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Article Title

COMPARISON OF ABSPLUTE AND ALLOMETRIC STRENGTH NORMALIZATION BETWEEN ELITE RESISTANCE TRAINED ATHLETES AND NOVICE STRENGTH TRAINEES

Abstract

Bert H. Jacobson (FACSM). Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma; e-mail: bert.jacobson@okstate.edu

Body size is a confounding variable when comparing muscular strength among individuals. Allometric normalization for strength among athletes seems to be appropriate, but little information is available to suggest that this method is suitable for untrained individuals. Purpose: To compare allometric normalization of strength between trained athletes and untrained novices. Methods: Subjects consisted of students (n=45) in a beginning weight training class and Division I football players (n=81). Students were instructed in lifting techniques and after 2 weeks were tested on the 1-RM bench press (BP). Technique for the BP was strictly monitored. For the football players, data from the most recent testing day was accessed. Participants’ body masses (BMs) were stratified into three 10 kg categories in order to facilitate the comparison of strength in different BM among players and novices. These categories were: 75 – 85 kg,; 85.1 – 95 kg; 95.1 – 105 kg. Allometric normalization involved the product of 1-RM and BM2/3. Results: For absolute 1-RM BP strength the athletess were significantly (p<0.01) stronger than the novice group (means =136.37 kg vs. 78.76 kg). Comparison by allometric scaling yielded significant differences (p<0.01) between the two groups. In the untrained group comparisons, the lightest group had significantly smaller absolute 1-RM bench press weight than the two heavier groups (55.69 kg vs. 93.89 kg and 92.91 kg respectively) and the two heavier groups were essentially similar. For allometrically scaled data the lightest group was significantly different from the two heavier groups (3.75 vs. 4.45 and 4.43 respectively) while the two heavier groups did not differ significantly. Absolute 1-RM for the athletes differed significantly (p<0.01) among all three weight groups with the heavier BM individuals exhibiting significantly greater 1-RMs. Following allometric scaling no significant differences among the weight groups were found. Conclusion: Normalizing data by allometric scaling has been utilzed in several athletic venues and has been shown to be appropriate and useful when comparing athletes’ strength. Based on the current results it is inappropriate to compare by allometric normalization the strength of untrained individuals potentially due to the confounding variable of variance of body composition.

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