Strength and Conditioning Research the TL;DR version – May 2014


The effects of 8 weeks plyometrics training on upper and lower limb performance in Elite handball players.

  • 23 players engaded in an 8 week programme or a control group that performed regular training with no extra additives.
  • Plyometric group showed significant improvements in upperbody and lowerbody erg tests.
  • Plyometric group showed significant improvements in static and countermovment jump height.
  • They also showed higher relative power and faster sprint velocities as well as larger volume of the muscles of the thigh with no increased upper body mass.

TL;DR version if you want to jump higher, sprint faster and have better relative power outputs do some plyometrics training.

Bonus – Plyometrics training showed improved performances in Agility test, Jump height, reactive strength, broad jump and 2.4km time trail in Soccer players.

Effects if three stretching techniques on jump performance

The study looked at the effects of ballistic stretching, PNF and static stretching and PNF and ballistic stretching on jump performance.

Ballistic stretching on it’s own improved jump height for all participants where all other stretching techniques either improved it for only some or decreased it for others.

TL;DR if your warming up for an explosive activity ballistic stretching might be worth a look.

Factors that contribute to strength and work capacity

  • 295 recreationally trained males took part in the study (study calls it a large co-hort, sports science pls go).
  • Participants where split into high strength and low strength groups.
  • High strength group had higher levels of total mass and fat free mass.
  • They looked at their repping ability of 80% of their 1 RM to failure in both bench press and leg press.
  • Both groups managed 8.7 and 8.3 reps for the bench press and 15.6 and 17 reps in leg press sets to failure.  Non significant findings.
  • Exercise selection seems to determine work capacity not strength levels or fat/muscle mass levels.

TL;DR – Repping ability scales with strength whilst changes with exercise selection.

Effects of sled towing on sprint starts.

  • 10 men and 7 women court and field athletes completed 5 sprint starts using 10% and 20% of bodyweights.
  • 20% had greater ground reaction forces in both limbs where 10% showed greater GRF in only lead limb when compared to bodyweight.

TL;DR – 20% of bodyweight is sufficient load to increase the force demands of a sprint start and should be sufficient to induce a training response.

The effect of sodium Bicorbonate ingestion on back squat and bench press to failure.

  • 8 resistance trained men took part in the double blind random cross over design placebo controlled study.
  • They took placebo or Bicorbonate 60 mins before doing squat or bench to failure with 80% of their 1RM over 3 sets
  • 48 hours separated both conditions (placebo and experiment)
  • 31 reps for bicarbonate vs 15 reps for placebo (back squat = 28 vs 12 / bench press 26 vs 10).
  • There where significant findings for blood ph and HCO3 vs control.

TL;DR – ingestion of bicarbonate could potentially greatly enhance reps to failure in the first exercise of the session… in an 8 person trial that doesn’t report funding….