HEAVY STRENGTH TRAINING IS ONLY SPECIFIC
Hickson, R. C., Hidaka, K., & Foster, C. (1994). Skeletal muscle fiber type, resistance training, and strength-related performance. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 26(5), 593-598.
Heavy strength training was performed by males (N = 4) and females (N = 4). It has been reported that heavy training actually reduces performance (the number of continuous lifts) at lower percentages of maximum. In this study, subjects improved at the resistance of training. There was no performance deficit at 40, 60, 80% of relative new training stimulus. A reorganization of the data suggested that there might be some deficit.
However, if the data are considered from the point of view of determining how much the original lighter-load tasks changed after strength had been improved, the results are very impressive for justifying the benefits to be derived from strength work. The following table indicates the results.
Activity Before After % Change Bench Press 1RM 62.5 kg 76.7 kg 22.7% 80% original load 7.6 reps 15.0 reps 97.4% 60% original load 16.9 reps 24.8 reps 46.8% 40% original load 38.9 reps 49.8 reps 28.0% Squat 1RM 74.2 kg 101.9 kg 37.3% 80% original load 8.0 reps 20.7 reps 158.8% 60% original load 21.7 reps 38.5 reps 77.4% 40% original load 52.3 reps 77.2 reps 47.6%
Implication. Heavy resistance training did benefit performing the same activity when it was performed at the original intensity. This suggests that heavy training improves muscular endurance, that is, repetitions with weights of a lighter resistance. An example of this effect would be that improved maximal strength would allow an original resistance (not maximal) to be repeated more times.
One has to question how much muscular endurance would have occurred if muscular endurance training was performed on the activity itself rather than through indirect effects. Another interesting note was that the further the load was from the training stimulus, the less was the amount of transfer.
A final question also must be asked. In this study the transfer was to the "same" activity. How much would have transferred if it had been a different activity? The research seems to suggest that no significant transfer would have occurred.
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