The cardiovascular and metabolic effects of bench stepping exercise in females

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OLSON, M. S., H. N. WILLIFORD, D. L. BLESSING, and R. GREATHOUSE. The cardiovascular and metabolic effects of bench stepping exercise in females. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 23, No. 11, pp. 1311–1318, 1991. The purpose of this investigation was to measure cardiovascular and metabolic responses to 20 min continuous bouts of “choreographed” bench stepping exercise in healthy females. Four frequently used bench heights were employed in a cross-over design: 15.2 cm (6 inches, B-6), 20.3 cm (8 inches, B-8), 25.4 cm (10 inches, B-10), and 30.5 cm (12 inches, B-12). Oxygen uptake (O2) responses were significantly more pronounced in direct relationship to the bench height: B-12 > B-10 > B-8 > B-6 (P < 0.05). Mean responses for O2 ranged from 28.4 ml·kg-1 · min-1 for B-6 to 37.3 ml · kg-1 · min-1 for B-12. Interestingly, no difference was revealed for heart rate and the respiratory exchange ratio between B-12 and B-10 despite a higher O2 for B-12 (B-12, B-10 > B-8 > B-6, P < 0.05). The incorporation of 0.91 kg (2 lb) hand weights with exercise on the 20.3 cm bench elicited a modest but statistically significant increase in O2 compared with no hand weights. No significant increase in O2 was revealed for conditions that employed 0.45 kg (1 lb) hand weights. The results demonstrate that aerobic bench stepping is an exercise modality that provides sufficient cardiorespiratory demand for enhancing aerobic fitness and promoting weight loss in females.

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