Skip to main content

Load knowledge reduces rapid force production and muscle activation during maximal-effort concentric lifts

Abstract

Purpose

Rapid force development is a key factor influencing performance and injury risk in movements where little time is available for force production; thus there is a need to develop interventions that enhance this ability. In the present study, the influence of load knowledge on mechanical output [rate of force development; (RFD) and power] and muscle activation [electromyographic (EMG) responses] in the concentric-only bench press throw exercise was studied.

Methods

Fifteen strength-trained individuals performed 6 sets of 6 maximal explosive repetitions in a single test session after extensive familiarization. In three of these sets the subjects were given knowledge about the load before each repetition (known condition; KC), whereas in the other three sets they were given no information (unknown condition; UC). In both conditions the loads were 30, 50 and 70 % of maximum, but condition and load orders were randomized.

Results

RFD (24–50 %) and power output (20–39 %) were significantly higher in UC in the early time intervals from movement onset (<150 ms). In addition, UC elicited greater EMG amplitudes in anterior deltoid both prior to movement onset (pre50–0 ms) and in the early time intervals (<100 ms) after movement onset, and in pectoralis major after movement onset (<100 ms).

Conclusions

UC resulted in a greater initial activation of the muscles and both a higher RFD and mechanical power output in the early phase of the movement under all loading conditions (30–70 % of maximum). UC appears to offer a novel neuromuscular stimulus, and further research on the effects of continued exposure is warranted.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6

Abbreviations

EMG:

Electromyographic

MVC:

Maximal voluntary contraction

MVIC:

Maximal voluntary isometric contraction

RER:

Rate of electromyographic rise

RFD:

Rate of force development

RM:

Repetition maximum

RMS:

Root mean square

References

  • Aagaard P (2003) Training-induced changes in neural function. Exerc Sport Sci Rev 31(2):61–67

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Aagaard P, Simonsen EB, Andersen JL, Magnuson P, Dyhre-Poulsen P (2002) Increased rate of force development and neural drive of human skeletal muscle following resistance training. J Appl Physiol 93:1318–1326

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Anderson KG, Behm DG (2004) Maintenance of EMG activity and loss of force output with instability. J Strength Cond Res 18(3):637–640

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Angelozzi M, Madama M, Corsica C, Calvisi V, Properzi G, McCaw ST, Cacchio G (2012) Rate of force development as an adjunctive outcome measure for return-to-sport decisions after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 42(9):772–780

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Barry BK, Warman GE, Carson RG (2005) Age-related differences in rapid muscle activation after rate of force development training of the elbow flexors. Exp Brain Res 162:122–132

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Blazevich AJ (2011) The stretch-shortening cycle (SSC). In: Cardinale M, Newton RU, Nosaka K (eds) Strength and conditioning: biological principles and practical applications. Wiley-Blackwell & Sons Ltd, Chichester, pp 209–221

    Google Scholar 

  • Blazevich AJ, Horne S, Cannavan D, Coleman DR, Aagaard P (2008) Effect of contraction mode of slow-speed resistance training on the maximum rate of force development in the human quadriceps. Muscle Nerve 38:1133–1146

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Butler D, Andersson GB, Trafimow J, Schipplein OD, Andriacchi TP (1993) The influence of load knowledge on lifting technique. Ergonomics 36:89–93

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Carpentier A, Duchateau J, Hainaut K (1999) Load-dependent muscle strategy during plantarflexions in humans. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 9:1–11

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Commisaris DA, Toussaint HM (1997) Load knowledge affects low-back loading and control of balance in lifting tasks. Ergonomics 40(5):559–575

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cormie P, McGuigan MR, Newton RU (2010) Adaptations in athletic performance after ballistic power versus strength training. Med Sci Sports Exerc 42(8):1582–1598

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Cormie P, McGuigan MR, Newton RU (2011) Developing maximal neuromuscular power. Sports Med 41(1):17–38

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • De Looze MP, Boeken-Kruger MC, Steenhuizen S, Baten CT, Kingma I, Van Dieen JH (2000) Trunk muscle activation and low back loading in lifting in the absence of load knowledge. Ergonomics 3:333–344

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Duchateau J, Baudry S (2014) Maximal discharge rate of motor units determines the maximal rate of force development during ballistic contractions in human. Front Hum Neurosci 8:234

    PubMed Central  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Duchateau J, Enoka RM (2011) Human motor unit recordings: origins and insight into the integrated motor system. Brain Res 1409:42–61

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Earle RW, Baechle TR (2004) NSCA’s essentials of personal training. Human Kinetics, Champaign

    Google Scholar 

  • Enoka RM (1995) Morphological features and activation patterns of motor units. J Clin Neurophysiol 12(6):538–559

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • González-Badillo JJ, Marques MC (2010) Relationships between kinematic factors and countermovement jump height in trained track and field athletes. J Strength Cond Res 24(12):3443–3447

