Posts tagged exercise prescription
Research Shows Most Participants Select Inadequate Weights For Strength Training

Money and time is some of the finite resources in life. As our lives become busier with work, family, and life commitments our exercise time must become more effective and efficient. One of the biggest and most common mistakes individuals make in the gym is an ineffective cardiovascular or strength training intensity selection. Although any movement of large body parts will contribute to a caloric deficit, selection of a low intensity of exercise will prevent participants from developing cardiovascular or strength gains. Research shows both novice and experienced weight trainers choose inadequate weights for strength development.

Glass and colleagues found novice lifters selected weights between 42-57% of their 1 repetition maximum (J Strength Cond Res. 2004). A second study found similar mistakes in sedentary individuals who initiated a strength training program (Elsangedy et al. J Phys Ther Sci. 2016). These self selected weights were all found to below the 60% value shown to create muscle growth and strength gains among novice lifters. Surprisingly, the influence of a personal trainer does not ensure participant reach intensities recommended by the strength and conditioning research. Ratamess and colleagues randomized females with weight training experience to either a self selected or a weight intensity selected by a personal trainer (J Strength Cond Res. 2008). Although selected weight intensities were improved (51% vs. 42%) in the personal training group authors found both groups selected weights below recommended intensities.

In our previous blog we discussed the value of using repetition in reserve to determine an appropriate intensity during weight training. This method of selection reduces the human error associated with weight training ensuring selected weights are appropriate for strength gains.

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What Is The Optimal Exercise Prescription For Muscle Strength and Hypertrophy?

After daily aerobic exercise, strength training may be the most important exercise you perform each week.  Strength training has been shown to improve metabolism and mood, functional and athletic capacity, as well as, reduce your risk of injury and slow the effects of aging.  Individuals should select exercises targeting large muscle groups performed over multiple joints for optimal effects.  A review of the available research reported on the optimal dosing for strength and hypertrophy (muscle growth).

Schoenfeld and collegues reviewed the available literature on exercise prescriptions to improve either strength or muscle hypertrophy (J Strength Cond Res. 2018).  In particular, authors wanted to determine the impact of either low (exercise performed at < 60% of your 1 rep max) or high (exercise performed at > 60% of your 1 rep max) load.  The authors reviewed 21 studies and found gains in 1 rep maximum strength were highest in the high load groups.  Interestingly, no differences in muscle hypertrophy were noted between either low or high load groups.  They concluded "maximal strength benefits are obtained from the use of heavy loads while muscle hypertrophy can be equally achieved across a spectrum of loading ranges".  

Contact the experts at MEND to learn how to incorporate strength training into your workout routine