FAILURE OF STRENGTH TRAINING TO IMPROVE THROWING VELOCITY
Bloomfield, J., Blanksby, B. A., Ackland, T. R., & Allison, G. T. (1990). The influence of strength training on overhead throwing velocity of elite water polo players. Australian Journal of Sience and Medicine in Sport, 22(3), 63-67.
The relationship between muscular strength and morphology with overhead throwing velocity was examined in elite water polo players (N = 21). A strength training and no-training control group were formed.
An 8-week program using "Nautilus" equipment and emphasizing upper body strength development was employed. Regular swimming and game practice continued.
Significant relationships were found between throwing velocity and standing height, body mass, lean body mass, stem length, bicromial width, arm girth, and forearm extension strength.
Following strength training, no change in throwing velocity was observed in either group. In the strength training group there were significant increases in arm girth, mesomorphy, and arm medial rotation strength.
The authors explained the results this way:
"It is more likely that this homogeneous group of elite water polo players already possessed optimum levels of upper body strength . . . and that diminished strength returns were gained from the extra training. More substantial strength gains would have been expected from players of lower calibre with poorer overall physiques." (p. 67)
Implication. The study really shows strength training on unrelated activities does not improve speed actions. Strength training had no carry over to the skill tested because it was neither neuromuscularly nor modality specific.
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