Time constraints in the applied sports setting make fitting strength training sessions into the schedule fairly difficult for teams from a variety of sports. For example, in sports like soccer, it is common to hold resistance training sessions right on the field before practice. Many basketball teams have the fortune of having their weight room in the same facility, but often lifts are still performed before practices.
One of the drawbacks to holding lifts before a practice sessions is the potential acute effects on performance variables. Simply put, after a bout of resistance training, athletes can be relatively fatigued. This can effect performance levels in practice and ultimately take away from much needed skill development.
The type of training; amount of volume and intensity; as well as rest periods provided can all have an impact on the acute effects on performance caused by a bout of resistance training. This was demonstrated nicely in a new study by Freitas et al. in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. A team of semi-professional basketball players were put through a strength-based training circuit and a power based training circuit on two separate occasions before a practice session. The sessions were matched for exercises and rest periods and differed only in intensity. The strength workout involved heavier loads (6RM) and the power workout involved lighter loads (i.e., 45% of 1RM) performed with maximum-intended concentric speed. Before and after each of these workouts, the researchers tested various performance metrics on all the athletes. This included vertical and horizontal jumps, 3-point shooting accuracy, repeated-sprint ability, agility and upper-body power output. The purpose was to determine the acute effects that each training session had on performance outcomes.
The results showed that the strength-based training workout had the largest negative effect on acute performance. All performance variables were significantly lower than baseline (p<0.05), only following the strength workout. In contrast, there were no significant differences in performance measures following the power-based session compared to baseline. Lastly, performance measures were all significantly higher following the power-based session compared to the strength based session. The authors conclude that unless the goal is to have the athletes practice under fatigued conditions, power-based training may be preferable preceding practice sessions.
Freitas TT. (2015) Acute effects of two different resistance circuit training protocols on performance and perceived exertion in semi-professional basketball players. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Ahead of Print.