reliability of the assessment of IR and ER isokinetic strength, to identify the most reliable position, and to determine which isokinetic variable appears to be most stable in intersession reliability.

Evidence Acquisition:

A systematic literature search through MEDLINE and Pascal Biomed databases was performed in October 2009. Criteria for inclusion were that studies be written in English or French, describe the isokinetic evaluation methods, and describe statistical analysis.

Evidence Synthesis:

Sixteen studies meeting the inclusion criteria were included. Variable reliability of ER and IR peak torque (PT) were generally reported for all assessment positions; intraclass correlation coefficients were .44–.98 in the seated position with 45° of shoulder abduction, .09–.77 in the seated position with 90° of shoulder abduction, .86–.99 (coefficient of variation: 7.5–29.8%) in the supine position with 90° of shoulder abduction, .82–.84 in the supine position with 45° of shoulder abduction, and .75–.94 in standing. The ER:IR ratio reliability was low for all positions.

Conclusions:

The seated position with 45° of shoulder abduction in the scapular plane seemed the most reliable for IR and ER strength assessment. The standing position or a shoulder posture with 90° of shoulder abduction or in the frontal plane must be used with caution given the low reliability for peak torque. Good reliability of ER and IR PT was generally reported, but ER:IR ratio reliability was low.

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Ryu Nagahara, Alberto Botter, Enrico Rejc, Masaaki Koido, Takeshi Shimizu, Pierre Samozino and Jean-Benoit Morin

Purpose:

To test the concurrent validity of data from 2 different global positioning system (GPS) units for obtaining mechanical properties during sprint acceleration using a field method recently validated by Samozino et al.

Methods:

Thirty-two athletes performed maximal straight-line sprints, and their running speed was simultaneously measured by GPS units (sampling rate: 20 or 5 Hz) and either a radar or laser device (devices taken as references). Lower-limb mechanical properties of sprint acceleration (theoretical maximal force, theoretical maximal speed, maximal power) were derived from a modeling of the speed–time curves using an exponential function in both measurements. Comparisons of mechanical properties from 20- and 5-Hz GPS units with those from reference devices were performed for 80 and 62 trials, respectively.

Results:

The percentage bias showed a wide range of overestimation or underestimation for both systems (-7.9% to 9.7% and -5.1% to 2.9% for 20- and 5-Hz GPS), while the ranges of its 90% confidence limits for 20-Hz GPS were markedly smaller than those for 5-Hz GPS. These results were supported by the correlation analyses.

Conclusions:

Overall, the concurrent validity for all variables derived from 20-Hz GPS measurements was better than that obtained from the 5-Hz GPS units. However, in the current state of GPS devices’ accuracy for speed–time measurements over a maximal sprint acceleration, it is recommended that radar, laser devices, and timing gates remain the reference methods for implementing the computations of Samozino et al.

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Pierre Samozino, Jean Romain Rivière, Jérémy Rossi, Jean-Benoit Morin and Pedro Jimenez-Reyes

Velocity strength training requires exercise modalities that allow athletes to reach very high movement velocity, which is limited during vertical movements involving body weight. Purpose: To quantify the mechanical outputs developed during horizontal squat jumps (HSJs), notably the movement velocity, in comparison with vertical squat jumps (SJs) with and without loads. Methods: Thirteen healthy male athletes performed SJs without additional loads (SJ0) and with a load of ∼60% of body mass (SJ60), and during HSJs performed lying on a roller device with (assisted HSJ [AHSJ]) and without (HSJ) rubber-band assistance. Instantaneous lower-limb extension velocity, force, and power output were measured and averaged over the push-off phase. Results: The force was significantly higher during SJ60 than during SJ0, which was higher than during HSJ and AHSJ. Extension velocity was significantly different across all conditions, with 0.86 (0.07), 1.29 (0.10), 1.59 (0.19), and 1.83 (0.19) m·s−1 for SJ60, SJ0, HSJ, and AHSJ conditions, respectively. Differences in force and velocity values between SJ0 and the other conditions were large to extremely large. Differences were observed in power values only between SJ60 and SJ0, SJ60 and AHSJ, and SJ0 and HSJ. Conclusions: HSJ modalities allow athletes to reach very to extremely largely greater lower-limb extension velocities (HSJ +24.0% [16%], AHSJ +42.8% [17.4%]) compared to those achieved during SJ0. HSJ and AHSJ modalities are inexpensive and practical modalities to train limb-extension velocity capabilities, that is, the ability of the neuromuscular system to produce force at high contraction velocities.

