In certain circumstances—for example, when preparing for an endurance event—pacing is a necessary component of safe training. But some protocols may call for the opposite, requiring clients to generate as much strength or power as possible for a shorter period of time. Researchers believe they’ve developed a tool to help females give more during the workout.
In this study, published in the Journal of Sports Science & Medicine (2014; 13, 736–41), the goal was to determine if previous knowledge of repetition range would affect a subject’s force production. Researchers recruited 20 “well-trained” women to participate in the intervention. The women were separated into three “fatiguing” groups. Members of the first group were told to complete 12 maximal voluntary contractions (MVCs). The second group was instructed to complete an unknown number of MVCs, but was stopped at 12 reps. Women in the third group were told to complete six repetitions and upon reaching them, to perform a few more; they were stopped at 12.
Can you guess which group produced more overall force?
Perhaps not surprisingly, the third group generated greater output during the first six repetitions, but that effort decreased during the final six. The reduced effort was similar to that of the other two groups. Researchers also noted that the second group (which didn’t know how many reps would be required) produced less force throughout the intervention despite the instruction to aim for maximum effort.