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Effects of Vest Loading on Sprint Kinetics and


Kinematics

Article in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research · December 2013


DOI: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000354 · Source: PubMed

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EFFECTS OF VEST LOADING ON SPRINT KINETICS
AND KINEMATICS
MATT R. CROSS,1 MATT E. BRUGHELLI,1 AND JOHN B. CRONIN1,2
1
Sports Performance Research Institute New Zealand, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand; and
2
School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Science, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia

ABSTRACT INTRODUCTION

A
Cross, MR, Brughelli, ME, and Cronin, JB. Effects of vest n athlete’s ability to accelerate and attain maxi-
loading on sprint kinetics and kinematics. J Strength Cond Res mal velocity is reliant on the relationship between
28(7): 1867–1874, 2014—The effects of vest loading on sprint the force production capability of the body and
kinetics and kinematics during the acceleration and maximum the ability of the athlete to harness and effectively
velocity phases of sprinting are relatively unknown. A repeated
use that force in time periods relative to the activity (7).
Furthermore, it has been proposed that the direction of force
measures analysis of variance with post hoc contrasts was
application plays a larger role in increasing the acceleration
used to determine whether performing 6-second maximal exer-
than the amount of force applied (24) and that greater accel-
tion sprints on a nonmotorized force treadmill, under 2
erations and maximal velocities have been achieved through
weighted vest loading conditions (9 and 18 kg) and an un- lower but more forward-oriented forces (18,23,24).
loaded baseline condition, affected the sprint mechanics of Retaining a high ratio of horizontal to total force production
13 males from varying sporting backgrounds. Neither vest load seems to be key to enhance acceleration and maximum
promoted significant change in peak vertical ground reaction velocity (24). Understanding which training techniques
force (GRF-z) outputs compared with baseline during acceler- may present such mechanical overload would seem impor-
ation, and only 18-kg loading increased GRF-z at the maximum tant to optimize the development of these speed qualities.
velocity (8.8%; effect size [ES] = 0.70). The mean GRF-z sig- Resisted sprint techniques, such as sled or vest weighted
nificantly increased with 18-kg loading during acceleration and sprinting, offer a specific approach to overloading during
maximum velocity (11.8–12.4%; ES = 1.17–1.33). Horizontal common sport movements. (1,5,11,21,22). Potentially, these
force output was unaffected, although horizontal power was techniques could elicit positive effects on sprint kinematics (i.
e., contact time, flight time, step length, and step frequency)
decreased with the 18-kg vest during maximum velocity
by increasing the athlete’s ability to generate vertical and
(214.3%; ES = 20.48). Kinematic analysis revealed decreas-
horizontal forces. Although studies examining the acute
ing velocity (23.6 to 25.6%; ES = 20.38 to 20.61), decreas-
and longitudinal effects of sled towing on sprint performance
ing step length (24.2%; ES = 20.33 to 20.34), increasing
are increasingly common, there are few studies that examine
contact time (5.9–10.0%; ES = 1.01–1.71), and decreasing the effects of vest loading on similar performance character-
flight time (217.4 to 226.7%; ES = 20.89 to 21.50) with istics (6,8). Notably, it has been suggested that sled towing
increased loading. As a vertical vector-training stimulus, it seems and vest loading may overload the neuromuscular system in
that vest loading decreases flight time, which in turn reduces a different manner. For example, sled towing, particularly at
GRF-z. Furthermore, it seems that heavier loads than that are higher percentages of body mass (BM) (16), has been pro-
traditionally recommended are needed to promote increases in posed to offer a greater horizontal vector-training stimulus
the GRF-z output during maximum velocity sprinting. Finally, vest whereas vest sprinting is more vertically oriented (7). Under-
loading offers little as a horizontal vector-training stimulus and standing the mechanical adaptations associated with vest
actually compromises horizontal power output. loading in greater detail is of interest to these researchers.
It has been suggested that the heavier the external loading,
KEY WORDS vest loading, sprint mechanics, horizontal force, the greater disruption to normal sprint kinematics—therefore,
vertical force, acceleration, maximum velocity in best practice, the optimal loading for sprinting would be
one that minimally affects running mechanics, while supply-
ing an appropriate overload stimulus to promote adaption
Address correspondence to Matt R. Cross, cross.matt.r@gmail.com. (2,22). To date, only 3 recent articles have examined the use
28(7)/1867–1874 of weighted vests on sprint performance and kinematics
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (2,6,8). Of these studies, 2 examined the acute effects of vest
Ó 2014 National Strength and Conditioning Association loading (9–20% of BM) on sprint kinematics and reported

