This study examined the relationship of muscle size indices of the pectoralis major muscle with bench press and bench throw performances in 18 male collegiate athletes. The maximal cross-sectional area (MCSAMAx) and volume (MV) of the pectoralis major muscle were determined by magnetic resonance imaging. First, subjects were tested for their one repetition maximum bench press strength (1RMBP) using a Smith machine. At a later date, subjects performed bench throws using the Smith machine with several different loads ranging from 30.0 kg to 90% of 1RMBP. Barbell positions were measured by a linear position transducer, and bench throw power was calculated using a dynamic equation. Three trials were performed for each load. In all the trials, the maximal peak power was adopted as bench throw peak power (PP BT). The 1RMBP was significantly correlated with MCSA MAx. Similarly, the correlation coefficient between MV and PP BT was significant. In contrast to the y-intercept of the MV-PP BT regression line, that of the MCSAMAx-1RMBP regression line was not significantly different from 0. These results suggested that, although the dependence on pectoralis major muscle size is slightly different between bench press strength and bench throw power, the pectoralis major muscle size has a significant impact on bench press and throw performances. Greater muscle size leads to heavier body weight, which can be a negative factor in some sports. We therefore recommend that athletes and their coaches develop training programs for improving sports performance by balancing the advantage of increased muscle size and the potential disadvantage of increased body weight.
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