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Effects of Traditional and Pyramidal Resistance Training Systems on Muscular Strength, Muscle Mass, and Hormonal Responses in Older Women: A Randomized Crossover Trial

Ribeiro, Alex S.1; Schoenfeld, Brad J.2; Fleck, Steven J.3; Pina, Fábio L.C.1; Nascimento, Matheus A.1,4; Cyrino, Edilson S.1

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: July 2017 - Volume 31 - Issue 7 - p 1888–1896
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001653
Original Research

Ribeiro, AS, Schoenfeld, BJ, Fleck, SJ, Pina, FLC, Nascimento, MA, and Cyrino, ES. Effects of traditional and pyramidal resistance training systems on muscular strength, muscle mass, and hormonal responses in older women: a randomized crossover trial. J Strength Cond Res 31(7): 1888–1896, 2017—The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of resistance training (RT) performed in a pyramid (PR) versus a traditional (TD) system on muscular strength, muscle mass, and hormonal responses in older women. Twenty-five older women (67.6 ± 5.1 years, 65.9 ± 11.1 kg, 154.7 ± 5.8 cm, and 27.5 ± 4.5 kg·m−2) performed both a TD and PR system RT program in a balanced crossover design. The TD program consisted of 3 sets of 8–12 repetition maximum (RM) with a constant load for the 3 sets, whereas the PR system consisted of 3 sets of 12/10/8-RM with incrementally higher loads for each set. Training was performed in 2 phases of 8 weeks each, with a 12-week washout between the 8-week phases. One repetition maximum (1RM) tests were used as measures of muscular strength. Dual X-ray absorptiometry was used to estimate skeletal muscle mass. Testosterone and IGF-1 concentrations were determined preintervention and postintervention after 12 hours fasting. Significant (p ≤ 0.05) increases were observed in both groups for muscular strength in the 1RM chest press (TD = 12.4% and effect size [ES] = 0.86 vs. PR = 11.5% and ES = 0.74), knee extension (TD = 12.5% and ES = 0.61 vs. PR = 11.8% and ES = 0.62), preacher curl (TD = 10.9% and ES = 0.63 vs. PR = 8.6% and ES = 0.54), and for skeletal muscle mass (TD = 3.6% and ES = 0.32 vs. PR = 2.4% and ES = 0.24) with no differences between groups. There were no significant (p > 0.05) main effects for IGF-1 and testosterone. The results suggest that the PR and TD systems performed are similarly effective for promoting positive adaptations in muscular strength and hypertrophy in older women.

1Metabolism, Nutrition, and Exercise Laboratory, Londrina State University, Londrina, Brazil;

2Exercise Science Department, CUNY Lehman College, Bronx, New York;

3Andrews Research and Education Foundation, Gulf Breeze, Florida; and

4Paraná State University, UNESPAR, Paranavaí Campus, Paranavaí, Brazil

Address correspondence to Alex S. Ribeiro,

Copyright © 2017 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.