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%

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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