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Associations of Maximal Strength and Muscular Endurance Test Scores with Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Body Composition

Vaara, Jani P.1,2; Kyröläinen, Heikki1,2; Niemi, Jaakko1; Ohrankämmen, Olli3; Häkkinen, Arja4,5; Kocay, Sheila2; Häkkinen, Keijo2

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: August 2012 - Volume 26 - Issue 8 - p 2078–2086
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31823b06ff
Original Research

Vaara, JP, Kyröläinen, H, Niemi, J, Ohrankämmen, O, Häkkinen, A, Kocay, S, and Häkkinen, K. Associations of maximal strength and muscular endurance test scores with cardiorespiratory fitness and body composition. J Strength Cond Res 26(8): 2078–2086, 2012—The purpose of the present study was to assess the relationships between maximal strength and muscular endurance test scores additionally to previously widely studied measures of body composition and maximal aerobic capacity. 846 young men (25.5 ± 5.0 yrs) participated in the study. Maximal strength was measured using isometric bench press, leg extension and grip strength. Muscular endurance tests consisted of push-ups, sit-ups and repeated squats. An indirect graded cycle ergometer test was used to estimate maximal aerobic capacity (V[Combining Dot Above]O2max). Body composition was determined with bioelectrical impedance. Moreover, waist circumference (WC) and height were measured and body mass index (BMI) calculated. Maximal bench press was positively correlated with push-ups (r = 0.61, p < 0.001), grip strength (r = 0.34, p < 0.001) and sit-ups (r = 0.37, p < 0.001) while maximal leg extension force revealed only a weak positive correlation with repeated squats (r = 0.23, p < 0.001). However, moderate correlation between repeated squats and V[Combining Dot Above]O2max was found (r = 0.55, p < 0.001) In addition, BM and body fat correlated negatively with muscular endurance (r = −0.25 – −0.47, p < 0.001), while FFM and maximal isometric strength correlated positively (r = 0.36–0.44, p < 0.001). In conclusion, muscular endurance test scores were related to maximal aerobic capacity and body fat content, while fat free mass was associated with maximal strength test scores and thus is a major determinant for maximal strength. A contributive role of maximal strength to muscular endurance tests could be indentified for the upper, but not the lower extremities. These findings suggest that push-up test is not only indicative of body fat content and maximal aerobic capacity but also maximal strength of upper body, whereas repeated squat test is mainly indicative of body fat content and maximal aerobic capacity, but not maximal strength of lower extremities.

1Department of Leadership and Military Pedagogy, National Defence University, Helsinki, Finland

2Department of Biology of Physical Activity, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland

3Personnel Division of Defence Command, Helsinki, Finland

4Department of Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland

5Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Central Hospital, Jyväskylä, Finland

Address correspondence to Jani P Vaara,

© 2012 National Strength and Conditioning Association