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Vest Sprinting Kinetics and Kinematics

this brief treatise of the litera-


ture, the kinetics-associated vest
loading is relatively unexplored,
and there is certainly no research
profiling kinetics across a variety
of vest loads.
The acceleration and maxi-
mum velocity phases of sprinting
require different mechanical de-
mands on the sprinter (7,9). The
acceleration phase requires long
contact periods, short flight
times, positive net horizontal
forces, and a greater forward
trunk lean in comparison with
the maximum velocity phase
(1,9). Thus, each phase may
respond differently to the same
vest load and therefore warrant
Figure 1. Image of sprint trial on the nonmotorized treadmill under braking load.
specific loading protocols
(1,9,28). No previous studies
have examined the effects of
vest sprinting on acceleration
a decrease in velocity (23.8%) and an increase in sprint time or maximum velocity phase kinetics during sprint running.
(7.5–11.7%) with loading in comparison with unresisted con- Thus, the means of effectively manipulating vest load to cause
ditions (2,8). In addition, vest sprinting has been shown to changes in the force profile for specific adaptation is currently
affect step/stride length (20.5 to 25.2%) and frequency unknown. Such information is important to strength and con-
(22.4 to 22.7%) and several other kinematic variables in ditioning and sprint coaches for programming purposes. The
comparison with unloaded sprinting (2,8). A study by Bosco aim of this study, therefore, was to analyze the effects of vest
et al. (3), highlighted the ability to increase power through loading on sprint kinetics and kinematics during the acceler-
periodization involving external loading around the torso in ation and maximum velocity phases while sprinting on a non-
the form of a weighted belt. However, as can be observed from motorized treadmill (NMT) ergometer.

METHODS
Experimental Approach to
the Problem
A cross-sectional design was
used to investigate the effects
of vest loading on kinematics
and kinetics during accelera-
tion and maximum velocity
sprinting. All subjects per-
formed maximum effort
6-second sprints on an NMT
with and without vest loading
(9 and 18 kg). Data during the
first 2 steps (i.e., first stride) of
the 6-second sprint and 10
steps once the subjects at-
tained maximum velocity
were averaged for final values.
Data were then compared
using a repeated measures
Figure 2. Image of treadmill set-up and foot braking of belt. analysis of variance (ANOVA)
with Bonferroni post hoc
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weightlifting, healthy male


university-level athletes volun-
teered to take part in this study
(22.9 6 3.3 years old; BM:
82.5 6 8.4 kg; stature: 179.1 6
6.6 cm). All athletes provided
written informed consent before
participating, and completed a
health questionnaire to ensure
that they were fit for testing.
The Institutional Ethics Com-
mittee of Auckland University
of Technology provided
approval for this study.
Figure 3. A representative sprinting velocity-time curve during a 6-second maximum effort sprint. Procedures
Equipment. A Woodway Force
3.0 (Eugene, OR, USA) NMT
analyses to determine statistical difference between ergometer was used to quantify the sprint kinetics and
conditions. kinematics (Figure 1). This ergometer is a modernized equiv-
alent of the original NMT system introduced by Lakomy
Subjects (19) and has been implemented (4,25) and validated (12).
Thirteen sport-active (rugby codes, n = 6; track sprinters, n = 2; Nonmotorized treadmill ergometry pertaining to both the
field hockey n = 1; miscellaneous sporting codes, n = 4), training and measurement of performance variables have

Figure 4. A representative GRF-z-time curve during a 6-second maximum effort sprint. The arrows indicate the first 2 steps (i.e., first stride) during the
acceleration phase and the 10 steps during maximum constant velocity.

