Resistance Training Priming Activity Improves Upper-Body Power Output in Rugby Players: Implications for Game Day Performance

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Mason, BRJ, Argus, CK, Norcott, B, and Ball, NB. Resistance training priming activity improves upper-body power output in rugby players: implications for game day performance. J Strength Cond Res 31(4): 913–920, 2017—“Priming” or preactivation strategies performed in the hours leading into competition have been suggested to improve game day performance. Therefore, this study assessed the effectiveness of a resistance training priming activity on eliciting changes in lower- and upper-body power output, along with perceptual measures. To assess these changes, 13 state-level rugby players (aged 18.5 ± 0.5 years) completed a test–retest protocol using a counterbalanced crossover design. Perceptual (readiness to perform questionnaire) and performance measures (20-kg countermovement jump [CMJ], 20-kg bench throw) were completed before either a control (rest) or priming activity (4 sets of 3 banded back squats and banded bench press). After a 1-hour and 45-minute recovery period, perceptual and performance measures were repeated. Readiness to perform showed no meaningful differences pre- and postintervention. Bench throw peak power (8.5 ± 5.8%, 90% confidence limit; p ≤ 0.05) improved after the priming activity when compared with the control trial. Countermovement jump peak power (3.4 ± 4.9%; p > 0.05) had a small decrease after the priming activity when compared with the control trial. Therefore, completing a priming activity 1 hour and 45 minutes before competition is recommended to improve upper-body power output. However, further research into lower-body priming protocols should be conducted before implementing a lower-body priming activity before competition.

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