Year of Publication

2020

Date of Thesis

10-2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Exercise and Sport Sciences

Abstract

Strength and conditioning coaches are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of sport-specific movements when designing and implementing training programs for power development. The use of ballistic training (BT) for combat athletes, such as boxers, is growing in popularity, however there is a paucity of research on the effect of this method on punching kinetics and endurance. This study examined changes in punch kinetics and endurance following a six-week BT intervention. Forty-five participants (male n = 28, female n = 17; mean age = 28 ± 6.0 years, height = 1.8 ± .1 m, mass = 83.4 ± 15.2 kg) with a mean boxing experience of 11.3 ± 7.9 months were recruited for the study. Participants were sorted by self-reported boxing experience and then randomly assigned to either a control (CONTR) or experimental (BT) group. Participants in the BT group completed supervised training involving loaded ballistic exercises twice per week for six weeks. CONTR group participants completed supervised training twice per week for six weeks, with unloaded exercises performed at a slow and controlled tempo. Participants’ punch kinetics and endurance were examined before and after the 6-week training period using force plates. Results’ showed a 30% increase in maximum punch force (PFmax; p < 0.001) and a 44% increase in rate of force development (RFD; p < 0.001) in the BT group, throughout the 6-week training period. In contrast, CONTR group participants showed no change in PFmax and RFD over the course of the study. Increases in PFmax occurred despite no significant change in lead and rear foot forces. Although PFmax, the average of the PFmax across all punches within the first and third minutes, was shown to significantly increase in the BT group, a similar decrement in force output was observed between both groups post-intervention. Thus, BT exhibited little effect on punching endurance. The ability to produce high power outputs has been identified as a key variable in boxing performance. Consequently, power development should be a priority for strength coaches working with combat athletes. These coaches should consider how punch kinematics relates to force transmission. A distinct advantage of BT is its versatility as a training stimulus, whereby exercises aim to enhance force characteristics while replicating the movement patterns of the sporting task. The present data supports this notion and the inclusion of BT within a speed-strength phase prior to competition should be considered by coaches working with combat athletes.

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