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Vest Sprinting Kinetics and Kinematics

been explored in depth during sprinting (13–15,20,26,27). the horizontal load cell and the velocity of the treadmill belt.
The NMT system used in this study featured a user-driven All variables were collected at a sampling rate of 200 Hz,
vulcanized rubber belt, the mechanics of which feature 12 using a hardwired system interface (XPV7 PCB; Fitness
guiding rollers and 114 ball bearings. The subjects were har- Technology, Adelaide, Australia). Primary analysis took
nessed around the waist to a vertical strut at the rear of the place within a custom-built LabVIEW software program
system. A nonelastic tether secured the harness to a load cell (LabVIEW; National Instruments, Texas, USA).
and a locking vertical-sliding gauge allowed the collection of
horizontal force data. This sliding gauge was manually Resisted Conditions. Weighted vests were used to supply the
adjustable (and securable) to each subject’s hip height to vertical loading, and each subject performed the trials as
enable horizontal alignment of the tether to the load cell usual on the NMT system. The vests were loaded with small
during running trials. Calibration of the load cell took place sandbags that could be added or removed in increments of
before the testing session by hanging a selection of known approximately 200 g. The load could be distributed evenly
weights from the tether as instructed by the manufacturer. around the subject’s torso, up to approximately 20 kg per
Vertical force output was collected using 4 load cells posi- vest. The 2 loading conditions included absolute loads of
tioned beneath the NMT belt. The vertical load cells were 9 and 18 kg. Previous researchers have used vest loads
calibrated before and after testing using known loads placed between 7 and 20% of relative BM (2,3,8), and the loads
on top of the stationary treadmill belt. The velocity of the chosen for this study align with such loading parameters.
treadmill belt was collected by 2 optical speed microsensors
located at the rear of the treadmill belt. Calibration for this Procedures. Participants were required to report on a single
measurement was not needed because the distance recorded day for approximately 2.5 hours of preparation, familiariza-
per rotation of the belt did not change, and unit conversion tion, and testing. Close-fitting sports clothing and running
was hardcoded into the NMT software. Power output was shoes were worn throughout. First, the subjects’ height,
measured by the NMT as the product of the force exerted on mass, and age were determined and recorded. The subjects
were then required to undergo a
standardized warm-up and
familiarization. Initially, the sub-
TABLE 1. Test-retest reliability based on coefficient of variation (CV) and jects jogged unloaded on the
intraclass correlation (ICC) for sprint kinetics and kinematics.* treadmill for 90 seconds. During
Baseline 9-kg vest 18-kg vest this time, the subjects were
encouraged to vary their pace
CV (%) ICC CV (%) ICC CV (%) ICC to familiarize themselves with
the feeling of accelerating on
Velocity (m/s)
Peak 1.6 0.98 1.9 0.98 2.2 0.98 the foreign running surface.
GRF-z (N) Two build-up sprints of 70 and
Acceleration 3.1 0.98 3.8 0.97 7.0 0.86 80% of the subjects’ expected
Maximum velocity 1.8 0.99 2.9 0.99 3.4 0.98 maximum velocity were then
GRF-z mean (N)
performed based on the findings
Acceleration 1.6 0.99 1.4 1.00 8.8 0.70
Maximum velocity 1.5 1.00 1.4 1.00 1.9 0.99 of semi-professional Australian
F
H (N) Rules footballers sprinting on
Acceleration 5.8 0.89 6.5 0.92 9.0 0.74 an NMT (4). This consisted of
Maximum velocity 6.5 0.87 6.6 0.97 5.5 0.93 a 3-second submaximal acceler-
PMAX (W)
ation to the determined velocity,
Acceleration 6.1 0.92 8.2 0.96 16.0 0.59
Maximum velocity 6.6 0.94 7.5 0.97 6.8 0.95 holding that velocity for 5 sec-
Contact time (ms) onds, and then decelerating. To
Acceleration 5.6 0.82 4.6 0.88 5.2 0.88 conclude the warm-up protocol,
Maximum velocity 2.8 0.89 4.5 0.63 2.9 0.89 a 3-second maximum acceler-
Flight time (ms)
ation was performed. This
Acceleration 9.2 0.90 6.3 0.93 11.2 0.88
Maximum velocity 4.2 0.97 6.1 0.98 9.1 0.96 entailed a tester applying a sta-
Step frequency (Hz) tionary brake to the treadmill
Maximum velocity 2.1 0.94 3.2 0.93 2.1 0.96 track to enable the subject to
Step length (m) lean against the harness so as
Maximum velocity 2.0 0.99 2.0 0.99 17.9 0.92
to simulate a block start. Based
F
*GRF-z = peak vertical force; H = peak horizontal force; P MAx = peak power output. on their performance in this step
