Elvert Andy Wise1,2, ACSM, Jacob Reed1, NSCA, Fabio Fontana1, Mickey Mack1, Justine Radunzel1, & Chris Black2, FACSM

1University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa; 2University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma

Research suggests Repetitions in Reserve (RIR) is a valid and reliable method to prescribe and manipulate resistance training (RT) intensities. Despite supporting research, there is a paucity of literature addressing the application of the RIR scale. PURPOSE: Thus, this study aimed to 1) develop a familiarization protocol (FP) that assists practitioners in educating athletes or recreational populations on implementing the RIR scale and 2) evaluate its efficacy in resistance-trained populations. FP design: Relevant research findings were grouped into two categories. Category A identified population characteristics that influenced error estimating RIR (eeRIR), including training experience, sex, and familiarity training to failure or with heavy loads at or near maximal intensities, defining subject eligibility criteria. Research procedures were reviewed to identify factors that influenced eeRIR that could be controlled (i.e., load lifted, proximity to muscle failure, muscle groups used, number of sets and sessions, the ambiguity of vocabulary associated with subjective scales, and the use of memory anchors), ultimately defining the FP – Category B. METHODS: Subjects were males (n = 9) with high levels of RT experience (7.1 ± 2.4 years). Participants performed the bench press (BP) and v-squat (VS) for four sets at varying intensities. The study consisted of five sessions. Session one was an initial assessment, providing an eeRIR baseline for data analyses. Following session one, subjects were assigned to either the protocol (PG) or non-protocol group (NPG); the PG followed the FP, and the NPG only received the daily training intensities and assistance to ensure proper lifting mechanics and safety (sessions 2-4). Session 5 served as a final assessment. RESULTS: The absolute mean eeRIR was significantly lower for the PG (BP = 0.144, VS = 0.112 repetitions) compared to the NPG (BP = 0.953, VS = 1.472 repetitions) at session 5. CONCLUSION: Using the FP significantly decreased eeRIR for the PG, supporting the use of the FP in resistance-trained populations. Future research should consider expanding the participant population to include females and novice – intermediate RT participants; additionally, increasing the number of sessions may identify variations in learning curves across populations and movements.

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