Skeletal muscle fiber type, resistance training, and strength-related performance

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HICKSON, R. C. K. HIDAKA, and C. FOSTER. Skeletal muscle fiber type, resistance training, and strength-related performance. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 26, No. 5, pp. 593–598, 1994. The research goal was to attempt to clarify the consequences of increased strength on performance at submaximal exercise intensities. Eight subjects (4 males, 4 females) completed a 3-d·wk-1, 16-wk resistance training regimen. After training, upper (bench press, BP) and lower (parallel squat, PS) extremity strength were increased by 23% and 37%, respectively. Performance at the same absolute work rates as before training was increased by 30–159% following training depending on intensity and type of exercise. Performance at the same relative work rates (80%, 60%, 40%) remained unchanged by the training for both exercises. Prior to training, PS repetitions at 40% were correlated (r = 0.69, P < 0.05) with the percentage of slow-twitch (ST) fibers in the vastus lateralis muscle. There were similar relationships at 40% (r = 0.73) and at 60% (r = 0.83) for the PS exercise after training. However, the resistance program did not result in greater relative submaximal performance in individuals with a higher percentage of ST fibers. We conclude that strength improvement of up to 40% does not produce a strength-related performance deficit, when training and testing procedures are identical. Yet, these data do not rule out the potential of a strength-related repetition performance deficit. When subjects were equally divided by strength levels, those tested at the highest absolute resistance had significantly lower bench press repetition performance at 60% and 40% of the 1-RM than the subjects tested at the lowest absolute resistance.

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