The effects of resistance training prioritization in NCAA Division I Football summer training

Robert A Smith, Gerard J Martin, Tunde K Szivak, Brett A Comstock, Courtenay Dunn-Lewis, David R Hooper, Shawn D Flanagan, David P Looney, Jeff S Volek, Carl M Maresh, William J Kraemer
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2014, 28 (1): 14-22
Resistance training (RT) is an integral part of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Football performance programs. In the sport of football, there are several components that a strength and conditioning coach must be aware of. These include body mass, size, strength, power, speed, conditioning, and injury prevention, among others. The purpose of this study was to investigate if the RT component of a performance program could be prioritized for specific results using a nonlinear training model, grouping athletes by eligibility year. The NCAA Division I football student athletes were placed into 3 separate groups based on the playing year. All subjects participated in a 10-week, 4 days·week-1 off-season summer resistance training program. The training of group 1 (n = 20, age: 18.95 ± 0.76 years, height: 186.63 ± 7.21 cm, body mass: 97.66 ± 18.17 kg, playing year: 1.05 ± 0.22 years) prioritized hypertrophy-based RT to gain body mass. The training of group 2 (n = 20, age: 20.05 ± 1.05 years, height: 189.42 ± 5.49 cm, body mass: 106.99 ± 13.53 kg, and playing year: 2.35 ± 0.75 years) prioritized strength-based RT to gain strength. The training of group 3 (n = 20, age: 21.05 ± 1.10 years, height: 186.56 ± 6.73 cm, body mass: 109.8 ± 19.96 kg, playing year: 4.4 ± 0.50 years) prioritized power-based RT to gain power. Performance tests were evaluated during the first weeks of March (Spring) and August (Fall). The test measures included body mass (kilograms), 1-repetition maximum (1RM) bench press (kilograms), 1RM back squat (kilograms), 1RM power clean (kilograms), and countermovement vertical jump (CMVJ) height (centimeters). The primary findings of this investigation were as follows: group 1 saw significant increases in bench press maximum, back squat maximum, and power clean maximum (p ≤ 0.05). Group 2 saw significant increases in bench press maximum, back squat maximum, and power clean maximum (p ≤ 0.05). Group 3 saw a significant increase in power clean maximum (p ≤ 0.05). Group 1's significant increases were expected because of their low training age relatively shorter training history when compared with Groups 2 and 3. Group 1 did not see significant increases in body mass, with 7 out of 20 subjects being nonresponders. Group 2 and 3's significant increases were expected. Unexpectedly, no group saw significant increases in maximum CMVJ height. With so many factors that go into a football performance program contributing to football performance programing, it seems difficult to prioritize 1 RT goal over another without neglecting others during 10-week summer training program. Prioritization of strength appears to have the best overall affect on the RT portion of an off-season football performance program. Nonlinear periodization allows for the prioritization of 1 training goal without disregarding others with a smaller risk of neglecting other important components. This investigation showed that a performance program with a nonlinear model and prioritization on strength had produced the most desirable results.

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