Bench stepping and running in women. Changes in fitness and injury status

H N Williford, L A Richards, M Scharff-Olson, J Brown, D Blessing, W J Duey
Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 1998, 38 (3): 221-6

BACKGROUND: The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate injury rates and changes in VO2peak in women associated with aerobic exercise (bench stepping and running).

METHODS: A pretest post-test repeated measures design was used to evaluate changes in VO2peak after training for 10 weeks, 3 days per week, for 1 hour per session. Injury incidence was monitored by questionnaires throughout the training program.

SETTING: All testing and training took place at Auburn University Montgomery, Montgomery, AL, USA.

PARTICIPANTS: The subjects were women enrolled in university physical activity courses. The exercise groups consisted of 23 women who performed bench exercise and 15 who performed running-jogging. Eleven subjects served as non-exercising controls.

INTERVENTION: The 10-week exercise training program served as the intervention.

MEASURES: Subjects were both pre- and post-tested for VO2peak by open circuit calorimetry. Body composition was estimated from a 7-site skinfold equation. A daily injury log was maintained to evaluate injury status.

RESULTS: A repeated measures ANOVA found similar significant improvements in VO2peak for both the bench and running groups with no change for the control group. An evaluation of the injuries graded II or higher found 0.29 injuries per 100 hrs for the bench group and 0.66 injuries per 100 hrs for the running group. When all complaints were considered (grade I to grade IV) the rates increased to 2.44 per 100 hrs for the running group and 6.09 per 100 hrs for the bench group.

CONCLUSIONS: Aerobic bench exercise produced similar changes in VO2peak compared to running. The results indicated that the primary injury complaints were grade I and related to delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). The bench group experienced an greater incidence of grade I complaints while the running group experienced a slightly greater incidence of more serious grade II or higher injuries.

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