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • González-Badillo JJ, Sánchez-Medina L (2010) Movement velocity as a measure of load intensity in resistance training. Int J Sports Med 31:347–352

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Harris G, Stone M, O’Bryant H, Proulx C, Johnson R (2000) Short-term performance effects of high power, high force, or combined weight-training methods. J Strength Cond Res 14(1):14–20

    Google Scholar 

  • Heckman CJ, Enoka RM (2012) Motor unit. Compr Physiol 2:2629–2682

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Heggelund J, Fimland MS, Helgerud J, Hoff J (2013) Maximal strength training improves work economy, rate of force development, and maximal strength more than conventional strength training. Eur J Appl Physiol 113(6):1565–1573

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Jordan MJ, Aagaard P, Herzog W (2015) Rapid hamstrings/quadriceps strength in ACL-reconstructed elite alpine ski racers. Med Sci Sports Exerc 47(1):109–119

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Kurtzer IL, Pruszynski JA, Scott SH (2008) Long-latency reflexes of the human arm reflect an internal model of limb dynamics. Curr Biol 18:449–453

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Latash ML (1994) Control of fast elbow movement: a study of electromyographic patterns during movements against unexpectedly decreased inertial loads. Exp Brain Res 98:145–152

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Marques MC, Izquierdo M (2014) Kinematic and kinetic associations between vertical jump performance and 10 meters sprint time. J Strength Cond Res 28(8):2366–2371

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Marras WS, Rangarajulu SL, Lavender SA (1987) Trunk loading and expectation. Ergonomics 30(3):551–562

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • McBride JM, Triplett-McBride T, Davie A, Newton RU (2002) The effect of heavy- vs. light-load jump squats on the development of strength, power, and speed. J Strength Cond Res 16(1):75–82

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • McCaw ST, Friday JJ (1994) A comparison of muscle activity between a free weight and machine bench press. J Strength Cond Res 8(4):259–264

    Google Scholar 

  • Müller R, Grimmer S, Blickhan R (2010) Running on uneven ground: leg adjustments by muscle pre-activation control. Hum Mov Sci 29:299–310

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Müller R, Grimmer S, Blickhan R (2012) Muscle preactivation control: simulation of ankle joint adjustments at touchdown during running on uneven ground. J Appl Biomech 28:718–725

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Newton RU, Murphy AJ, Humphries BJ, Wilson GJ, Kraemer WJ, Hakkinen K (1997) Influence of load on stretch shortening cycle on the kinematics, kinetics and muscle activation that occurs during explosive upper-body movements. Eur J Appl Physiol 75:333–342

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Saetterbakken AH, Fimland MS (2013) Electromyographic activity and 6RM strength in bench press on stable and unstable surfaces. J Strength Cond Res 27(4):1101–1107

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shapiro MB, Gottlieb GL, Moore CG, Corcos DM (2002) Electromyographic responses to an unexpected load in fast voluntary movements: descending regulation of segmental reflexes. J Neurophysiol 88:1059–1063

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Shapiro MB, Gottlieb GL, Corcos DM (2004) EMG responses to an unexpected load in fast movements are delayed with an increase in the expected movement time. J Neurophysiol 91:2135–2147

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Tillin NA, Jimenez-Reyes P, Pain MT, Folland JP (2010) Neuromuscular performance of explosive power athletes versus untrained individuals. Med Sci Sports Exerc 42:781–790

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Van Cutsem M, Duchateau J (2005) Preceding muscle activity influences motor unit discharge and rate of torque development during ballistic contractions in humans. J Physiol 562(2):635–644

    PubMed Central  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Van Cutsem M, Duchateau J, Hainaut K (1998) Changes in single motor unit behaviour contribute to the increase in contraction speed after dynamic training in humans. J Physiol 1:295–305

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Waugh CM, Korff T, Fath F, Blazevich AJ (2014) Effects of resistance training on tendon mechanical properties and rapid force production in prepubertal children. Eur J Appl Physiol 117:257–266

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wilson GJ, Lyttle AD, Ostrowski KJ, Murphy AJ (1995) Assessing dynamic performance: a comparison of rate of force development tests. J Strength Cond Res 9(3):176–181

    Google Scholar 

  • Zebis MK, Andersen LL, Ellingsgaard H, Aagaard P (2011) Rapid hamstring/quadriceps force capacity in male vs female elite soccer players. J Strength Cond Res 25(7):1989–1993

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this study.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to J. L. Hernández-Davó.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that that they have no conflicts of interest.

Additional information

Communicated by Fausto Baldissera.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Hernández-Davó, J.L., Sabido, R., Moya-Ramón, M. et al. Load knowledge reduces rapid force production and muscle activation during maximal-effort concentric lifts. Eur J Appl Physiol 115, 2571–2581 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-015-3276-8

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-015-3276-8

Keywords

  • Power
  • Rate of force development
  • Neuromuscular adaptation
  • Strength