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Hammer, Roger L.; Fedore, Ryan
Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, MI. Email: email@example.com
(Sponsor: James Marker, FACSM)
PURPOSE: It is a popular belief of many women that heavy resistance training will result in excessive muscle hypertrophy and unsightly “bulk.” Women therefore tend to perform resistance training with light weights and high repetitions in order to achieve a “long”, “lean”, “toned” or “slender” appearance. The purpose of this study was to determine any differences in selected anthropometric and strength variables of the arms between high resistance training (HRT) and low resistance training (LRT) in women.
METHODS: Twenty women completed 10-weeks of dynamic progressive resistance training for the elbow flexors. Workouts were twice a week and consisted of dumbbell preacher curls performed for 3 sets with 4–6RM on one arm and 1 set of 18–24RM on the other arm with the weight adjusted to equalize total work between arms. Arm selection was randomized.
RESULTS: There was no difference in the total weight lifted over 10 weeks between arms. Dynamic strength (1RM) increased significantly (P<0.01) in both arms with pre- to posttraining differences greater in HRT (HRT:4.47 vs LRT:2.93 kg;P<0.01). Peak Isometric strength also increased significantly (P<0.01) in both arms with pre- to posttraining differences greater in HRT (HRT:8.52 vs LRT:6.16 kg;P<0.05). Significant changes in arm size did not occur as evidenced by no differences in selected arm circumferences or skinfolds within or between treatments. Following the study subjects reported perceiving an improved appearance in both arms with no difference between the arms.
CONCLUSIONS: In this study it was shown that strength gains were greater with HRT and did not result in “bulky” muscle development. It is recommended that women not hesitate to engage in resistance training with heavy weights.
© 2007 American College of Sports Medicine
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