Strength Increases, but Little Change in Power and Speed
In contrast, there were no significant changes in measures of speed, such as 40-yard sprint time; or power, such as vertical jump height. Skill players showed a small increase in power between the first and second years. For linemen, there was no significant change in power. Neither group increased significantly in speed.
Partly because of sophisticated training programs, today's athletes are stronger, faster, and more powerful than in the past. The new study is one of the first to analyze detailed information on measures of physical performance in collegiate football players throughout their four years of eligibility.
"These data provide a theoretically predictable 4-year rate of change in anthropometric, strength, and power variables for Division I football players," Dr Jacobson and coauthors write. They believe their results will help strength and conditioning professionals ensure that these elite athletes stay on track in terms of developing increased size and strength.
However, the study finds little or no change in the key attributes of power and speed. The initial increase in power among skill players appears "negligible," compared to the large gains in strength; neither group shows improvement in speed over the course of their careers
Based on their findings, the researchers suggest that recruiting efforts should focus on identifying athletes who have previously demonstrated superior power and speed. "These variables are particularly difficult to positively alter in four years of training at the college level."
So why can't athletes develop greater speed and power? "Theoretically, speed and power are variables that are
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Wolters Kluwer Health