Impact of testing strategy on expression of upper-body work capacity and one-repetition maximum prediction after resistance training in college-aged men and women

Jerry L Mayhew, William F Brechue, Abbie E Smith, Wolfgang Kemmler, Dirk Lauber, Alexander J Koch
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2011, 25 (10): 2796-807
The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of resistance training on upper-body muscular strength and the expression of work capacity and muscular endurance. In addition, a training-induced change in the relationship between muscular strength and endurance was assessed by testing changes in the accuracy of using endurance repetitions to predict 1 repetition maximum (1RM) bench press before and after training. College-aged men (n = 85) and women (n = 62) completed a 12-week linear periodization resistance training program. Before and after training, the subjects were assessed for 1RM and repetitions to fatigue (RTFs) with a submaximal load. After pretraining 1RM determination, the subjects were randomly assigned to perform RTFs at 65% 1RM (n = 74) or 90% 1RM (n = 73). Pretraining and posttraining RTFs were conducted at the same respective % 1RM. Work capacity was determined from repetition weight × RTF. After training, there was a significant increase in 1RM in both men (∼14%) and women (∼23%). Posttraining RTF was not different from pretraining RTF at 65 %1RM (18.2 ± 5.1 and 19.0 ± 6.0, respectively) but was significantly reduced in the 90% 1RM group (6.1 ± 3.6 vs. 4.5 ± 2.7, respectively). Likewise, there was a differential effect of training on the expression of work capacity, which increased in the 65 % 1RM group (123 ± 155 kg-reps) but decreased in the 90% 1RM group (-62 ± 208 kg-reps); the effect was independent of gender within each testing group. In conclusion, the changes in muscular strength associated with resistance training produced an increase in work capacity when tested with a 65 % 1RM load without a change in endurance. In contrast, both work capacity and endurance decreased when tested with 90% 1RM. Thus, the impact of strength training on work capacity and muscle endurance is specific to the load at which endurance testing is performed.

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