Influence of training years on upper-body strength and power changes during the competitive season for professional Australian rules football players.
To determine if upper-body strength or power changes during the competitive season for elite Australian rules footballers and what influence the number of training years has on any changes. Repeated measures. Twenty elite Australian rules footballers were assessed at preseason, in-season and postseason. Strength was assessed by the 1 Repetition Maximum bench press and power was assessed by bench press throws. Athletes' results were analysed as a whole group as well as being divided into two groups according to training years: less than 3 years training and greater than 3 years training. All athletes performed the same resistance training program. There were no significant differences in height, body mass, or skinfold measurements between the two age groups. As a whole group, there was no significant change in 1RM bench press. There was a small but significant decrease in mean bench throw power in-season (525 W) compared to preseason (542 W) and it then increased at postseason (541 W). Within group analysis revealed the in-season decrease in upper-body power was largely pertaining to the younger athletes. The older group maintained their upper body power levels while the younger group decreased power in-season (4%) before regaining it at season's end. Older footballers were able to maintain their upper body power while the younger footballers had a small but significant decrease in-season before regaining it by season's end. The overall volume of training and playing appears to have affected the younger athletes' power more than older athletes. Both age groups maintained upper body strength. Copyright © 2012 Sports Medicine Australia. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.