Increases in bench throw power output when combined with heavier bench press plus accommodating chains resistance during complex training

Document Type

Journal Article


Australian Strength and Conditioning Association


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Science




Baker, D. (2009). Increases in bench throw power output when combined with heavier bench press plus accommodating chain resistance during complex training. Journal of Australian Strength and Conditioning, 17(1), 3-11. Available here


Contrasting resistance complex (CRC) training is the alternating of sets of heavier and lighter resistances in an effort to evoke an acute increase in power output while lifting the lighter resistance. Researchers have typically utilized near maximal resistances (> 85% 1RM) for the heavy “neural stimulation” set coupled with resistances of 30-45% 1RM for the “power” set in biomechanically similar exercises (e.g. bench press and bench throw). Results have been equivocal for upper body studies that have used these recommended resistances. However, other researchers have suggested that the heavy neural stimulation set be a medium-heavy resistance of 60-75+% 1RM and could also incorporate an accommodating resistance that varies throughout the range of movement to garner better power output responses during CRC. The purpose of this study was to determine if upper body power output would be affected when combined with a medium-heavy, accommodating resistance exercise during CRC training. Seven professional rugby league players volunteered to perform a CRC consisting of four sets of three repetitions each of bench throws with 60 kg (BT P60) alternated with narrow grip bench presses with additional chains resistance (BP+CH, 90-95 kg, 65% 1RM plus additional chains resistance of 17.5 kg, 12 % 1RM). Mean concentric power output during bench throws, whether expressed as the best repetition in a set or across the set as a whole increased by 3.4-7.7%. These results illustrate that CRC training is effective in acutely increasing power output when these strategies are employed. Furthermore, short rest periods of around 90 seconds between each set within the complex are sufficient if appropriate CRC training guidelines are followed.