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Matt R. Cross, Matt Brughelli, Pierre Samozino, Scott R. Brown and Jean-Benoit Morin

Purpose:

To ascertain whether force-velocity-power relationships could be compiled from a battery of sled-resisted overground sprints and to clarify and compare the optimal loading conditions for maximizing power production for different athlete cohorts.

Methods:

Recreational mixed-sport athletes (n = 12) and sprinters (n = 15) performed multiple trials of maximal sprints unloaded and towing a selection of sled masses (20–120% body mass [BM]). Velocity data were collected by sports radar, and kinetics at peak velocity were quantified using friction coefficients and aerodynamic drag. Individual force–velocity and power–velocity relationships were generated using linear and quadratic relationships, respectively. Mechanical and optimal loading variables were subsequently calculated and test–retest reliability assessed.

Results:

Individual force–velocity and power–velocity relationships were accurately fitted with regression models (R 2 > .977, P < .001) and were reliable (ES = 0.05–0.50, ICC = .73–.97, CV = 1.0–5.4%). The normal loading that maximized peak power was 78% ± 6% and 82% ± 8% of BM, representing a resistance of 3.37 and 3.62 N/kg at 4.19 ± 0.19 and 4.90 ± 0.18 m/s (recreational athletes and sprinters, respectively). Optimal force and normal load did not clearly differentiate between cohorts, although sprinters developed greater maximal power (17.2–26.5%, ES = 0.97–2.13, P < .02) at much greater velocities (16.9%, ES = 3.73, P < .001).

Conclusions:

Mechanical relationships can be accurately profiled using common sled-training equipment. Notably, the optimal loading conditions determined in this study (69–96% of BM, dependent on friction conditions) represent much greater resistance than current guidelines (~7–20% of BM). This method has potential value in quantifying individualized training parameters for optimized development of horizontal power.

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Jean-Benoît Morin, George Petrakos, Pedro Jiménez-Reyes, Scott R. Brown, Pierre Samozino and Matt R. Cross

Background:

Sprint running acceleration is a key feature of physical performance in team sports, and recent literature shows that the ability to generate large magnitudes of horizontal ground-reaction force and mechanical effectiveness of force application are paramount. The authors tested the hypothesis that very-heavy loaded sled sprint training would induce an improvement in horizontal-force production, via an increased effectiveness of application.

Methods:

Training-induced changes in sprint performance and mechanical outputs were computed using a field method based on velocity–time data, before and after an 8-wk protocol (16 sessions of 10- × 20-m sprints). Sixteen male amateur soccer players were assigned to either a very-heavy sled (80% body mass sled load) or a control group (unresisted sprints).

Results:

The main outcome of this pilot study is that very-heavy sled-resisted sprint training, using much greater loads than traditionally recommended, clearly increased maximal horizontal-force production compared with standard unloaded sprint training (effect size of 0.80 vs 0.20 for controls, unclear between-groups difference) and mechanical effectiveness (ie, more horizontally applied force; effect size of 0.95 vs –0.11, moderate between-groups difference). In addition, 5-m and 20-m sprint performance improvements were moderate and small for the very-heavy sled group and small and trivial for the control group, respectively.

Practical Applications:

This brief report highlights the usefulness of very-heavy sled (80% body mass) training, which may suggest value for practical improvement of mechanical effectiveness and maximal horizontal-force capabilities in soccer players and other team-sport athletes.

Results:

This study may encourage further research to confirm the usefulness of very-heavy sled in this context.

