A Novel Method to Determine Optimal Load in Elastic-Based Power Training

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Buskard, AN, Oh, J, Eltoukhy, M, Brounstein, SR, and Signorile, JF. A novel method to determine optimal load in elastic-based power training. J Strength Cond Res 32(9): 2401–2408, 2018—The benefits of muscular power on sport performance and older adults' abilities to live independently and resist falls is well documented. Consequently, a substantial volume of research has focused on establishing the optimal loading patterns for improving muscular power using resistance exercise; however, to date, this research has only targeted optimal loading during training with free weights or selectorized exercise machines. Conversely, no approach has been developed to establish optimal loads for elastic modalities, such as tubes and bands, commonly used for sports rehabilitation, injury prevention, and training older adults. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to evaluate a new method for determining the optimal tubes to use in power training performed with elastic resistance. Thirty-eight recreationally active college students (age, 23.7 ± 4.5 years) were recruited to perform 3 single-arm bicep curls at a maximum intended velocity using 6 elastic tubes of varying resistance. Testing was performed in a 3-dimensional (3D) motion analysis laboratory using a specially constructed platform with an integrated strain gauge to which each tube was anchored. Force data from the strain gauge and velocity data from the 3D motion capture system were then used to compute power for each tube. An analysis based on individual’s cable arm curl 1-repetition maximum (1RM) was then used to generate general guidelines for the most appropriate tube to use for arm curl power training based on upper arm 1RM. Our results demonstrate the feasibility of using this methodology for other exercises, thereby establishing optimal tube use for power training based on each exercise's 1RM.

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