The aim of this study was to investigate the kinematics, kinetics, and neural activation of the traditional bench press movement performed explosively and the explosive bench throw in which the barbell was projected from the hands. Seventeen male subjects completed three trials with a bar weight of 45% of the subject's previously determined 1RM. Performance was significantly higher during the throw movement compared to the press for average velocity, peak velocity, average force, average power, and peak power. Average muscle activity during the concentric phase for pectoralis major, anterior deltoid, triceps brachii, and biceps brachii was higher for the throw condition. It was concluded that performing traditional press movements rapidly with light loads does not create ideal loading conditions for the neuromuscular system with regard to explosive strength production, especially in the final stages of the movement, because ballistic weight loading conditions where the resistance was accelerated throughout the movement resulted in a greater velocity of movement, force output, and EMG activity.
Robert U. Newton, Brendan J. Humphries, and Aron J. Murphy are with the Centre for Exercise Science and Sport Management, Southern Cross University, P.O. Box 157, Lismore NSW 2480, Australia. William J. Kraemer is with the Center for Sports Medicine, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802. Keijo Häkkinen is with the Department of Biology of Physical Activity, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland.