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Effects of Lifting Tempo on One Repetition Maximum and Hormonal Responses to a Bench Press Protocol

Headley, Samuel A; Henry, Kelley; Nindl, Bradley C; Thompson, Brian A; Kraemer, William J; Jones, Margaret T

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: February 2011 - Volume 25 - Issue 2 - p 406-413
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181bf053b
Original Research

Headley, SA, Henry, K, Nindl, BC, Thompson, BA, Kraemer, WJ, and Jones, MT. Effects of lifting tempo on one repetition maximum and hormonal responses to a bench press protocol. J Strength Cond Res 25(2): 406-413, 2011-This study was carried out in 2 parts: part 1 was designed to measure the 1 repetition maximum (1RM) bench press with 2 different moderate-velocity tempos (2/0/2) vs. (2/0/4) in male lifters while part 2 compared the hormonal responses at the same tempos as described in part 1. In both parts 1 and 2, the 1RMs (lbs) were higher on the 2/0/2 tempo than on the 2/0/4 tempo. The change in plasma volume (PV) was greater after the 2/0/4 tempo (−5.7 ± 1.7% vs. 0.96 ± 1.2%, p < 0.05). All blood parameters were significantly (p < 0.05) higher post-exercise compared with baseline. With PV corrected, insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) (ng·mL−1) was higher with the 2/0/2 tempo only (pre-exercise: 277.4 ± 21.8, post-exercise: 308.1 ± 22.9; 2/0/4 tempo pre-exercise: 277.2 ± 17.6, post-exercise: 284.8 ± 21.2). In conclusion, heavier loads can be lifted and more total work can be performed using a (2/0/2) tempo compared with a slower (2/0/4) tempo, but with the exception of IGF-1, the hormonal responses are similar. Individuals may get the same metabolic responses to training by using different tempos, but they will need to use less weight at a slower tempo.

1Department of Exercise Science & Sport Studies, Springfield College, Springfield, Massachusetts; 2Department of Kinesiology, Texas Women's University, Denton, Texas; 3Military Performance Division, United States Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, Massachusetts; and 4Human Performance Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut

This work was funded by Buxton Grants from Springfield College.

Address correspondence to Samuel A. Headley,

Copyright © 2011 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.