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The effects of maximal resistance training on the strength and body composition of women athletes


Medicine and Science in Sports: October 1974 - Volume 6 - Issue 3 - p 174–177
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Strength, body composition, and anthropometric measurements were made on seven women throwing event athletes before and after three and six months of training. Strength was determined by one-repetition maximum in the bench press and half-squat, and body composition was assessed by densitometry. In five of the subjects, strength training with near-maximal loads was carried out 3 days per week using dumb-bells, barbells and a leg press apparatus. Additional training consisted of running, team sports, and technique drills. After 6 months, the 5 subjects who weight trained increased in bench press strength by 15 to 44 percent and in the half-squat by 16 to 53 percent; the two subjects who did not weight train showed little or no strength gain. Lean body weight increased only in the largest subject and in the two who did not strength train while adipose tissue decreased in the 3 “average” and 2 “obese” subjects but rose in the two leanest. Upper extremity girths increased slightly in all, regardless of strength training, but thigh girth was essentially unchanged. Hence, women are capable of responding to strength training with considerable increases in strength and only minimal evidence of muscular hypertrophy.

Veterans Administration Hospital Livermore, California

Department of Physical Education University of California, Davis Davis, California 95616

©1974The American College of Sports Medicine