of the protocol, subjects were
allowed the opportunity to
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complete another trial of the blocked-start. Between each sec- Statistical Analyses
tion of the warm-up, subjects were allowed to rest for 60 Data was collected during the acceleration and maximum
seconds, followed by a 2–4-minute rest period preceding the velocity phases of each 6-second sprint (Figure 3). The
first trial. “first stride” was defined as the first 2 steps after the initial
The data collection consisted of 6-second maximal push-off. “Maximum constant velocity” was defined as the
velocity sprints under the 3 conditions. As per the warm- 10 steps after the maximum velocity was attained and
up protocol, the treadmill belt was blocked from behind maintained. The first 2 steps during the acceleration phase
(Figure 2). Starting position for all sprints was standardized and 10 steps during the maximum velocity phase were
with subjects starting with the right foot back, and then, averaged for final analysis (Figure 4). Velocity measures,
they were instructed to lean into the harness. Throughout peak horizontal force, peak GRF-z, mean GRF-z, and
each 6-second trial, subjects were given continuous verbal power output were obtained from the LabVIEW program
encouragement to promote maximal effort. The loading as described previously. Contact time was determined from
protocols consisted of 2 absolute vest loads (9 and 18 kg). the time (in seconds) the treadmill registered force above
One to three trials, dependent on the success of the initial 0 N to the moment it returned to a null reading (i.e., 0–0 N).
and subsequent collections, were performed for each con- Flight time was measured from the moment of last ground
dition. If more than 1 trial was collected, the trial with the contact of one foot to the moment of first contact of the
highest maximum velocity was selected for analysis. The other foot. Stride frequency was determined by the follow-
participant order was staggered and randomized, 4–6 sub- ing formula: 1/(contact time + flight time). Stride length
jects performed the testing protocol in a cycled format was determined through the following formula: peak veloc-
to maximize time efficiency and concurrently allow each ity/stride frequency.
subject appropriate rest. Rest between trials was less than Seven of the participants completed 2 trials at each
4 minutes for each participant after each trial. loading condition to determine test-retest reliability of the
sprint kinetics and kinematics
variables. Intraclass correlation
coefficient and coefficient of
TABLE 2. Kinetic and kinematic variable outputs over the acceleration and variation were calculated for
maximum velocity phases under loading protocols.* each variable (Table 1). Means
and SDs were determined for
Loading conditions each variable under each loading
Baseline 9-kg vest 18-kg vest condition and were used as
measures of centrality and
Velocity (m/s) spread of data. Normal distribu-
Peak 5.86 6 0.54 5.65 6 0.56† 5.53 6 0.55† tion of the data was checked
GRF-z (N)
Acceleration 1613 6 175 1547 6 210 1674 6 177 using the Sharpio-Wilk statistic.
Maximum velocity 1923 6 259 1983 6 304 2093 6 229† A repeated measures ANOVA
GRF-z mean (N) with Bonferroni post hoc con-
Acceleration 990 6 97 1027 6 120 1107 6 80† trasts was used to determine sig-
Maximum velocity 1165 6 130 1205 6 146 1309 6 117† nificant kinematic and kinetic
HF (N)
Acceleration 482 6 109 453 6 78 452 6 93 differences between loads (body
Maximum velocity 270 6 78 272 6 81 253 6 65 weight, 9 and 18 kg) for each
PMAX (W) condition (acceleration and
Acceleration 1272 6 413 1271 6 362 1380 6 380 maximum velocity). All varia-
Maximum velocity 1600 6 544 1540 6 560 1372 6 416† bles, excluding step length, step
Contact time (ms)
Acceleration 222 6 18 213 6 28 225 6 15 frequency, and peak velocity,
Maximum velocity 169 6 7.9 179 6 12† 186 6 12† were analyzed in both the accel-
Flight time (ms) eration and maximum velocity
Acceleration 45 6 10 36 6 17 33 6 6† phases. Statistical significance
Maximum velocity 69 6 14 57 6 13† 56 6 10† criterion was set at an alpha
Step frequency (Hz)
Maximum velocity 4.15 6 0.33 4.18 6 0.27 4.09 6 0.26 level of p # 0.05. Additionally,
Step length (m) effect sizes (ES) were calcu-
Maximum velocity 1.42 6 0.19 1.36 6 0.17† 1.36 6 0.16† lated using the following equa-
tion: ES = (high value2low
*GRF-z = peak vertical force; HF = peak horizontal force; PMAx = peak power output.
†Significantly different from baseline. value)/((high value SD + low
value SD)/2). Effect sizes were
described as large (ES . 1.2),

