When it comes to an athlete, the first

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Last updated: May 14, 2019

Whenit comes to an athlete, the first thing that comes to a mind is hisperformance. It usually being determined by two key factors: rate of forcedevelopment, ability to exert a big amount of force during short period oftime, and peak force, absolute maximum amount of force that can be generated.The perspective through which an athlete is being evaluated specificallydepends on activities that he is involved for example, explosive sprinting orvertical jumping.

Therefore, thereare ongoing debates whether (RFD) is better predictor of an athlete’sperformance compared to (PF). For instance, Weyand et al. 2000, found that rateof force that is applied to the ground during sprinting is related to how fastan athlete can run.

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In addition, Young W.B. 2014, findings also supported Weyandet al. 2000, results, stating that greater RFD is more important for a fasterrunning, while PF is more important at the starting phase of sprint. Otherstudies also support statement that athletes who are stronger and produce forcefaster achieve better results in explosive activity, where peak force didn’tshow significant difference (Dowling J.J & Vamos L. 1993, Tricoli et al.

2005, Kraska et al. 2009, Campillo et al. 2013, Marques et al.

2011). Incontrast, Kawamori et al. 2006, in his case study find out significantrelationship between (PF) and jump height, stating that peak force can be usedto assess athlete’s performance using maximal muscle strength.

On the otherhand, West et al. 2011 in his recent study with professional league playersfound out that both RFD and PF had significant correlation with sprinting timeand counter movement jump (CMJ) which leads to uncertainty which predictor ismore accurate and reliable.  Thus,the aim of this study was to figure out whether rate of force development (RFD)is a better predictor of performance compared to peak force (PF). It washypothesized that (RFD) will be directly related to a greater performance insprint, squat jump (SJ) and counter movement jump (CMJ). MethodsExperimentalApproach to the ProblemThemain purpose of this study was to investigate (RFD) as a potential predictor ofbetter performance in athletes.

To figure this out four different tests wereselected, who were thought to be most suitable for this research and met allcriteria: easy to access, easy to conduct and are safe. Pearson’s correlationwas used to process data. In this studyparticipated Middlesex university students with no or little experience inathletics.SubjectsTestinggroup consisted of twenty Middlesex students (N=20) males – 18 and females – 2of age (20.5 ± 1.

7), weight (107.7 ± 89.0) and height (75.6 ±13.

2). All participants were physical active and were not taking anysupplements at that time, also diet was not considered in testing results. Noneof participants had any injuries in past 3 years and were fully able to performall test without pain or discomfort. Every participant was informed withprotocols of testing and were taught how to correctly perform each task to getoptimal results. All testing subjects were asked to perform each test threetimes, and only maximal vales were taken in this study. During test none ofstudents reported any pain or discomfort. However, out of 20 participant’sdata, 3 were not readable, therefore couldn’t be assessed.

Final number ofsubjects were seventeen (n=17) of which males = 15 and females = 2 with resultsappropriate for analyzing.TestsAlltests were conducted within a period of one day in such an order (CMJ), (SJ),isometric squat and 20m sprint with at least 4min. rest in between each attempt(3 repetitions in total) and 10min. break in between each test.   CountermovementjumpTo get power of lower bodyextremities subjects performed countermovement jump on stationary force platein the laboratory. Each participant was informed to keep his/her hands-on hipsthroughout entire move (acceleration and landing phase) and dip to theirdesired depth followed by concentric phase without any break at the lowestpoint of squat to reach maximal jump height based on their bodyweight.

SquatjumpAnother lower body test wasconducted in form of squat jump. Desired value of this test was also the sameas from the countermovement jump maximal jump height. Participants had to standon a force plate with hands on the hips. Then they were asked to squat into 90°-degreeknee flexion position with straight back looking forward and hold it for threeseconds after which had to perform upward acceleration to reach maximal jumpheight. Subjects were asked to keep their hands all the time on the hips to getmost accurate readings and equalize everyone conditions.ReactiveForce Development and Peak ForceIsometric squat in a fixedrack on a force plate was conducted to find maximal (RFD) and (PF) of eachsubject. Bar was fixed at around chest height for every participant separately,so that knees would be at approximately 45°-degree flexion.