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Scott R. Brown, Erin R. Feldman, Matt R. Cross, Eric R. Helms, Bruno Marrier, Pierre Samozino and Jean-Benoît Morin

The global application of horizontal force (F H) via hip extension is related to improvements in sprint performance (eg, maximal velocity [v max] and power [P max]). Little is known regarding the contribution of individual leg F H and how a difference between the legs (asymmetry) might subsequently affect sprint performance. The authors assessed a single male athlete for pre-post outcomes of a targeted hip-extension training program on F H asymmetry and sprint-performance metrics. An instrumented nonmotorized treadmill was used to obtain individual leg and global sprint kinetics and determine the athlete’s strong and weak leg, with regard to the ability to produce F H while sprinting. Following a 6-wk control block of testing, a 6-wk targeted training program was added to the athlete’s strength-training regimen, which aimed to strengthen the weak leg and improve hip-extension function during sprinting. Preintervention to postintervention, the athlete increased F H (standardized effect [ES] = 2.2; +26%) in his weak leg, decreased the F H asymmetry (ES = −0.64; −19%), and increased v max (ES = 0.67; +2%) and P max (ES = 3.2; +15%). This case study highlighted a promising link between a targeted training intervention to decrease asymmetry in F H and subsequent improvement of sprint-performance metrics. These findings also strengthen the theoretical relationship between the contribution of individual leg F H and global F H while sprinting, indicating that reducing asymmetry may decrease injury risk and increase practical performance measures. This case study may stimulate further research investigating targeted training interventions in the field of strength and conditioning and injury prevention.

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Matt R. Cross, Farhan Tinwala, Seth Lenetsky, Scott R. Brown, Matt Brughelli, Jean-Benoit Morin and Pierre Samozino

The assessment of horizontal force during overground sprinting is increasingly prevalent in practice and research, stemming from advances in technology and access to simplified yet valid field methods. As researchers search out optimal means of targeting the development of horizontal force, there is considerable interest in the effectiveness of external resistance. Increasing attention in research provides more information surrounding the biomechanics of sprinting in general and insight into the potential methods of developing determinant capacities. However, there is a general lack of consensus on the assessment and computation of horizontal force under resistance, which has resulted in a confusing narrative surrounding the practical applicability of loading parameters for performance enhancement. As such, the aim of this commentary was twofold: to provide a clear narrative of the assessment and computation of horizontal force in resisted sprinting and to clarify and discuss the impact of methodological approaches to subsequent training implementation. Horizontal force computation during resisted sleds, a common sprint-training apparatus in the field, is used as a test case to illustrate the risks associated with substandard methodological practices and improperly accounting for the effects of friction. A practical and operational synthesis is provided to help guide researchers and practitioners in selecting appropriate resistance methods. Finally, an outline of future challenges is presented to aid the development of these approaches.

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Pedro Jiménez-Reyes, Pierre Samozino, Fernando Pareja-Blanco, Filipe Conceição, Víctor Cuadrado-Peñafiel, Juan José González-Badillo and Jean-Benoît Morin

Purpose:

To analyze the reliability and validity of a simple computation method to evaluate force (F), velocity (v), and power (P) output during a countermovement jump (CMJ) suitable for use in field conditions and to verify the validity of this computation method to compute the CMJ force–velocity (Fv) profile (including unloaded and loaded jumps) in trained athletes.

Methods:

Sixteen high-level male sprinters and jumpers performed maximal CMJs under 6 different load conditions (0–87 kg). A force plate sampling at 1000 Hz was used to record vertical ground-reaction force and derive vertical-displacement data during CMJ trials. For each condition, mean F, v, and P of the push-off phase were determined from both force-plate data (reference method) and simple computation measures based on body mass, jump height (from flight time), and push-off distance and used to establish the linear Fv relationship for each individual.

Results:

Mean absolute bias values were 0.9% (± 1.6%), 4.7% (± 6.2%), 3.7% (± 4.8%), and 5% (± 6.8%) for F, v, P, and slope of the Fv relationship (SFv), respectively. Both methods showed high correlations for Fv-profile-related variables (r = .985–.991). Finally, all variables computed from the simple method showed high reliability, with ICC >.980 and CV <1.0%.

Conclusions:

These results suggest that the simple method presented here is valid and reliable for computing CMJ force, velocity, power, and Fv profiles in athletes and could be used in practice under field conditions when body mass, push-off distance, and jump height are known.