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Vest Sprinting Kinetics and Kinematics

moderate (0.6 , ES , 1.2), small (0.2 , ES , 0.6), and loading has been reported to significantly reduce the overall
trivial (ES , 0.2) (10). stride length, and typically decrease step frequency (2,8).
Furthermore, the added loading will usually increase the
RESULTS ground contact time (2,8) and decrease the flight time (2)
Kinematic Variables during the gait cycle. The results from this study concur with
Peak velocity decreased significantly between both vest this trend, with the addition of external loading decreasing
conditions (23.6 to 25.63%; ES = 20.38 to 20.61) in com- step length (24.2%), increasing contact time at the maximum
parison with baseline unloaded sprinting (Table 2). Step fre- velocity (5.9–10.1%), and decreasing the flight time during
quency remained statistically unchanged by external loading; both acceleration (226.7%) and maximum velocity phases
however, step length significantly decreased in both vested (217.4 to 218.8%). The significant decrease in flight time
conditions (24.2% [both conditions]; ES = 20.33 to 20.34) observed at maximum velocity may suggest that the added
in comparison with baseline. Contact time during the acceler- vertical load supplied by the vest essentially limited the sub-
ation phase was statistically unchanged respective to the base- jects’ ability to propel their body into a flight phase.
line condition. During the maximum velocity phase, significant The relationship between external loading and GRF-z
increases in contact time (5.9–10.0%; ES = 1.01–1.71) com- output is of interest, particularly to those wishing to overload
pared with baseline were observed in both vest conditions. such forces for a specific training purpose. Interestingly, no
The 18-kg vest condition flight time during the acceleration significant increases in peak GRF-z relative to baseline with
phase was significantly decreased (226.7%; ES = 21.50) com- vest loading during the acceleration phase were observed in
pared with baseline. During the maximum velocity phase, both this study. Moreover, only the 18-kg vest resulted in a large
vest conditions resulted in significantly decreased flight time increase in the mean GRF-z during acceleration (11.8%). It
(217.4 to 218.8%; ES = 20.89 to 21.08). would seem that vest loading might not be an appropriate
resisted method to overload the acceleration phase vertical
Kinetic Variables GRF-z, especially in terms of lighter loading protocols
Peak GRF-z output during the acceleration phase was similar to those used in this study. At maximum velocity,
statistically unchanged relative to the baseline condition. only the 18-kg vest load resulted in a moderate increase in
During the maximum velocity phase, only the 18-kg vest GRF-z over the baseline condition (8.8%). Similar to the
condition produced significantly greater peak GRF-z (8.8%; acceleration phase, a moderate increase in the mean GRF-z
ES = 0.70) as compared with the baseline. During both the was observed with the 18-kg vest alone (12.4%). It seems that
acceleration and maximum velocity phases, the 18-kg vest greater training loads than the traditional recommendation
significantly increased the mean GRF-z compared with the of 7–15% BM (2,8) may be needed to promote significant
baseline (11.8–12.4%; ES = 1.17–1.33). Vest loading had no increases in GRF-z production. However, as previous loading
significant effect on horizontal force output in either the parameters have been assigned on the basis of minimization of
acceleration or the maximum velocity phases. There were technical alterations, trainers will need to decide whether the
no significant variations from baseline for power output dur- possibility of compromising technique is an acceptable trade-
ing the acceleration phase; however, during the maximum off for an increased GRF-z training stimulus.
velocity phase, the 18-kg vest condition resulted in a signifi- The fact that peak GRF-z did not increase during the
