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  • Author: William P. Ebben x
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William P. Ebben

Purpose:

This study evaluated a variety of downhill slopes in an effort to determine the optimal slope for overspeed running.

Methods:

Thirteen NCAA Division III college athletes who participated in soccer, track, and football ran 40-yd (36.6-m) sprints, on downhill slopes of 2.1°, 3.3°, 4.7°, 5.8°, and 6.9° in random order. All sprints were timed using the Brower Timing System Speedtrap II. Data were analyzed with SSPS 15.0. A 1-way repeated-measures analysis of variance revealed significant main effects for the test slopes (P = .000). Bonferroni-adjusted pairwise comparisons determined that there were a number of differences between the hill slopes.

Results:

Analysis reveals that 40-yd sprints performed on hill slopes of approximately 5.8° were optimal compared with flatland running and the other slopes assessed (P < .05). Sprinting on a 5.8° slope increased the subjects’ maximal speed by an average of 0.35 s, resulting in a 6.5% ± 4.0% decrease in 40-yd sprint time compared with fatland running. Compared with the 4.7° slope, the 5.8° slope yielded a 0.10-s faster 40-yd sprint time, resulting in a 1.9% increase in speed.

Conclusions:

Those who train athletes for speed should use or develop overspeed hills with slopes of approximately 5.8° to maximize acute sprinting speed. The results of this study bring into question previous recommendations to use hills of 3° downhill slope for this form of overspeed training.

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William P. Ebben

Purpose:

The purpose of this study was to evaluate differences in hamstring activation during lower body resistance training exercises. This study also sought to assess differences in hamstring-to-quadriceps muscle activation ratios and gender differences therein.

Methods:

A randomized repeated measures design was used to compare six resistance training exercises that are commonly believed to train the hamstrings, including the squat, seated leg curl, stiff leg dead lift, single leg stiff leg dead lift, good morning, and Russian curl. Subjects included 34 college athletes. Outcome measures included the biceps femoris (H) and rectus femoris (Q) electromyography (EMG) and the H-to-Q EMG ratio, for each exercise.

Results:

Main effects were found for the H (P < 0.001) and Q (P < 0.001). Post hoc analysis identified the specific differences between exercises. In addition, main effects were found for the H-to-Q ratio when analyzed for all subjects (P < 0.001). Further analysis revealed that women achieved between 53.9 to 89.5% of the H-to-Q activation ratios of men, for the exercises assessed. In a separate analysis of strength matched women and men, women achieved between 35.9 to 76.0% of the H-to-Q ratios of men, for these exercises.

Conclusions:

Hamstring resistance training exercises offer differing degrees of H and Q activation and ratios. Women compared with men, are less able to activate the hamstrings and/or more able to activate the quadriceps. Women may require disproportionately greater training for the hamstrings compared with the quadriceps.

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Timothy J. Suchomel, Kimitake Sato, Brad H. DeWeese, William P. Ebben and Michael H. Stone

The purposes of this study were to examine the effect of ballistic concentric-only half-squats (COHS) on subsequent squat-jump (SJ) performances at various rest intervals and to examine the relationships between changes in SJ performance and bilateral symmetry at peak performance. Thirteen resistance-trained men performed an SJ immediately and every minute up to 10 min on dual force plates after 2 ballistic COHS repetitions at 90% of their 1-repetition-maximum COHS. SJ peak force, peak power, net impulse, and rate of force development (RFD) were compared using a series of 1-way repeated-measures ANOVAs. The percent change in performance at which peak performance occurred for each variable was correlated with the symmetry index scores at the corresponding time point using Pearson correlation coefficients. Statistical differences in peak power (P = .031) existed between rest intervals; however, no statistically significant pairwise comparisons were present (P > .05). No statistical differences in peak force (P = .201), net impulse (P = .064), and RFD (P = .477) were present between rest intervals. The relationships between changes in SJ performance and bilateral symmetry after the rest interval that produced the greatest performance for peak force (r = .300, P = .319), peak power (r = –.041, P = .894), net impulse (r = –.028, P = .927), and RFD (r = –.434, P = .138) were not statistically significant. Ballistic COHS may enhance SJ performance; however, the changes in performance were not related to bilateral symmetry.

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Douglas O. Blackard and William P. Ebben