The objective of this systematic review was to search the scientific literature for original research, addressing the effects of various forms of resistance-based training on sprinting performance in competitive sprinters. Specific key words (Sprinters OR Sprint) NOT (Rugby, Soccer, Cycling, Swimming, Paralympic, Nutrition) were used to search relevant databases through November 2013 for related literature. Original research was reviewed using the Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro) scale. Five studies met the inclusion criteria: actively competitive adult male sprinters who participated in a resistance-based intervention (>4 weeks), with outcome measures in the form of 10-100 m sprint times. Exclusion criteria included acute studies (<4 weeks), non-sprinting populations and studies with no performance outcome measures (10-100 m sprint times). Three of the five studies employed both locomotor resistance and fixed plane resistance, while the remaining two studies used more fixed plane resistance e.g. squat and leg extension. Three of the studies exhibited a statistical improvement in sprinting performance measures e.g. a decrease in 30 m sprint time (p = 0.044), whereas one study showed a decrease in sprinting performance.
The analysis found that resistance-based training has a beneficial effect on sprinting performance. Differing input of locomotor resistance and fixed plane resistance has resulted in similar percentage change for sprinting performance. This review adds to the body of knowledge by strongly highlighting the dearth of literature exploring the effects of resistance-based training on sprinting performance in competitive sprinters. The short duration and wide range of exercises implemented in studies to date are of concern, but coaches should not hesitate to implement well-planned resistance programs for their sprint athletes.