During most sport situations, there is <300ms time to develop force. For example, the ground contact during sprinting is around 100ms and the delivery phase of javelin throwing is around 120ms [1]. The capability to rapidly develop force is therefore of paramount importance for successful performance.

Resistance training is frequently performed to improve rapid force development. However, the effectiveness of this training is usually assessed in movements that not specifically replicate the sports movements. For example, rapid force development is frequently assessed in single-joint isokinetic (constant velocity, but changing external load) movements, while most sports movements are characterized as multi-joint and isoinertial (changing velocity, but constant external load).

In a new systematic review, we have therefore investigated the effectiveness of resistance training at improving rapid force development in unloaded, dynamic, isoinertial, multi-joint movements [2]. Stated more simply, we have investigated whether doing squatting and/or weightlifting can make you produce force faster during movements such as jumping, throwing or sprinting. We also investigated whether this effect differed between untrained and recreationally trained individuals and well-trained individuals.

The results of the review suggest that resistance training can be effective at improving rapid force development, although the effect is more limited than commonly assumed. Additionally, the magnitude of the improvement was usually smaller for well-trained individuals suggesting that resistance training was less effective in these individuals.

“Resistance training may improve rapid force development in unloaded, dynamic, isoinertial, multi-joint movements”

 

Heavy weight in resistance training to improve rate of force development

Conclusion

These findings suggest that resistance training may improve rapid force development in movements that are characterized as unloaded, dynamic, isoinertial and multi-joint (i.e., most sports and daily living movements).

How can we improve the effectiveness of resistance training on rapid force development? Likely by more specifically replicating the sports movement to maximize the transfer of training and to prevent decreases in performance.

Practical applications
To maximize the transfer of training, special attention should be paid to:

Specifically train intermuscular coordination patterns. Single-joint training for bi-articular muscles may have negative effects on intermuscular coordination, hereby limiting performance. See also another recent blog on this topic for more details.
Bilateral vs unilateral activities. Sports such as soccer, football and hockey involve primarily unilateral force production of the legs and unilateral training may more specifically replicate the demands of these sports than bilateral activities.
Countermovement vs no countermovement. Performing a countermovement takes time and in many sports situations there is no time to perform a larger countermovement. Training should therefore attempt to minimize the amplitude of the countermovement.

Request the full-text of the review for free here
Official publisher site here

References

  1. Zatsiorsky VM. Biomechanics of strength and strength training. In: Komi PV, editor. Strength and power in sport. 2nd ed. Champaign (IL): Blackwell Science Ltd; 2003. p. 439-87.
  2. Van Hooren, B., Bosch, F., & Meijer, K. (2017). Can resistance training enhance the rapid force development in unloaded dynamic isoinertial multi-joint movements? A systematic review. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research31(8), 2324-2337.
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The effect of resistance training on rapid force development

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