cantly lower horizontal power output compared with the acceleration phase highlights an interesting phenomenon
unloaded baseline conditions (214.3%; ES = 20.48). whereby the addition of mass to the subject does not result
in a corresponding increase in GRF-z. It would be expected
DISCUSSION that an increase in peak GRF-z would be similar to the mass
This is the first study, to the best of our knowledge, that has added with each vest load (i.e., 88.3–176.6 N); however, this
investigated the effects of vest loading on sprint kinetics along was not the case. It seems that additional mass may not
with sprint kinematics during the acceleration phase and provide as great a GRF-z training stimulus as initially
maximum velocity phase of sprinting. Both vest loads thought, and other training methods need to be explored
significantly decreased the maximal velocity output. The to overload GRF-z production capabilities, especially during
3.5% decrease with approximately a 10.9% load (9 kg) of acceleration. This phenomenon is most likely explained by
mean subject BM is comparable with the findings of Alcaraz the additional vertical loading affecting the rise and fall of the
et al. (2) who reported a 3.8% decrease in velocity with a 9% center of mass (COM) during the flight phase, i.e., significant
BM load. Moreover, Cronin et al. (8) reported a 9.3–11.7% reduction in flight phase time. If the flight height of the
increase in 30-m sprint times with a vest load of 15–20% COM is reduced, then there will be a concomitant reduction
BM. Vest loading seems to have similar effects on peak velocity in the GRF-z. It would seem that this reduction in flight time
outputs on NMT ergometry as over-ground sprinting. (rise and fall of COM) counters the effect of the additional
The effects of additional external loading on step frequency mass. Similar findings have been reported during running at
and step length may explain the decrements in velocity submaximum velocities while subjects carried compliant poles
observed in this study. In over-ground running, vest or belt (18). Kram (17) found that an additional load of 19% body
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weight only increased peak GRF-z by 4.7% and reduced flight and horizontal force data on the treadmill were not collected
times by 35%. Future research quantifying the path of the from the same location. This could be addressed in future
COM is needed to validate this contention. studies with tri-axial force-plates imbedded beneath the
Vest loading did not result in any significant effects on track (25). Finally, mechanisms for the findings were not
horizontal force output during either the maximum velocity investigated because maximum sprint velocity significantly
or acceleration phases. Cronin et al. (8) reported a decrease decreased with each load. A more detailed analysis could be
in forward trunk lean with vest sprinting, likely illustrating conducted in the future if sprint velocity were maintained
a reduction in the subjects’ ability to control the added mass with increasing vest loading.
added to their frame. Because forward lean has been reported
as a mechanical determinant of horizontal force production PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS
(18,23), it is likely that vest loading affected the subjects’ ability A fundamental tenet of strength and conditioning practice is
to produce force in a horizontal direction through a limitation matching the training stimulus to the individual needs of the
in their ability to effectively control the added mass and resul- athlete, which in turn should produce the desired adaptation.
tant forces. Important in such an approach is understanding the
The addition of vest loading did not result in any mechanical stimuli certain training methods provide. In
significant effects on power output during the acceleration terms of vest loading, it is thought that this type of training
phase. Only during the maximum velocity phase did the provides a means of improving the vertical eccentric/
