The effects of bungy weight training on muscle function and functional performance

John Cronin, Peter J McNair, Robert N Marshall
Journal of Sports Sciences 2003, 21 (1): 59-71
Eccentric strength training is thought to be important for improving functional performance. A form of training that may enhance the eccentric training stimulus is the attachment of a rubber bungy to the strength-training apparatus in such a way that the return velocity and, therefore, the force required to decelerate the load at the end of the eccentric phase are increased. To determine the effects of elastic bungy training, we performed two studies. In the first, we examined the electromyographic (EMG) and kinematic characteristics of three different squat techniques: traditional squat, non-bungy jump squat and bungy jump squat. In the second study, we examined whether jump squat training with and without the attachment of a rubber bungy to an isoinertial supine squat machine affects muscle function, multidirectional agility, lunge ability and single leg jump performance. The EMG activity of the vastus lateralis and gastrocnemius muscles was recorded. An instrumented isoinertial supine squat machine was used to measure maximal strength and various force, velocity and power measures in both studies. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups: a control group and two weight-trained groups, one of which performed bungy squat jumps and one of which performed non-bungy squat jumps. The two experimental groups performed 10 weeks of ballistic weight training. The kinematic and EMG characteristics of the bungy and non-bungy squat techniques differed significantly from those of the traditional squat on all the variables measured. The only difference between the bungy squat and non-bungy squat training was greater EMG activity during the later stages (70-100%) of the eccentric phase of the bungy squat condition. The 10 weeks of bungy squat and non-bungy squat jump weight training were found to be equally effective in producing improvements in a variety of concentric strength and power measures (10.6-19.8%). These improvements did not transfer to improved performance for the single leg jump and multidirectional agility. However, bungy weight training did lead to a significant improvement in lunge performance (21.5%) compared with the other groups.

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