Resistance Training Prioritisation

The Effects of Resistance Training Prioritization in NCAA Division I Football Summer Training. J Strength Cond Res 28(1): 14–22, 2014. Smith, RA, Martin, GJ, Szivak, TK, Comstock, BA, Dunn-Lewis, C, Hooper, DR, Flanagan, SD, Looney, DP, Volek, JS, Maresh, CM, and Kraemer,WJ.


Seventy-two NCAA Division I American football players participated in a 10-week off season football performance programme.


  • Body Mass
  • Predicted 1RM Bench Press
  • Predicted 1RM Back Squat
  • 1RM Power Clean
  • Counter movement jump (CMJ)

Split into 3 training groups

  • Hypertrophy (first year players)
    Group 1
  • Strength (second and third year players)
    Group 2
  • Power (fourth and fifth year players)
    Group 3


Bench Press Back SquatPower CleanCMJ

Group 1 (Hypertrophy)

  • Significant increases in 1RM bench press, back squat, and power clean
  • No significant increase in CMJ height
  • No significant increases in body mass

Group 2

  • Significant increases in 1RM bench press back squat, and power clean
  • No significant increase in CMJ height
  • No significant increases in body mass

Group 3

  • Significant increases in 1RM power clean only
  • No significant increase in CMJ height
  • No significant increases in body mass


  • Increases in strength and power in the hypertrophy group shows that untrained can develop strength (due to neurological adaptations) even when strength isn’t the main focus of the programme, although this didn’t transfer to improved jump performance.
  • Strength training will increase upper and lower body strength, and likely transfer to an increase in power in the power clean, but not in jump performance.
  • Experienced athletes (average 4.4 years of experience in a successful resistance training programme), will be much harder to increase strength any further, hence why the focus of the programme then shifts to power and explosiveness, and how to effectively apply the strength gained over the previous years. However this did not transfer to improved jump performance.

Possible Limitations of the study

  • Nonlinear periodisation allows multiple factors (hypertrophy, strength and power) to be trained over a period of time (e.g. for every 4 strength session, there may be 2 hypertrophy and 2 power), so strength may be the goal, but you still train for hypertrophy and power. From the above training programmes, the training variables (repetitions, sets, exercises, and intensity) may not have been applied as efficiently in order to elicit the desired adaptations.
  • Strength group – repetition ranges from 2-5 at 85-95% and 10 at 60-70% are performed for example. Although strength should be trained >80% 1RM, we know it doesn’t mean every time you go in the weight room you bang away the heaviest weight possible, the volume (repetitions and sets) should remain relatively constant, and the intensity should fluctuate between heavy and lighter days in order to allow recovery. One of the main problems with daily undulating periodisation (DUP) is that the “lighter” days – 10 repetitions at 60-70% for example, actually result in a greater volume of training and therefore require longer to recover from. Yes the group improved strength, but it would have been interesting to see DUP vs. block method. This might have resulted in improvements in jump performance also, we don’t know.
  • Power group – Similar to the strength group – yes they improved power through the power clean, but not strength measures (back squat), or jump performance. The intensity ranged from 40%-100%, so training was performed more moderate-high force, whereas it could have been improved if more low force – high velocity movements were performed. There were variations of the Olympic lifts performed which require acceleration through a full range, and rapid deceleration, but no ballistic exercises were performed such as squat jumps, jump squats which have shown to produce high power outputs. Most exercises were traditional resistance exercises which require deceleration for the last 40% of the movement, which could possibly explain lack of change in jump performance.
  • The NCAA do place certain restrictions on coaches in terms of training hours with athletes and coaches must attempt to make the most efficient, yet appropriate programme possible.

Just a few thoughts


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