Traditionally, most teams would avoid doing any type of resistance training on the day of or before a competition. This is likely because coaches did not want to create any additional muscle damage, soreness or fatigue so that athletes would be feeling fresh and recovered leading into to the game. More recently, research is suggesting that some low volume resistance training can actually result in a “priming” effect that can increase testosterone levels and temporarily improve performance in physical tasks such as sprinting and jumping. However, the majority of research on “priming” has been done such that the training took place earlier in the day before an afternoon or evening match. Many teams will not have access to resistance training equipment on the day of a game, making this method of priming impractical. Whether a priming session performed on the day before the game has any impact on performance markers is unclear.
A new study published ahead of print in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research addressed this gap in the research by evaluating the effect of a brief power training session on explosive performance markers 24 and 48 hours later. A group of seventeen well-trained athletes were recruited to perform both the experimental and a control protocol in a randomized, counterbalanced design. Countermovement jump, reactive strength index from a drop jump, isometric leg press force and rate of force development were recorded at baseline before the intervention and again 24 and 48 hours post intervention or control (passive rest). The experimental workout involved 5 sets of 4 repetitions in the barbell jump-squat at 40% of 1 repetition maximum with 3 minutes rest between sets. Baseline and 24 and 48 hours post-training performance values were compared among and between conditions.
The results showed that compared to baseline, none of the performance variables were meaningfully improved. However, following the experimental protocol, countermovement jump showed an average improvement of 5.1% at 24 hours and 3% at 48 hours. In addition, reactive strength index was improved by an average of 10% at 24 hours post-intervention but returned to baseline by 48 hours. Rate of force development was increased between 9.7 – 18.3 % at 24 hours and returned toward baseline by 48 hours. Based on these findings, the authors recommend that coaches have their athletes perform a brief power-based workout on the day before a competition to improve explosive and reactive performance parameters.
Tsoukos, A., Veligekas, P., Brown, L. E., Terzis, G., & Bogdanis, G. C. (2017). Delayed effects of a low volume, power-type resistance exercise session on explosive performance. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. In Press.