Acute Effect on Power Output of Alternating an Agonist and Antagonist Muscle Exercise During Complex Training

Document Type

Journal Article


National Strength and Conditioning Association


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Science




Baker, D. G., & Newton, R. (2005). Acute effect on power output of alternating an agonist and antagonist muscle exercise during complex training. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 19(1), 202-205.


The efficient coordination of agonist and antagonist muscles is one of the important early adaptations in resistance training responsible for large increases in strength. Weak antagonist muscles may limit speed of movement; consequently, strengthening them leads to an increase in agonist muscle movement speed. However, the effect of combining agonist and antagonist muscle exercises into a power training session has been largely unexplored. The purpose of this study was to determine if a training complex consisting of contrasting agonist and antagonist muscle exercises would result in an acute increase in power output in the agonist power exercise. Twenty-four college-aged rugby league players who were experienced in combined strength and power training served as subjects for this study. They were equally assigned to an experimental (Antag) or control (Con) group and were no different in age, height, body mass, strength, or maximal power. Power output was assessed during bench press throws with a 40-kg resistance (BT P40) with the Plyometric Power System training device. After warming up, the Con group performed the BT P40 tests 3 minutes apart to determine if any acute augmentation to power output could occur without intervention. The Antag group also performed the BT P40 tests; however, an intervention strategy of a set of bench pulls, which is an antagonistic action to the bench throw, was performed between tests to determine if this would acutely affect power output during the second BT P40 test. Although the power output for the Con group remained unaltered between test occasions, the significant 4.7% increase for the Antag group indicates that a strategy of alternating agonist and antagonist muscle exercises may acutely increase power output during complex power training. This result may affect power training and specific warm-up strategies used in ballistic sports activities, with increased emphasis placed upon the antagonist muscle groups.

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