Assessing lower-body peak power in elite rugby-union players

Christos K Argus, Nicholas D Gill, Justin W L Keogh, Will G Hopkins
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2011, 25 (6): 1616-21
Resistance training at the load that maximizes peak power (Pmax) may produce greater increases in peak power than other loads. Pmax for lower-body lifts can occur with no loading but whether Pmax can be increased further with negative loading is unclear. The purpose of this investigation was therefore to determine lower-body Pmax (jump squat) using a spectrum of loads. Box squat 1 repetition maximum (1RM) was measured in 18 elite rugby-union players. Pmax was then determined using loads of -28 to 60%1RM. Elastic bands were used to unload body weight for negative loads. Jump squat Pmax occurred with no loading (body weight: 8,880 ± 2,186 W) in all but 2 subjects. There was a discontinuity in the power-load relationship for the jump squat, possibly because of the increased countermovement in the body weight jump. The self-selected depth (dip) before the propulsive phase of the jump was greater by 24 ± 11 to 40 ± 16% (moderate to large effect size) than all positive loads. These findings highlight methodological issues that need to be taken into consideration when comparing power outputs of loaded and unloaded jumps.

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