Biomechanics

The table below is a basic outline of what training protocol to follow to elicit specific outcomes.  

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Something to note about max tests: Most tests use relatively slow movement speeds and reflect slow-speed strength.  High-speed muscular strength can be assessed by measuring the 1RM of explosive resistance training exercises or the height of a vertical jump.  Phosphocreatine and TP stores from the active muscles supply the energy for both types of tests.  Explosive, max power tests take about 1 second, and low-speed max strength tests take about 2-4 seconds.  

Max Muscular Strength: slow-speed muscular strength is related to the force a muscle or group of muscles can produce in one maximum effort while maintaining proper form.  A 1RM is quantified by the maximum weight that can be lifted once, and is calculated for exercises like a bench press or back squat.  

  • Max effort at a slow speed
  • Test design: maximum force is exerted isometrically or at a particular speed.  No special equipment is required, making it the more accessible and more common test used.  Tests are performed after the athlete is warmed up by performing the test exercise at a low percentage of their predicted maximum load.  The athlete will attempt the exercise until the 1RM is found, taking rests for about 1-5 minutes following each attempt.  The 1RM should be found within 3-5 attempts; the results could be compromised by the athlete's fatigue if they continue beyond that.

Max Muscular Power: high-speed strength, or max anaerobic muscular power, is related to the ability of a muscle or group of muscles to exert high force while contracting at high speeds.  Proper form is still important during these tests for safety reasons. 

  • High force at high speed
  • Test design: very short duration, performed at maximum movement speed, and produce very high power outputs.  There are multiple exercises that qualify as a maximum muscular power test, all with different test protocols.
  • Types of exercises: 1RM of explosive exercises (power clean, snatch, push jerk), the height of a vertical jump, and the time to sprint up a staircase.  Cycle ergometer can also be used if the athlete suffered an injury or is  unable to run.
  • Power output reflects both force and velocity, so test results and improvements might not seem obvious.
    • An athlete's vertical jump might not improve after gaining body weight during resistance training, making it seem like the power output is unchanged.  But its actually improved because because they're propelling a heavier body weight to the same height.  Moving a heavier body at the same speed requires a heavier power output.