Training leading to repetition failure enhances bench press strength gains in elite junior athletes

Eric Drinkwater, Trent W. Lawnton, Rod P. Lindsell, David B. Pyne, Patrick H. Hunt, Michael J. McKenna

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    Abstract

    The purpose of this study was to investigate the importance of training leading to repetition failure in the performance of 2 different tests: 6 repetition maximum (6RM) bench press strength and 40-kg bench throw power in elite junior athletes. Subjects were 26 elite junior male basketball players (n = 12; age = 18.6 +/- 0.3 years; height = 202.0 +/- 11.6 cm; mass = 97.0 +/- 12.9 kg; mean +/- SD) and soccer players (n = 14; age = 17.4 +/- 0.5 years; height = 179.0 +/- 7.0 cm; mass = 75.0 +/- 7.1 kg) with a history of greater than 6 months' strength training. Subjects were initially tested twice for 6RM bench press mass and 40-kg Smith machine bench throw power output (in watts) to establish retest reliability. Subjects then undertook bench press training with 3 sessions per week for 6 weeks, using equal volume programs (24 repetitions x 80-105% 6RM in 13 minutes 20 seconds). Subjects were assigned to one of two experimental groups designed either to elicit repetition failure with 4 sets of 6 repetitions every 260 seconds (RF(4 x 6)) or allow all repetitions to be completed with 8 sets of 3 repetitions every 113 seconds (NF(8 x 3)). The RF(4 x 6) treatment elicited substantial increases in strength (7.3 +/- 2.4 kg, +9.5%, p < 0.001) and power (40.8 +/- 24.1 W, +10.6%, p < 0.001), while the NF(8 x 3) group elicited 3.6 +/- 3.0 kg (+5.0%, p < 0.005) and 25 +/- 19.0 W increases (+6.8%, p < 0.001). The improvements in the RF(4 x 6) group were greater than those in the repetition rest group for both strength (p < 0.005) and power (p < 0.05). Bench press training that leads to repetition failure induces greater strength gains than nonfailure training in the bench press exercise for elite junior team sport athletes.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)382-388
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research
    Volume19
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2005

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    Drinkwater, E., Lawnton, T. W., Lindsell, R. P., Pyne, D. B., Hunt, P. H., & McKenna, M. J. (2005). Training leading to repetition failure enhances bench press strength gains in elite junior athletes. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 19(2), 382-388.