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Evaluation of Multiple One Repetition Maximum Strength Trials in Untrained Women

Benton, Melissa J1; Swan, Pamela D2; Peterson, Mark D2

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: August 2009 - Volume 23 - Issue 5 - pp 1503-1507
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181b338b3
Original Research

Benton, MJ, Swan, PD, and Peterson, MD. Evaluation of multiple 1RM strength trials in untrained women. J Strength Cond Res 23(5): 1503-1507, 2009-Resistance training for health is increasingly popular, yet limited research exists regarding the most appropriate and reliable methods to evaluate outcomes among nonathletic populations. The purpose of this study was to evaluate differences between multiple trials of 1 repetition maximum (1RM) strength in healthy previously untrained women (35.5 ± 2.1 years). Nineteen participants completed 3 trials of 1RM chest and leg press with at least 24 hours rest between trials. Familiarization was incorporated into trial 1 for both tests. All trials were highly reliable (intraclass correlation = 0.95). For 1RM chest press, nonsignificant strength changes between trials 1-2 and 2-3 were 1.2 ± 0.3 kg (p = 0.13) and 1.3 ± 0.4 kg (p = 0.18), respectively, while the overall increase between trials 1-3 was 2.5 ± 0.7 kg (p = 0.06). For 1RM leg press, strength changes between trials 1-2 and 2-3 were 6.9 ± 0.6 kg (p = 0.05) and 7.3 ± 0.4 kg (p = 0.01), respectively, while the overall difference between trials 1-3 was 14.2 ± 1.0 kg (p < 0.01). In this study of untrained women, evaluation of maximal strength was significantly different between multiple repeated trials of lower-body strength but not upper-body strength. Thus, it was determined that a series of 3 1RM tests was sufficient to obtain a consistent measurement of maximal upper-body strength (chest press) but not lower-body strength (leg press). These findings may be of assistance for efficient reliable field testing of untrained women.

1College of Nursing, Valdosta State University, Valdosta, Georgia 31698; and 2Department of Exercise and Wellness, Arizona State University, Mesa, Arizona 85212

Address correspondence to Melissa J. Benton,

© 2009 National Strength and Conditioning Association