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More Training Info > Research - Self-Selected Resistance Training Intensity in Healthy Women

Self-Selected Resistance Training Intensity in Healthy Women:
The Influence of a Personal Trainer.

Ratamess, Nicholas A; Faigenbaum, Avery D; Hoffman, Jay R; Kang, Jie.
The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 22(1):103-111, January 2008

The Study

The purpose of the investigation was to examine the influence of resistance training with a personal trainer versus unsupervised resistance training on the self-selected intensities used by women during resistance exercise. Forty-six resistance-trained women (age = 26.6 +/- 6.4 years; body mass = 64.2 +/- 10.9 kg) who either trained individually (n = 27; No PT) or with a personal trainer (n = 19; PT) were carefully instructed to select a weight they used in their own resistance training workouts that enabled the completion of 10 repetitions for the chest press (CP), leg press (LP), seated row (SR), and leg extension (LE) exercises.

The Results

Each participant was subsequently tested for one repetition-maximum (1RM) strength on each exercise, and the self-selected intensity was calculated based on a percent of each 1RM value. For self-selected relative intensity, the PT group selected significantly greater intensities for LP (50% vs. 41%), CP (57.4% vs. 48%), and SR (56% vs. 42%) whereas a trend (p = 0.10) was observed for LE (43% vs. 38%) compared with No PT. Overall, the average self-selected intensity for all exercises was ~51.4% in PT group and ~42.3% in the No PT group. 1RM values for LP, LE, and SR were greater in the PT than No PT group. Ratings of perceived exertion values were significantly greater in the PT compared with the No PT group for CP, LE, and SR but not LP. The conclusion by the authors was that training with a trainer was advantageous to elicit strength gains.

The Take Home Messages

Since the general recommendations for strength gains is to use weights that are at minimum 60% of 1 RM, women training alone can definitely benefit from the higher intensity training in a supervised session. However, women in general (whether they are using a trainer or not) still tend to train with too light of loads. Of particular interest for female outdoor athletes are the numbers for the lower body movements of this study (leg press and leg extension). They indicate that the weights used in lower body training can be significantly greater than what they generally choose to use.


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