A new study shows that women who want to build muscle strength and endurance may get better results if they opt for some traditional strength training methods instead of low velocity routines.
In the research, which was conducted by Sharon Rana, associate professor of exercise physiology and colleagues at Ohio University, studied 34 healthy, college-aged females who performed three different training methods over a six-week period.
In the study, the team examined whether low velocity resistance training is a more effective workout than conventional routines, as some experts maintain.
The methods included a traditional strength training routine, a traditional muscle endurance training routine and a low velocity regimen.
The traditional strength group lifted a heavier weight load with fewer repetitions, while the traditional endurance group lifted a lighter weight load with more repetitions.
The low velocity group also lifted a lighter weight load, but did their workouts much slower than the other groups and did fewer repetitions.
"What made the research a little different is that we put the various methods of resistance training all in one study and added a control group, which hadn't been done before. The endurance group also hadn't really been studied in conjunction with low velocicipants' workouts consisted of leg presses, back squats and knee extensions. On average, the traditional strength group lifted 499 pounds when doing leg presses, 121 pounds when doing squats and 117 pounds when doing leg extensions.
The traditional endug extensions.
The traditional endurance group lifted 341 pounds when doing leg presses, 64 pounds on squats and 48 pounds on knee extensions. The low velocity group averaged 356 pounds for leg presses, 79 pounds for squats and 55 pounds for knee extensions.
Participants did three sets of each exercise during each session and were given four to five minutes of rest between each set and exercise.
During the study, participants were measured for absolute strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance and body composition.
The team found that the traditional strength group gained the most strength in two of the three workouts. The endurance group and the low velocity group both improved strength, but to a much lesser degree.
Though the traditional endurance-training group was still the most successful at boosting muscular endurance, the study found that cardiovascular endurance didn't increase significantly in any of the groups.
"We tested cardiovascular endurance because a lot of the lay literature, the articles you might read in magazines, said it would improve. But no one has proven that," Rana explained.
All of the groups combined showed a small decrease in percent body fat, but it was not statistically significant. The most significant improvements involved strength gain and endurance gain.
"The low velocity training obviously helps you. You can gain some strength and muscle endurance, but the traditional methods are going to do a slightly better job for those two things," Rana said.
The study is published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.