Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


School of Exercise and Health Sciences


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science

First Advisor

Dr Jeremy Sheppard

Second Advisor

Dr Gregory Haff

Third Advisor

Professor Rob Newton


PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the reliability of an isometric force assessment (isometric bench press) across 4 standardised angles and an isoinertial force and velocity assessment (ballistic bench throw) utilising a relative load based on a percentage of one repetition maximum (1RM) in the bench press; and to evaluate whether the use of the dynamic strength deficit (DSD) ratio can guide training and detect changes induced by training over a 5 week period.

METHODS: Twenty four elite male athletes (age = 19.9 ± 2.7yrs; mass = 79.1 ± 13.0kg) performed the isometric bench press and a 45% 1RM ballistic bench throw on 2 separate days with 48 hours between testing occasions. Peak force, peak power, peak velocity, peak displacement and peak rate of force development were assessed using a force plate and linear position transducer. Reliability was assessed by Intra- Class Correlation (ICC), Percent Coefficient of Variation (%CV) and Typical Error (TE). The athletes’ DSD ratios were then calculated using the peak force values obtained during the BBT and IBP (DSD = IBP peak force/BBT peak force). Athletes were then placed in to 2 groups as matched-pairs based on their DSD ratio and their strength in the 1RM bench press. The Bench Press (BP) Group performed high intensity bench press while the Ballistic Bench Throw Group performed moderate intensity ballistic bench throws. Both groups trained twice a week for 5 weeks.

RESULTS: All performance measures except for peak rate of force development were considered reliable (ICC = 0.85-0.97, %CV = 1.2-3.3). The DSD ratio was sensitive to the disparate training methods between groups, with the BP Group increasing their IBP peak force (p = 0.035), the BBT Group increasing their bench throw performance (p ≤ 0.001), and as a result, yielding a significant change (p ≤ 0.001) in the DSD for both groups.

CONCLUSIONS: Performance measures such as peak force in the isometric bench press and ballistic bench throw are reliable when assessing upper body pressing strength qualities in elite male athletes. Further, the DSD can be used to detect qualities of relative deficiency and guide specific training interventions based on test results.