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J Strength Cond Res. 2008 May;22(3):1025-9. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31816a5b70.

Effect of a learning trial on self-selected resistance training load.

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Human Performance Laboratory, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Michigan, USA.


Previous research has shown that individuals self-select loads for resistance training that falls below the accepted threshold for overload and do not lift to volitional fatigue. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of a resistance training learning trial on self-selected resistance training load. A control group (5 women, 3 men) and a learning group of (4 women, 4 men) novice lifters were recruited. The control group (CG) received an orientation to selected strength machines (seated bench, leg extension, back row, biceps curl, triceps extension, shoulder press). On a subsequent training day, CG self-selected a training load, while blinded to the actual loads. The learning group (LG) received an initial orientation and also was tested for estimated 1 repetition maximum (1RM) for the seated bench press. On a subsequent day, the LG completed 2 sets of the seated bench press at 75% of estimated 1RM and were encouraged to lift until failure. On a third day, LG subjects completed a self-selected trial identical to that of the CG. Both groups were assessed for estimated 1RM for each exercise on a separate day following all trials. Comparisons between CG and LG were made using independent-means t tests and adjusted using Bonferroni's equation (p < 0.01). While subjects selected a bench press load that was 21% greater for LG (63.4 +/- 6.4% 1RM) compared to the CG (50.3 +/- 12.0%), there was no statistical significance. There were no significant differences in self-selected load for any of the other exercises. There were also no significant differences for number of repetitions or rate of perceived exertion between groups. We conclude that a learning trial of the bench press exercise to increase self-selected workload is not enough to change load self-selection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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