Reliability of a novel testing protocol to assess upper-body strength qualities in elite athletes
Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the reliability of an isometric-bench-press (IBP) test performed across 4 elbow angles and a ballistic bench throw (BBT) using a relative load, as well as evaluating the reliability of the dynamic strength index (DSI: BBT peak force/IBP peak force). Methods: Twenty-four elite male athletes performed the IBP and a 45% 1-repetition-maximum BBT on 2 separate days with 48 h between testing occasions. Peak force, peak power, peak velocity, peak displacement, and peak rate of force development (PRFD) were assessed using a force plate and linear position transducer. Reliability was assessed by intraclass correlation (ICC), coefficient of variation (%CV) and typical error. Results: Performance measures in the BBT, such as peak force, peak velocity, peak power, and peak displacement, were considered reliable (ICC = .85-.92, %CV = 1.7-3.3), while PRFD was not (ICC = .43, %CV = 4.1). Similarly, for the IBP, peak force across all angles was considered reliable (ICC = .89-.97, %CV = 1.2-1.6), while PRFD was not (ICC = .56-.65, %CV = 0.5-7.6). The DSI was also reliable (ICC = .93, %CV = 3.5). Conclusions: Performance measures such as peak force in the IBP and BBT are reliable when assessing upper-body pressing-strength qualities in elite male athletes. Furthermore, the DSI is reliable and could potentially be used to detect qualities of relative deficiency and guide specific training interventions.