Self-Selected Resistance Exercise Load: Implications for Research and Prescription

J Strength Cond Res. 2021 Feb 1;35(Suppl 1):S166-S172. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002287.


Barbosa-Netto, S, d'Acelino-e-Porto, OS, and Almeida, MB. Self-selected resistance exercise load: implications for research and prescription. J Strength Cond Res 35(2S): S166-S172, 2021-Resistance training has been widely used for maintaining or improving the quality of life and sports performance. It is not clear, however, whether the load commonly used in these exercises is equivalent to the number of repetitions determined for execution, that is, the level of effort applied to the self-selected load. Ergo, the aim of this study was to identify the number of maximum repetitions that strength training practitioners can perform with the load commonly used (self-selected) to perform 10 repetitions in their training routines. The sample consisted of 160 healthy trained men (25.7 ± 4.5 years, 81.2 ± 10.4 kg, 177.9 ± 6.2 cm). Subjects answered the question "What weight do you usually lift for 10 repetitions on free-weight bench press exercise?" The answer was considered the self-selected 10 repetitions load (S10RL). After a brief warm-up, each individual was instructed to perform as many repetitions as possible at S10RL (repetition maximum [RMS10RL]) at a single bout of free-weight bench press. The RMS10RL was analyzed with the single sample t test, adopting the reference value of 10 repetitions. Individuals performed 16 ± 5RMS10RL (median = 15), which represent a statistical difference for the 10-repetition reference value (p < 0.001). The most prevalent RMS10RL range was from 13 to 15 repetitions (31%), and only 22% performed between 10 and 12 repetitions. It was concluded that most individuals can perform a number of repetitions well above the 10 repetitions predicted for the selected load. Therefore, the training routines are not compatible with maximum effort.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength
  • Muscle, Skeletal
  • Prescriptions
  • Quality of Life
  • Resistance Training*
  • Weight Lifting