Avoiding Systematic Errors in Isometric Squat-Related Studies without Pre-Familiarization by Using Sufficient Numbers of Trials

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Ekim Pekunlu, Ylbilge Ozsu

There is no scientific evidence in the literature indicating that maximal isometric strength measures can be assessed within 3 trials. We questioned whether the results of isometric squat‐related studies in which maximal isometric squat strength (MISS) testing was performed using limited numbers of trials without pre‐familiarization might have included systematic errors, especially those resulting from acute learning effects. Forty resistance‐trained male participants performed 8 isometric squat trials without pre‐familiarization. The highest measures in the first “n” trials (3 ≤ n ≤ 8) of these 8 squats were regarded as MISS obtained using 6 different MISS test methods featuring different numbers of trials (The Best of n Trials Method [BnT]). When B3T and B8T were paired with other methods, high reliability was found between the paired methods in terms of intraclass correlation coefficients (0.93–0.98) and coefficients of variation (3.4–7.0%). The Wilcoxon’s signed rank test indicated that MISS obtained using B3T and B8T were lower (p < 0.001) and higher (p < 0.001), respectively, than those obtained using other methods. The Bland‐ Altman method revealed a lack of agreement between any of the paired methods. Simulation studies illustrated that increasing the number of trials to 9–10 using a relatively large sample size (i.e., ≥ 24) could be an effective means of obtaining the actual MISS values of the participants. The common use of a limited number of trials in MISS tests without pre‐familiarization appears to have no solid scientific base. Our findings suggest that the number of trials should be increased in commonly used MISS tests to avoid learning effect‐related systematic errors.
DOI: 10.2478/hukin‐2014‐0074
Key words
isometric testing standards, learning effect, number of trials, maximal isometric strength, testing study assumptions,

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