Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Car Pushing Research Study

From time to time I am going to put up some cool research abstracts that I run across.

Today's is on car pushing (I mean "junkyard training")

Part of me was all excited to see that they are doing research on something besides a treadmill or cycle ergometer. The other practical part of me was thinking "duh". If you have ever pushed a car, you know that it is hard work and you don't need a study to prove it.

The great part is it's something that is accessible to virtually everyone, takes minimal instruction and most athletes (assuming no orthopedic issues) can perform.

I agree with the study that it is very demanding, but I don't think that means you need to reserve it only for elite athletes. You can add more rest between attempts (if doing multiple attempts), decrease the distance, or have 2 people push one car.

As always, evaluate the athlete's gait afterwards to make sure you did not make them worse. Quality of movement is king!

Mike N

What Are the Metabolic Demands of Utilizing Heavy “Junkyard” Training Implements?

In a recent study featured in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research the metabolic demands of training with heavy, cumbersome “junkyard” implements that require nontraditional movement patterns was investigated. The researchers conducting this study sought to determine the metabolic demands of pushing and pulling a 1,960-kg motor vehicle (MV) 400 m in an all out maximal effort.

Six male, strength-trained athletes (29 ± 5 years; 89 ± 12 kg) completed 3 sessions. Sessions 1 and 2 entailed either pushing or pulling the motor vehicle. Oxygen consumption ( VO2) and heart rate (HR) were monitored throughout the trial and a blood lactate sample was taken immediately following and 5 minutes after sessions 1 and 2. Vertical jump was assessed immediately prior to and after sessions 1 and 2 and during session 3 a treadmill test was also conducted to determine VO2max.

The researchers found no significant differences (p <>2, HR, or blood lactate between pushing and pulling efforts. VO2 and HR peaked in the first 100 m, and from 100 m on, VO2 and HR averaged 65% and 96% of the maximum values obtained during maximal treadmill running, and the average blood lactate response from pushing and pulling the motor vehicle represented131% of the values obtained via maximal treadmill running. It was found that Vertical jump significantly decreased in both pre to post conditions (mean = −10.1 cm, 17%). In addition all subjects experienced dizziness and nausea.

As a result the researchers concluded, a 400-m motor vehicle push or pull is an exhausting training technique that requires very high anaerobic energy output and should be considered an advanced form of training. For this reason, the strength and conditioning professional must be aware of the intense metabolic and neuromuscular stresses that occur due to this type of training and consider these factors when designing an individualized training program and preparing appropriate recovery strategies.

Joseph M. Berning, Kent J. Adams, Mike Climstein and Bryant A. Stamford. 2007: Metabolic Demands of “Junkyard” Training: Pushing and Pulling a Motor Vehicle. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: Vol. 21, No. 3, pp. 853–856.