Blazevich, A. (2012). Are training velocity and movement pattern important determinants of muscular rate of force development enhancement? European Journal of Applied Physiology, DOI 10.1007/s00421-012-2352-6 (2 pp.).

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The author evaluates the contentions of a study that showed rate of force development did not improve after training on activities that did not replicate the testing exercise. If one does not take into account the specificity of adaptations to strength training, then the equivocal results that prevail in the overall literature should be expected.

The author concludes:

Given the discrepancy between the commonly held perception that higher-speed (probably non-fatiguing) training should yield greater improvements in RFD and the published data (which do not show this to be the case) more research is clearly required. Until the true nature of the effect of strength training on RFD is known, future research studies should ensure that some form of body position-specific testing is done to more accurately monitor the changes in RFD with strength training (p. 2).

It has long been known that strength training effects are very specific (they usually only affect the strength of the training exercises). The belief that strength training on land will transfer beneficial effects to water sports is not supported in theory or empirical research. One of the most desirable effects of strength training that is hoped for is that athlete's speed will be improved, ostensibly through improvements in rates of force development practiced in the training. Blazevich clearly enunciates the need for criterion exercises to replicate or very closely replicate the training exercises for effects produced by strength training to be revealed. Since strength training exercises rarely, if ever, replicate i) the musculature used in criterion exercises/sports, ii) the rates of force development, iii) the types of muscle contractions, or iv) the locus of movements of the criterion exercises/sports, one should expect transfer effects to a sport to be caused only by a placebo effect in the initial stages and no benefit after the placebo effect has abated.

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