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Article Title

WHAT IS FAST? COMPARING PRE-DETERMINED, SELF-SELECTED, AND MAXIMAL VELOCITY CONCENTRIC DURATION IN THE BENCH PRESS

Abstract

Matthew J. Hermes1, Jonathan D. Miller1, & Andrew C. Fry1

1The University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas

Repetition velocity is important to consider when designing strength training programs; however, disagreement exists as to what qualifies as fast and slow velocities. Many studies comparing fast and intentionally slow training use pre-determined repetition durations, which may not represent volitional or maximal movement speeds. How a self-selected velocity compares to maximal velocity or pre-determined repetition durations is unknown. PURPOSE: To compare concentric velocity between repetitions of the bench press (BP) performed at self-selected and maximal velocities as well as repetitions performed with predetermined 1 and 3 second durations. METHODS: Recreationally trained males (X±SD; n = 15, age = 24.1±3.7 yrs, height = 173.7±10.8 cm, mass = 89.0±13.2 kg, 1RM = 109.6±21.2 kg) completed BP 1RM testing. After ≥ 48 hours, participants completed 3 repetitions each separated by 2 minutes rest at four different concentric durations with 50% 1RM loads: 3-second (3SEC), 1-second (1SEC), self-selected (SELF), and maximal velocity (MAXV). Barbell center of mass (COM) displacement was collected with a linear position transducer sampling at 1000 Hz. The concentric phase was defined as lowest to highest barbell COM. Mean concentric velocity (MCV) was calculated as barbell displacement divided by concentric duration. A repeated-measures ANOVA with Bonferroni corrections was used to assess differences in duration, COM displacement, and MCV between conditions (p<0.05). RESULTS: SELF (0.71±0.20 sec) was faster (p<0.001, g=1.37) than 1SEC (1.1±0.09 sec), but slower (p<0.001, g=0.98) than MAXV (0.52±0.05 sec). Differences in concentric duration were found for all conditions, aside from between 1RM and 3SEC (p=1.000, g=0.186). Displacement was different between MAXV and 1RM (p=0.031, g=0.90), MAXV and 3SEC (0<0.001, g=1.42), and MAXV and 1SEC (p<0.001, g=1.57). MCV between all conditions was different (p<0.05, g=1.20-7.28), aside from between 1RM and 3SEC (p=0.274, g=0.62). CONCLUSION: Though often described as fast, 1SEC was significantly slower than SELF and MAXV durations, suggesting it is outside normal or fast conditions. Even when external load is constant, repetition velocity and duration should be considered by researchers and practitioners, as this may influence acute performance and adaptation.

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