Neural and performance adaptations following strength vs. power loading methodologies

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University of New Brunswick


Muscular power is highly regarded as being one of the key variables in sport performance (Wilson, Newton, Murphy, & Humphries, 1993), and traditionally power has been trained using a low load/high velocity loading strategy, whereas strength training has traditionally used a high load/low velocity loading strategy. The purpose of this research was to investigate the neural, power, strength, and performance adaptations associated with power and strength loading methodologies. Sixteen males and one female (23.3 ± 3.4 yrs.; 178.5± 8.2 cm, 80.7 ± 9.6 kg) were randomly assigned to two groups: a maximum strength group; and a maximum peak average power group. Each participant group completed an eight-week training program. Assessments of muscular force, power, neural adaptations, body composition and rate of force development were performed at the beginning and end of the eight-week training period. Significant differences from pre-to-post training were observed in both groups (P < 0.05). There were no significant differences between groups for any variable. Variables included one-repetition maximum back squat, body fat percentage, thigh area, lean body mass, squat peak average power, squat peak power, ten-meter sprint, counter-movement jump, and rate of force development from 0 to 50ms and from 50 to 100ms of isometric knee extension. No significant differences were observed in maximal voluntary contraction of isometric knee extension, peak average velocity in the squat, peak velocity in the squat, central activation, or hamstring to quadriceps co-activation ratio. It can be concluded from this research that there are no significant differences between these two loading methodologies in the aforementioned variables, and that strength and peak average power loading methodologies produce statistically similar results following an eight-week training period.