18-kg vest condition result in a small decrease in power concentric force capability of athletes during cyclic activities
compared with the baseline condition (214.3%). Bosco et al. such as hopping, bounding, and running. It would seem,
(3) highlighted the possibility for increases in vertical power however, that the interaction between load and the use of
from vest weighted training; however, the results of this this training method in producing the desired adaptation
study certainly do not support such a contention. This dis- may be more complicated than initially thought. Increasing
sonance can be explained by the different power calculations vest loading using the loading parameters of this study had
in both studies; the power output for the NMT is calculated little effect on GRF-z. It would also seem that the vest loads
as the product of horizontal force and velocity. Because hor- offered little as a horizontal and vertical power-training
izontal force production was unaffected and velocity reduced stimulus. Given these findings, careful consideration needs to
by vest loading, it is unlikely that vest loading would provide be given to the choice of load and utilization of this type of
a horizontal power stimulus. It could be speculated that the training if increasing GRF-z production of the athlete is
same would be true of the value of vest loading as a vertical a training goal. It may be that heavier vest loads than initially
power-training stimulus—that is, given the nonsignificant thought are needed to overload cyclic vertical strength and
changes in GRF-z production and the decrement in velocity power, but the effect of such loading on sprint kinematics/
with additional load, it is unlikely that vest loading would technique needs investigation.
overload vertical power to any great extent. Therefore, if In summary, vest loading may have a place in the preparation
there is a strong relationship between power production of the athlete, however, understanding when and for what
and sprint performance, as some researchers have alluded reason it should occur in the athlete plan is fundamental to
to (11), then careful consideration needs to be given to the targeted individualized programming. Furthermore, as maxi-
selection of training modalities that maximize horizontal and mal effort sprinting is a complex interplay between a number
vertical power output. of different variables, the reader needs to be cognizant that the
There are several limitations in this study that should be optimal training solution for sprinting performance is not
noted. First, the athlete sample represents a collection of team, a single modality, but a combination of several. Identifying
individual and casual sport athletes of varying abilities. Second, individual needs and matching these with modalities that
because the loads chosen in this study were absolute, the address the individual’s mechanical/physiological limitations
loading protocols chosen represented a different percentage of would seem fundamental in improving strength and condi-
BM for each participant. In a practical sense, this may not be tioning practice and optimizing sprint performance.
possible or probable in an application to the field—hence why
absolute loading was chosen in this study—however future ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
studies should either select a sample with similar character- The authors wish to thank the committed group of subjects
istics (i.e., a team of rugby union forwards), or calculate loads for their participation in this study. This project did not
based on a percentage of each subject mass. Third, although receive external financial assistance, and none of the authors
the Woodway treadmill offers a more realistic running experi- hold any conflict of interest.
ence to standard motorized treadmills, particularly for maximal
sprinting, it differs to over-ground running. Maximum sprint REFERENCES
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Vest Sprinting Kinetics and Kinematics

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