Effects of a Six-Week Strength and Power Training Program on Punching and Kicking Impact Power in Amateur Male Combat Athletes: A Pilot Study

Vecchio LD1*, Stanton R2,5,6, Campbell Macgregor2,4, Brendan Humphries2 and Nattai Borges

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The purpose of the present study was to examine the effect of a six-week strength and power training program, on striking impact power in amateur male combat athletes. A convenience sample of 16 amateur male combat athletes with at least two years combat training experience were assigned to either a strength and power training program (SPT, n=10) or control group (CT, n=6). Both groups performed three weekly combat training sessions for six weeks. The SPT group performed two sixty-minute SPT sessions
in addition to usual combat training. The following variables: lead hand jab, rear-hand cross, front kick and roundhouse kick mean impact power, vertical jump height, and five-repetition maximum (5RM) half-squat and bench press, were measured using standard protocols at baseline and after six weeks. Magnitude-based inferences (Cohen’s d (d) ± 90% CI) revealed likely beneficial effects of SPT on cross punch (d=0.69 ±0.76), roundhouse kick power (d=0.86 ± 0.83), and vertical jump (d=0.53 ± 0.66). Benefits of usual combat training were unclear for all measured parameters. When between-group changes across the six-week period were compared SPT demonstrated likely benefits for cross-punch (d=0.75 ± 0.80) and 5RM half-squat (d=0.81 ±0.78) compared to usual combat training. These data suggest the addition of SPT to combat training may have a beneficial effect on cross-punch impact power and 5RM half-squat strength in amateur male combat athletes.
Power training; Punching; Kicking; Athletes


Purpose Statement:

Examine effect of 6-week EXOGEN® combat program on punching and kicking impact power in amateur male combat athletes.



Seventeen amateur (minimum 2 years of MMA or kickboxing) combat athletes were allocated to either an EXOGEN® (n=10, 28.2 ± 1.7 years, 79.5 ± 7.7kg, 176.6 ± 4.7 cm) or Control (n=7, 29.0 ± 2.0 years, 79.8 ± 11.9kg, 177.7 ± 5.7 cm) group for six weeks. A pre-post study design was used with the following performance tests: Standing vertical jump test, 5RM half-squat, and 5RM bench press. Impact power testing was assessed in the following movements: Lead-hand jab, read-hand cross, rear-leg front kick, and Rear-leg roundhouse kick (using StrikeMate®).

The six-week periodised program consisted of 3 x 60-minute training sessions/week. The EXOGEN® group performed 2 out of 3 sessions with wearable resistance (Table 4). The suit consisted of Lila® EXOGEN® compression-based arm sleeves, pants, and calf sleeves, and loads (2-4.5% BW) located over the midline of the intended appendage. Loads were positioned over the upper and lower lib, lateral hip, anterior thigh, anterior and posterior lower limb (Figure 24).


Figure 24: EXOGEN® Load Placement



Table 4: Six Week EXOGEN Loading Scheme

Key Findings:

  1. A six week EXOGEN® training programme significantly improved jab impact power (p=0.025, ES=0.73, +25.9% change)
  2. A six week EXOGEN® training programme significantly improved rear-hand cross impact power (p=0.004, ES=1.00, +51.2% change)
  3. A significant increase in bench press strength (p=0.008, ES=0.32, +6.0% change) was observed in the EXOGEN® trained group
  4. A significant increase in vertical jump height (p=0.025, ES=1.50, +19.2% change) and 5RM half-squat (p=0.02, ES=0.26, +6.9% change) was observed in the EXOGEN® trained group
  5. Front kicking impact power did not significantly increase in either the EXOGEN® or control group


Practical Applications:

  1. A six week periodised EXOGEN® training programme significantly improves both jab and rear-cross punching impact power in amateur male combat athletes, which may improve an athlete’s change of success in striking martial arts.
  2. Greater loads may need to be used to improve front kick impact power
  3. EXOGEN® training may be beneficial for vertical jump height, half squat, and bench press strength, particularly when combined with plyometric exercise


Vecchio et al., J Athl Enhanc 2019, 8:1
DOI: 10.4172/2324-9080.1000316

Journal of Athletic Enhancement

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