The purpose of this study was to examine the early-phase adaptations of traditional dynamic constant external resistance (DCER) training vs. a portable upper-body training device (Fortex). The Fortex is a concentric training device based on air resistance. Contractions using this device are slow (1.5-3 s) and have a limited range of motion. The exercises potentially allow maximal muscle action during each contraction. Healthy, sedentary men (n = 30) were assigned to begin either 8 weeks of weight training (W, n = 12) or 8 weeks of Fortex training (F, n = 9), and were compared with a control group (C, n = 9). Exercises were chosen for the W group that would train similar muscle groups and contain a similar volume of repetitions as the F group. However, movement patterns and force curves were not identical. Increases in the upper-arm cross-sectional area were not detected in any of the groups. Both training groups showed strength gains in the various strength tests that were distinct from each other. Our results indicate that both Fortex and DCER training proved effective in eliciting strength gains in sedentary men over an 8-week training period. There are, however, limitations with the Fortex in terms of progression needs and training asymmetry that indicate it should be used as a complement to other training.
(C) 2007 National Strength and Conditioning Association