Alcaraz, P. E., Perez-Gomez, J., Chavarrias, M., & Blazevich, A. J. (2009). Effects of 8 weeks of heavy resistance circuit training vs. traditional strength training on physical performance and body composition. A paper presented at the 14th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science, Oslo, Norway, June 24-27.

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This study compared the effects of eight weeks of heavy-resistance circuit training vs. traditional strength training on physical performance parameters, cardiovascular response, and body composition. Healthy Ss (N = 26) with strength training experience were randomly assigned to a heavy-resistance circuit training (N = 15) or to a traditional strength training (N = 11) group. Training consisted of weight lifting three times a week for eight weeks. Prior to and at the end of the training program, maximum dynamic strength (1 RM) on bench press and half-squat exercises, peak power output in both exercises using resistances of 30%, 45%, 60%, 70%, and 80% of 1 RM, and body composition were determined. Additionally, a shuttle run was conducted.

There were no between-group differences. Upper and lower limb 1 RM significantly increased in both groups. Upper limb peak power at 30% and 45% of 1 RM was significantly higher in post-tests and significantly higher at 70% and 80% of 1 RM in the traditional strength training group, while lower limb peak power was not increased significantly at any load. The shuttle run test improved in both groups. Significant decreases were found in the % body fat in the heavy-resistance circuit training group. Lean mass improved in both groups.

Implication. Heavy-resistance circuit training and traditional strength training are effective methods for improving 1 RM, peak power output, cardiovascular response, and lean mass. Circuit training is effective at reducing % body fat.

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