The response to, and recovery from maximum strength and power training in elite track and field athletes

Glyn Howatson, Raphael Brandon, Angus Hunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


There is a great deal of research on the responses to resistance training; however, information on the responses to strength and power training conducted by elite strength and power athletes is sparse. Purpose - To establish the acute and 24 hour neuromuscular and kinematic responses to Olympic-style barbell strength and power exercise in elite athletes. Methods - Ten elite track and field athletes completed a series of 3 back squat exercises each consisted of 4 x 5 repetitions. These were done as either strength or power sessions on separate days. Surface electromyography (sEMG), bar velocity and knee angle was monitored throughout these exercises and maximal voluntary contraction (MVC), jump height, central activation ratio (CAR) and lactate were measured pre, post and 24 hours thereafter. Results - Repetition duration, impulse and total work were greater (p<0.01) during strength sessions, with mean power being greater (p<0.01) following the power sessions. Lactate increased (p<0.01) following strength but not power sessions. sEMG increased (p<0.01) across sets for both sessions, with the strength session increasing at a faster rate (p<0.01) and with greater activation (p<0.01) by the end of the final set . MVC declined (p<0.01) following the strength and not the power session, which remained suppressed (p<0.05) 24 hours later; whereas CAR and jump height remained unchanged. Conclusion - A greater neuromuscular and metabolic demand following the strength and not power session is evident in elite athletes, which impaired maximal force production up to 24 hours. This is an important consideration for planning concurrent athletic training.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)356-362
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
Issue number3
Early online date26 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016


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