A Comparison of Training With a Velocity Loss Threshold or to Repetition Failure on Upper-Body Strength Development in Professional Australian Footballers

Purpose: To compare resistance training using a velocity loss threshold with training to repetition failure on upper-body strength parameters in professional Australian footballers. Methods: A total of 26 professional Australian footballers (23.9 [4.2] y, 189.9 [7.8] cm, 88.2 [8.8] kg) tested 1-repetition-maximum strength (FPmax) and mean barbell velocity at 85% of 1-repetition maximum on floor press (FPvel). They were then assigned to 2 training groups: 20% velocity loss threshold training (VL; n = 12, maximum-effort lift velocity) or training to repetition failure (TF; n = 14, self-selected lift velocity). Subjects trained twice per week for 3 weeks before being reassessed on FPmax and FPvel. Training volume (total repetitions) was recorded for all training sessions. No differences were present between groups on any pretraining measure. Results: The TF group significantly improved FPmax (105.2-110.9 kg, +5.4%), while the VL group did not (107.5-109.2 kg, +1.6%) (P > .05). Both groups significantly increased FPvel (0.38-0.46 m·s-1, +19.1% and 0.37-0.42 m·s-1, +16.7%, respectively) with no between-groups differences evident (P > .05). The TF group performed significantly more training volume (12.2 vs 6.8 repetitions per session, P > .05). Conclusions: Training to repetition failure improved FPmax, while training using a velocity loss threshold of 20% did not. Both groups demonstrated similar improvements in FPvel despite the VL group completing 45% less total training volume than the TF group. The reduction in training volume associated with implementing a 20% velocity loss threshold may negatively impact the development of upper-body maximum strength while still enhancing submaximal movement velocity.

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