I. Fields, N. Rolls, C. Dorsing, M. Bertelli, and W. M. Silvers

Whitworth University, Spokane, WA

Percussive Massage Therapy (PMT) is a manual massage technique that applies rapid, high-frequency, compressive pressure into muscle tissue. PMT has been used extensively for recovery and post-exercise rehabilitation of muscle tissue. Pre-exercise PMT has been indicated to prepare muscles for increased performance. PURPOSE: The purpose of the study was to determine if PMT would improve acute performance for the Pro Bench Test. It was hypothesized that PMT would acutely improve Pro Bench Test Performance. METHODS: Nineteen male football players (20.1 ± 1.1 yrs; 98.9 ± 14.9 kg; 183.9 ± 6.6 cm) were recruited from a division III school. All participants performed the Pro Bench Test to establish baseline performance in a familiarization session. Two test sessions were then performed one week apart, which consisted of the same warm-up routine prior to the Pro Bench Test. For one test session, participants received PMT application, while the other test session did not include PMT. The order of PMT treatment was randomly assigned to the sessions for each participant. Participants had PMT (31.6 Hz, 12 mm) applied for 45 sec on each pectoralis major muscle (90 sec total) immediately after the warmup. Participants then immediately performed the Pro Bench Test. The total number of repetitions (reps) completed for each session was recorded. A dependent group t-test (p ≤ 0.05) was utilized to evaluate the existence of significant differences between experimental conditions. RESULTS: A statistical difference (p = 0.37) was observed between PMT (11.2 ± 6.2 reps) and Control (11.8 ± 5.9 reps) conditions. CONCLUSION: Under these research conditions, PMT statistically improved Pro Bench Test repetitions. The primary causes for the observed results may have been due to: 1) increased muscle activation due to PMT, or 2) a learning effect across multiple sessions. Previous research has indicated improved range of motion (ROM) and reduction of stiffness due to PMT. The reduction of stiffness and increased ROM may be relevant to the present study, but it remains uncertain whether it affected Pro Bench Test performance since it was not measured. Further research is needed to investigate this, as well as mitigate the potential influence of a learning effect on the Pro Bench Test.

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