Sports Medicine

, Volume 44, Issue 12, pp 1693–1702 | Cite as

Increases in Lower-Body Strength Transfer Positively to Sprint Performance: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis

  • Laurent B. Seitz
  • Alvaro Reyes
  • Tai T. Tran
  • Eduardo Saez de Villarreal
  • G. Gregory Haff
Systematic Review



Although lower-body strength is correlated with sprint performance, whether increases in lower-body strength transfer positively to sprint performance remain unclear.


This meta-analysis determined whether increases in lower-body strength (measured with the free-weight back squat exercise) transfer positively to sprint performance, and identified the effects of various subject characteristics and resistance-training variables on the magnitude of sprint improvement.


A computerized search was conducted in ADONIS, ERIC, SPORTDiscus, EBSCOhost, Google Scholar, MEDLINE and PubMed databases, and references of original studies and reviews were searched for further relevant studies. The analysis comprised 510 subjects and 85 effect sizes (ESs), nested with 26 experimental and 11 control groups and 15 studies.


There is a transfer between increases in lower-body strength and sprint performance as indicated by a very large significant correlation (r = −0.77; p = 0.0001) between squat strength ES and sprint ES. Additionally, the magnitude of sprint improvement is affected by the level of practice (p = 0.03) and body mass (r = 0.35; p = 0.011) of the subject, the frequency of resistance-training sessions per week (r = 0.50; p = 0.001) and the rest interval between sets of resistance-training exercises (r = −0.47; p ≤ 0.001). Conversely, the magnitude of sprint improvement is not affected by the athlete’s age (p = 0.86) and height (p = 0.08), the resistance-training methods used through the training intervention, (p = 0.06), average load intensity [% of 1 repetition maximum (RM)] used during the resistance-training sessions (p = 0.34), training program duration (p = 0.16), number of exercises per session (p = 0.16), number of sets per exercise (p = 0.06) and number of repetitions per set (p = 0.48).


Increases in lower-body strength transfer positively to sprint performance. The magnitude of sprint improvement is affected by numerous subject characteristics and resistance-training variables, but the large difference in number of ESs available should be taken into consideration. Overall, the reported improvement in sprint performance (sprint ES = −0.87, mean sprint improvement = 3.11 %) resulting from resistance training is of practical relevance for coaches and athletes in sport activities requiring high levels of speed.


Resistance Training Repetition Maximum Sprint Performance Sprint Time Plyometric Training 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Laurent B. Seitz and G. Gregory Haff contributed to the conception and design of the study, and writing of the manuscript. Laurent B. Seitz, Tai T. Tran and Eduardo Saez de Villarreal contributed to the development of the search strategy analysis and to the acquisition of data. Laurent B. Seitz and Alvaro Reyes contributed to the analysis and interpretation of data. All authors contributed to drafting the article or revising it critically. All authors approved the final version to be submitted. The authors declare no conflicts and financial competing interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laurent B. Seitz
    • 1
  • Alvaro Reyes
    • 2
  • Tai T. Tran
    • 4
  • Eduardo Saez de Villarreal
    • 3
  • G. Gregory Haff
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Exercise and Sports Sciences Research (CESSR), School of Exercise and Health SciencesEdith Cowan UniversityJoondalupAustralia
  2. 2.School of Medical SciencesEdith Cowan UniversityJoondalupAustralia
  3. 3.Laboratory of Human Performance, Faculty of SportUniversity Pablo de OlavideSevilleSpain
  4. 4.Hurley Surfing Australia High Performance CentreCasuarina BeachAustralia

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