Upper-body work capacity and 1RM prediction are unaltered by increasing muscular strength in college football players

William F Brechue, Jerry L Mayhew
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2009, 23 (9): 2477-86
The purpose of this study was to assess changes in upper-body muscular strength and work capacity following off-season resistance training and the resultant effect on prediction of muscular strength (1 repetition maximum, or 1RM). National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II football players (n = 58) were divided into low-strength (LS, 1RM <275 lb, n = 23) and high-strength (HS, 1RM > or =275 lb, n = 35) groups based on initial 1RM bench press. Maximal repetitions to failure (RTF) were performed with a relative (60, 70, 80, and 90% of 1RM) and absolute load (185 lb for players with 1RM <275 lb; 225 lb for players with 1RM > or =275 lb) at pre- and post-training. Following training (n = 58), there was a significant increase in 1RM bench press (22.8 +/- 12.0 lb) and body mass (3.7 +/- 10 lb). There was no change in the number of repetitions performed (RTF) during relative load testing following training. However, RTF during absolute load testing was increased. Relative and absolute load work capacity (reps x load) increased with training, but there was no relationship between the change in work capacity and the changes in muscular strength. Predicted 1RMs were better at lower repetitions (3-5 RM, >85% 1RM) than at higher repetitions (>6RM, < or =80% 1RM) at both pre-and post-training. In conclusion, changes in muscular strength associated with the off-season training program used herein appear to have little effect on work capacity or prediction of 1RM using submaximal loads. For repetition predictions to accurately track changes following resistance training, the test load must be relatively high (>85% 1RM) and the repetitions low (< or =5 reps).

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