The effect of continuous repetition training and intra-set rest training on bench press strength and power

T. Lawton, J. Cronin, E. Drinkwater, R. Lindsell, D. Pyne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Aim. The purpose of this research was to compare the effects of continuous repetition and intra-set rest training on maximal strength and power output of the upper body. Methods. The 6 repetition maximum (6RM) and bench press throw power output against masses of 20, 30 and 40 kg of 26 elite junior male basketball and soccer players were tested on 2 separate occasions for reliability purposes. Subjects were then randomly assigned to either a continuous repetition (CR - 4 sets × 6 repetitions) or intra-set rest (ISR - 8 sets × repetitions) training regime over 6-weeks. Volume (sets × repetitions × % 6RM) between groups was equated and both groups completed all sets in the same time period (13 minutes and 20 seconds). The total concentric work time was determined to identify differences in training regimes. Independent sample t-tests on preintervention and postintervention percentage change scores were analysed for significant differences (p<0.05). Results. The observed coefficients of variation (1.7% to 4.8%) and intraclass correlation coefficients (r=0.87 to 0.98) indicated stability of these measures across testing occasions. The CR group significantly increased 6RM strength (9.7%) compared with the ISR group (4.9%). The total concentric work time was significantly longer in CR training than ISR (36.03± 4.03 s and 31.74±4.71 s; p=0.13). Power output increases across the 20, 30 and 40 kg loads ranged from 5.8% to 10.9% for both training groups but the between-group percentage change scores were not significantly different. Conclusion. Bench press training involving 4 sets of 6 continuous repetitions elicited a greater improvement in bench press strength than 8 sets of 3 repetitions at the same percentage load of their 6RM. Both ISR and CR training were equally effective in increasing power output.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-367
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


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