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J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2002 Mar;42(1):71-8.

Bench/step training with and without extremity loading. Effects on muscular fitness, body composition profile, and psychological affect.

Author information

  • 1Division of HPR--Exercise Science, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan 48202, USA. Engels@wayne.edu



To study the effect of bench/step group exercise with and without extremity loading on muscular fitness, body composition, and psychological affect.


Experimental design: a prospective training study.


general community fitness center.


44 healthy adult females (age: 21-51 yrs). Interventions: 12 weeks of bench/ step exercise (3 sessions/week, 50 min/session, 60-90% HRmax). Subjects were randomly assigned to groups that trained with (WT, n=16) and without (NWT, n=16) 0.68 kg/ankle and 1.36 kg/hand weights while 12 subjects served as non-training controls (NTC).


Pre- and postintervention muscular strength and endurance for knee and elbow flexion and extension, and for shoulder abduction and adduction were examined by isokinetic dynamometry. Body composition was assessed with hydrostatic weighing and psychological affect by questionnaire.


Thirty-two subjects completed the study. ANOVA revealed that pre- to postintervention changes for body fat (2.6%), fat-free weight (+0.7 kg), fat weight (-1.9 kg), and knee flexion peak torque were significantly different in the bench/step exercise trained (WT+NWT) compared to the NTC study group. Specific comparisons of muscle strength and endurance change scores of WT+NWT relative to NTC, and of WT relative to NWT revealed no other significant differences between groups. Positive and negative affective states were similar among study groups before and after the intervention.


Participation in bench/step group exercise improved body composition but was of limited or no value as a modality to change muscular fitness and psychological affect in healthy adult females. The use of ankle and hand weights failed to enhance training adaptations.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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