Grip of the bar wasset to be around slightly wider that shoulder width, legs were shoulder widthapart with a slight turn outwards. Subjects had to get into squat position andapply gentle force to the bar prior performing isometric squat, after threeseconds subjects were told to perform maximal push upwards, as they would doduring squat, and hold it for as long as possible to get the most accuratereadings. All data was recorded with (BioWare) program on a laptop. SprinttimeTo collect sprinting timeparticipants were asked to perform 20m sprints for 3 times in total at 100% oftheir effort.  At the start point wereplaced two timing gates and 20 meters away from them were placed finish linetiming gates to record full sprint time. Subjects were tested in indoor track,so no weather conditions would affect test results.

AnalysisTo analyze collected data forthis study, were used 2016 Microsoft Excel and Statistical Package for the SocialSciences (SPSS) programs.ResultsResultsgot from Pearson’s correlation has showed that neither peak force or reactiveforce development is a good performance predictor in this case, as they bothdidn’t show any significant differences between CMJ, SJ and sprinting time in allsubjects (p>0.05).

RFD has showed no significant relationship(p>0.05)   with countermovement jump height (r=0.726) (Table1.)  There was no significant difference (p>0.05)between subjects’ RFD and sprinting time (r=0.801) (Table 1).

Also, there was no significantdifference found (p>0.05) in RFD relationship with a squat jump (r=0.941) (Table1).

No significant relationship(p>0.05) was found between peak force of subjects and CMJ (r=0.656) (Table2).Peak force didn’t show anysignificant difference (p>0.05) in participants’ 20m sprint time (r=0.

475)(Table 2).No significant difference (p>0.05)was observed   between   PF and SJ (r=0.412) (Table 2).However,twosignificant differences (p<0.05) were found between  subjects' sprint time and squat jump (r=0.02)(Table 1,2)   and sprint time compared to CMJ (r=0.05) (Table1,2) which is irrelevant to this study case.

Table 1. Correlations between participants’ RFD and 20m sprint time, CMJ and SJ.     Table 2. Shows correlation between Peak Force and Sprint time, CMJ and SJ.              DiscussionThe main goal of this studywas to figure out whether reactive force development (RFD) is more superiorpredictor compared to the Peak Force (PF), when it comes to an athlete’s performance.As this study results showed there was no significant differences (p>0.05) beingfound in both predictors compared to sprint times, countermovement jumps andsquat jumps among all subjects. This can be due to subjects insufficient trainingexperience or unclear presented instructions how to perform each test individuallyand further or repetitive research is required.

Moreover, these results, contradictswith other findings (West et al. 2011, Tricoli et al. 2005, Hori et al.

2011), whichshow great RFD influence as valuable predictor on explosive movements. Also, thisstudy shows that neither one of both values can be used as reliable predictorsto evaluate athlete’s performance.     The main reason for that could benonsufficient quality of data that was observed during testing period.

Non-significantdifference (p>0.05) between reactive force development and all measures indicatesthat the amount of force that is being transferred to the ground in a short timeperiod is not enough to predict athlete’s performance, whilst in other studies werefound that RFD is one single best predictor when it comes to an explosive movement(West et al. 2011, Tricoli et al. 2005, Comfort P. 2011, Andersen L.

L & AagaardP. 2006, Moir et al. 2004) Thus, these findings deny theoretical approach toRFD, as it states that the more power is being produced over short time thegreater the outcome is which should appear in an increase in sprint speed, as morepower is being produced though out each stride and less time is being spent onthe ground (Marques et al. 2011, Weyand et al. 2000).

Furthermore, nosignificant differences (p>0.05) were observed between RFD and squat jump orcountermovement jump in all subjects, which leads to a possible conclusion thattesting were performed not in a right manner and should be repeated with rightinstructions and maximal effort. In addition, there were no significant relationship(p>0.

05) found between peak force and other variables, supporting otherresearch findings that PF is not that important for a performance prediction asit is being generated over prolonged period of time and almost every explosivemovement requires high force production as fast as possible.   Inconclusion, the main purpose of this study was to investigate if reactive forcedevelopment can be described as a better performance predictor when it comes toan athlete. However, results of present study showed no significant differencein any value, denying other findings, that proved RFD importance in performanceevaluation. Thus, present study can be validated as lacking quality data and furtherresearch might be necessary to complement or refuse recent study.

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