The Effectiveness of Two Methods of Prescribing Load on Maximal Strength Development: A Systematic Review

THOMPSON, Steve, ROGERSON, David, RUDDOCK, Alan and BARNES, Andrew (2019). The Effectiveness of Two Methods of Prescribing Load on Maximal Strength Development: A Systematic Review. Sports Medicine, 50 (5), 919-938.

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Background: Optimal prescription of resistance exercise load (kg) is essential for the development of maximal strength. Two methods are commonly used in practice with no clear consensus on the most effective approach for the improvement of maximal strength. Objective: The primary aim of this review was to compare the effectiveness of percentage 1RM (% 1RM) and repetition maximum targets (RM) as load prescription methods for the development of maximal strength. Methods: Electronic database searches of MEDLINE, SPORTDiscus, Scopus, and CINAHL Complete were conducted in accordance with PRISMA guidelines. Studies were eligible for inclusion if a direct measure of maximal strength was used, a non-training control group was a comparator, the training intervention was > 4 weeks in duration and was replicable, and participants were defined as healthy and between the ages of 18–40. Methodological quality of the studies was evaluated using a modified Downs and Black checklist. Percentage change (%) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for all strength-based training groups were calculated. Statistical significance (p < 0.05) was reported from each study. Results: Twenty-two studies comprising a total of 761 participants (585 males and 176 females) were found to meet the inclusion criteria. 12 studies were returned for % 1RM, with 10 for RM. All studies showed statistically significant improvements in maximal strength in the training groups (31.3 ± 21.9%; 95% CI 33.1–29.5%). The mean quality rating for all studies was 17.7 ± 2.3. Four studies achieved a good methodological rating, with the remainder classified as moderate. Conclusions: Both % 1RM and RM are effective tools for improving maximal strength. % 1RM appears to be a better prescriptive method than RM potentially due to a more sophisticated management of residual fatigue. However, large heterogeneity was present within this data. Lower body and multi-joint exercises appear to be more appropriate for developing maximal strength. Greater consensus is required in defining optimal training prescriptions, physiological adaptations, and training status.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Springer added a Correction to this article on the 02 January 2020 - please see here:
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sport Sciences; 1106 Human Movement and Sports Sciences; 0913 Mechanical Engineering; 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy
Identification Number:
Page Range: 919-938
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2019 10:06
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2021 19:00

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