Previous research has demonstrated the importance of both dynamic and isometric maximal strength and rate of force development (RFD) in athletic populations. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between measures of isometric force (PF), RFD, jump performance and strength in collegiate football athletes. The subjects in this study were twenty-two men [(mean ± SD):age 18.4 ± 0.7 years; height 1.88 ± 0.07 m; mass 107.6 ± 22.9 kg] who were Division I college football players. They were tested for PF using the isometric mid thigh pull exercise. Explosive strength was measured as RFD from the isometric force-time curve. The one repetition maximum (1RM) for the squat, bench press and power clean exercises were determined as measures of dynamic strength. The two repetition maximum (2RM) for the split jerk was also determined. Vertical jump height and broad jump was measured to provide an indication of explosive muscular power. There were strong to very strong correlations between measures of PF and 1RM (r = 0. 61 - 0.72, p < 0.05). The correlations were very strong between the power clean 1RM and squat 1RM (r = 0.90, p < 0.05). There were very strong correlations between 2RM split jerk and clean 1RM (r = 0.71, p < 0.05), squat 1RM (r = 0.71, p < 0.05), bench 1RM (r = 0.70, p < 0.05) and PF (r = 0.72, p < 0.05). There were no significant correlations with RFD. The isometric mid thigh pull test does correlate well with 1RM testing in college football players. RFD does not appear to correlate as well with other measures. The isometric mid thigh pull provides an efficient method for assessing isometric strength in athletes. This measure also provides a strong indication of dynamic performance in this population. Key pointsIn Division I college football players the isometric mid thigh pull test correlates well with 1RM testing.Rate of Force Development does not appear to be as closely related to dynamic and isometric strength in college football players.The isometric mid thigh pull provides a quick and efficient method for assessing isometric strength in athletes.
Keywords: American football; Isometric strength; power.