Purpose: To determine the effects of training sessions, involving high-resistance, low-repetition bench press exercise, on strength recovery patterns, as a function of gender and training background.
Methods: The subjects were 12 athletes (6 males and 6 females) and age-matched college students of both genders (4 males and 4 females). The subjects completed a 3-wk resistance training program involving a bench press exercise, 3 d/wk, to become familiar with the testing procedure. After the completion of the resistance training program, the subjects, on three consecutive weeks, participated in two testing sessions per week, baseline session and recovery session. During the testing sessions, subjects performed five sets of the bench press exercise at 50% to 100% of perceived five repetition maximum (5-RM). Following the weekly baseline sessions, subjects rested during a 4-, 24-, or 48-h recovery period. Strength measurements were estimates of one repetition maximum (1-RM), using equivalent percentages for the number of repetitions completed by the subject at the perceived 5-RM effort of the bench press exercise.
Results: The full-factorial ANOVA model revealed a Gender by Recovery Period by Testing Session interaction effect, F(2, 32) = 10.65; P < .05. Among male subjects, decreases in estimated 1-RM were detected at the 4- and 24-h recovery times. There were no differences in muscle strength among the female subjects, regardless of recovery time.
Conclusions: For bench press exercises, using different recovery times of 48 h for males and 4 h for females may optimize strength development as a function of gender.