Comparison of Training Intensity Patterns for Cardiorespiratory, Speed, and Strength Exercise Programs

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Vetter, RE, Yu, H, Foose, AK, Adam, PJ, and Dodd, RK. Comparison of training intensity patterns for cardiorespiratory, speed, and strength exercise programs. J Strength Cond Res 31(12): 3372–3395, 2017—Designing effective exercise training programs is important for novice, regular, and elite individuals desiring improvements in physical fitness and performance outcomes without experiencing deleterious physiological or performance effects. The purpose of this research was to understand the impact of training intensity on the effectiveness of training program outcomes. Synthesized analyses of 31 studies provided an overall magnitude for the impact of training program intensity on effect size (ES). Meta-analyses were performed using meta-regression models to assess the impact of training program intensity and the other moderators of training frequency, training weeks, age, ability level, and type of physical exercise training. Inclusion criteria were (a) pretest and posttest outcomes, group size, and mean and SDs were given, (b) only human participants, age 17 or older, and healthy being free of disease, injury, or pregnancy, (c) no supplements or dietary interventions were used, (d) a minimum 4-week training intervention was used, and (e) training protocols included training intensity as its focus. Of the research reviewed, there were 31 studies representing 292 cases used to calculate ES, which met the inclusion criteria. Training frequency, training weeks, age, and ability level did not consistently affect the effectiveness of the different training programs. Intensity level influenced ES across the types of physical training programs: cardiorespiratory, muscular strength, or speed. An aggregated model had a curvilinear effect on training programs with an estimated critical average value of 74%. Muscular strength training using intensities greater than estimated 87.29% resulted in diminishing returns.

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