Effect of Gender and Body Type on Strength Gain from Different Modes of Resistance Training


Alexandra Arabas, Wyatt Titus, Jerry L. Mayhew, Jana Arabas, Liz Jorn

Truman State University, Kirksville, Missouri

Numerous weight training machines are available purporting to enhance strength to a greater degree than other devices. Few studies have compared different weight machines to determine their efficacy for strength improvement. In addition, no studies have evaluated the degree of strength transfer from machine weights to a similar free-weight exercise. PURPOSE: To compare the effect of training with a supine chest press (SCP) versus horizontal chest press (HCP) machine on upper-body strength in men and women. METHODS: College men (n = 58) and women (n = 95) were allowed to choose between SCP (n = 76) and HCP (n = 77). Bench press was measured for machine-specific 1RM before and after 12 weeks of linear periodized resistance training. On separate days, participants performed a 1RM free-weight (FW) bench press before and after training. Participants trained 3 times/week with 3 sets in 6 overall body exercises. Training progression pattern utilized 3 x 8-10RM in the 1st 4 weeks, 3 x 5-8RM in the 2nd 4 weeks, and 3 x 3-5RM in the 3rd 4 weeks. RESULTS: Sex x training mode ANOVA on mode-specific strength improvement indicated that men (12.8 ± 6.6 kg) made a significantly greater gain than women (10.5 ± 6.0 kg), and HCP (14.1 ± 6.2 kg) made a significantly greater improvement than SCP (9.3 ± 5.7 kg). Sex x mode interaction was not significant (p = 0.21). Changes in non-specific strength gain were evaluated using a sex x mode ANOVA on FW bench press. There was no significant difference between men (4.2 ± 5.0 kg) and women (4.0 ± 4.2 kg) or between HCP (4.3 ± 4.6 kg) and SCP (3.9 ± 4.4 kg) groups in FW 1RM. CONCLUSION: Mode-specific strength gains in both men and women favor a HCP over a SCP in both men and women. However, there was little carry-over effect of strength gain in either sex when measured with FW bench press.

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