The effect of lifting speed on factors related to resistance training : A study on muscle activity, amount of repetitions performed, and time under tension during bench press in young males
Background Many different variables are important to consider when creating resistancetraining programs. However the lifting speed that exercises are performed with has not beenstudied as extensively as many of the other factors. Some research has indicated that trainingwith specific lifting speeds results in improved strength or hypertrophy adaptations comparedto other lifting tempos, but more research is needed to reach better knowledge on what liftingspeeds are optimal for specific goals.Aim The aim of this study was to analyze the effect of various lifting speeds on differentfactors known to influence resistance training. The measured variables were muscle activity,maximum amount of repetitions performed and time under tension during bench press.Method Thirteen males performed bench press at their individual 6 RM. The exercise wasperformed to fatigue with three different lifting tempos (4 second repetitions, 6 secondrepetitions and repetitions intentionally performed as fast as possible). Number of repetitions performed and total time under tension for each test was recorded in seconds. Surfaceelectromyography (EMG) was used to register muscle activity of pectoralis major anddeltoideus anterior. Reference values were gathered using MVIC (Maximum voluntaryisometric contraction) tests.Results EMG amplitudes were higher in pectoralis major when a fast lifting speed (60.1 ± 7.3% of MVIC) was used compared to the medium (54.8 ± 10.2) and slow (54.3 ± 7.1)conditions. More repetition were performed with faster lifting speeds. The time under tensionwas longer for the slow and medium lifting tempos than for the fast lifting tempo.Conclusion The result from this study can be considered when designing resistance trainingprograms. Based on the increased performance and muscle activity associated with the fastlifting tempo, faster lifting speeds may be beneficial when the training goal is to increasestrength levels. It is difficult to draw any conclusions regarding the optimal lifting tempo forspecific training designed to increase hypertrophy, but the time under tension appears to belonger for slower lifting speeds.
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