A new study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research shows that traditional strength training methods work best for women who want to build muscle strength and endurance. However, many women are told that it is best to do a low velocity routine instead.
Sharon Rana, associate professor of exercise physiology at Ohio University, led the study. She and her colleagues looked at the effectiveness of low velocity resistance training versus more conventional training, for women. Thirty-four women, all university students, participated in the study. All the women performed one of three different training methods for six weeks. The three methods included a traditional strength training regimen, a low velocity routine, and a traditional muscular endurance training regimen. The main differences were that the group doing the traditional strength training program lifted more weight and performed fewer repetitions, while the endurance group lifted lighter weights and performed more repetitions. The low velocity group also lifted lighter weights, but at a much slower speed than the other groups as well as with fewer repetitions.
Rana noted, "What made the research a little different is that we put the various methods of resistance training all in one study and added a control group, which hadn't been done before. The endurance group also hadn't really been studied in conjunction with low velocity type training."
Absolute strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance, and body composition were measured throughout the study. The results showed that the group that gained the most strength was the traditional strength training group. Both of the other groups also gained strength, but much less. Cardiovascular endurance didn't increase significantly in any of the groups, highlighting the importance of participating in aerobic activity in addition to any kind of strength training routine.
"The low velocity training obviously helps you," Rana said. "You can gain some strength and muscle endurance, but the traditional methods are going to do a slightly better job for those two things."