Position-Specific Task, Strength, and Performance Comparisons between NCAA Division I Offensive and Defensive Linemen

Submitted by Garrett M. Hester, Bert H. Jacobson, Ty B. Palmer, Doug B. Smith and Matthew S. O’Brien


The ultimate goal of strength and conditioning practitioners is to improve performance on the field.  To date, little data exist that provides evidence of strong relationships between selected exercises and sport-specific tasks.  PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to compare the performance of a position-specific task on the MAXX Football Sled Device (MX) between NCAA Division I offensive (OL) and defensive linemen (DL) and to determine the associations among selected strength and performance variables with results on the MX.  METHODS: Offensive (n = 12) and defensive linemen (n = 14) (age 20.11 ±1.49 yrs) performed 10 “fire-off-and-drive” repetitions on the MX from a three-point stance.  Data relative to force (N) and movement time (MT) was collected for each repetition on the MX.  The duration between each repetition was automatically randomized between 6 to 10 sec.  Strength and performance data including 1 RM of the squat, bench press, and power clean, along with vertical jump, 10 yd sprint, 40 yd sprint, and body fat percentage were gathered as part of seasonal standard assessment.  RESULTS: Results yielded significant differences in body weight, sprint performances, 1 RM squat, and a near significant difference in MT (p = 0.052) between OL and DL.  With respect to performance on the MX, there were no significant associations among selected strength and performance measures and MT on the MX.  Although insignificant, force on the MX was found to have moderate associations with the 10 yd sprint (r = .457) and 1 RM power clean (r = .463).  CONCLUSIONS: Primarily, these results point out that little carry over exists between the standard exercises performed and the task performed on the MX.  Further research for the purpose of finding exercises that correlate with a position-specific task in these athletes is warranted.  APPLICATION IN SPORT: A priority among practitioners is to remain cognizant of the positional role differences and distinct physical characteristics between OL and DL.  The OL and DL positions should be categorized separately so that specific evaluative and training needs can be met for each position.