Nicholas Cullen-CarrollƗ1, Rebecca D. Larsonǂ1, and Jason Campbellǂ1 1 University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma

Unstable load training combines traditional resistance exercises with an irregular load apparatus and can include equipment such as bands, chains, plates, dumbbells, kettlebells, and oscillating barbells. Unstable loads have demonstrated an increase in EMG compared with traditional loads. Due to the nature of sport being a variety of open and closed chain activities with arrays of stable and unstable loading parameters, this style of training may result in changes in performance. PURPOSE: To determine the practical contributions of unstable load training toward the performance of the vertical jump and the back squat in college-aged players. METHODS: Eight male collegiate rugby athletes were randomly assigned to either a traditional back squat training group (TBS, n=4) or unstable back squat training group (UBS, n=4). Pre and post-testing included a 3-repetition maximum (3RM) in the back squat and 3 maximum countermovement jumps using dual force plates. All subjects performed progressive overload training for 9 resistance training sessions which were separated by 48 hours of recovery. Each training session included a 15-minute dynamic and movement specific warm-up followed by a prescribed intensity ranging from 72.5-92.5 %, a prescribed number of repetitions between 3-5, and a prescribed number of sets from 3-5. Participants were given 2-4 minutes of rest between sets. Repeated measure analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to determine the training effects. A-priori significance was set at pRESULTS: Between group comparisons for 3RM back squat revealed no statistical difference (p>0.05). Within groups comparisons elicited statistical improvements for UBS (pre: 146.5±38.91kg; post: 160.5±35.82kg; p=0.013) and TBS (pre: 140±20.41kg; post: 150±17.07; p=0.047). Between and within group comparisons for concentric peak force, peak power, flight time, and countermovement jump height conveyed no statistical difference (p>0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Unstable load training in the back squat seems to be an effective alternative for increasing back squat performance similar to using traditional loads in male collegiate ruby players and may help satisfy exercise variety in program design. More researched is warranted utilizing a larger battery of performance test and a greater number of subjects.

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