Influence of exercise order on one and ten repetition maximum loads determination.
Exercise order is an important variable in the design of a strength training program. Also, exercise order appears to have an influence on both the acute responses (such as repetition performance) and the blood lactate and chronic adaptations (particularly the development of muscular strength and hypertrophy) (7). Previous studies that examined the acute responses demonstrated that performing exercises that involved a relatively greater or lesser amount of muscle mass later in a training session resulted in significantly fewer repetitions versus when the same exercise was performed earlier in a workout sequence (1,2,5,6,9,10,14).
Previous studies that examined chronic adaptations also demonstrated significantly greater strength gains for exercises when performed at the beginning of a workout sequence (3,12,13). Collectively, the studies emphasize the importance of prioritizing the performance movements or exercises most in need of improvement at the beginning of a session to accomplish greater training volume and stimulate greater strength gains. In fact, recently, Simao and colleagues (7) concluded that the exercise order should receive a greater consideration in strength training program design and, perhaps, it should also apply to strength testing scenarios.
To the best of our knowledge, there are no previous studies that have examined the effect of exercise testing order on the load achieved (i.e., 1-RM and 10-RM). Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the influence of exercise order on performance when conducting 1-RM and 10-RM tests. It was hypothesized that both 1-RM and 10-RM performance would be negatively affected by the maximum load achieved for exercises tested later versus earlier in a sequence.
Ten male subjects (n = 10), with at least 1 yr of weight training experience (age: 24.3 [+ or -] 2 yrs; height: 1.81 m [+ or -] 0.06; mass: 84.72 [+ or -] 10.10 kg) participated in this study. Prior to the testing sessions, all subjects were informed of the study procedures prior to signing a consent form. This study was approved by the Rio de Janeiro Federal University Ethics Committee. The subjects were instructed not to consume any ergogenic aids and to maintain their usual daily activities throughout the study period.
During the first laboratory visit, the subjects' height and weight were measured by means of an analogical scale (Filizola, Brazil) and a stadiometer (Sanny, Brazil). To determine the influence of the exercise testing order on the load achieved for 1-RM and 10-RM tests, the subjects underwent four 1-RM testing and retesting sessions and four 10-RM testing and retesting sessions in a counterbalanced crossover design. The bench press (BP), leg press (LP), machine lat pull-down (LPD), free-weight shoulder press (SP), standing free-weight biceps curl (BC), and leg curl (LC) were tested and retested in a reversed sequence. The 1-RM and 10-RM assessments were divided over an 8-day period. On the first, second, third and fourth day, 1-RM was tested and retested for both sequences. On the last day, 10-RM was tested and retested. A 72-hr recovery period separated the testing and retesting sessions, and the 1-RM and 10-RM loads achieved for each exercise were compared between sequences.
One and Ten Repetition Maximum Test
The 1-RM and 10-RM testing sessions were performed either as sequence A (SEQA) or sequence B (SEQB). SEQA consisted of the following exercises: LC, BC, SP, LpD, LP, and BP while SEQB consisted of: BP, LP, LPD, SP, BC, and LC. A 72 hrs recovery period separated the testing and retesting sessions, and the 1-RM and 10-RM loads achieved for each exercise were compared between sequences. The 1-RM testing began with a warm-up set at 50% of the perceived 1-RM load for each exercise. The load was then progressively increased until a 1-RM was achieved. The 1-RM was determined in fewer than three attempts with a rest interval of 5 min between each attempt and 10 min before starting the 1-RM assessment for the next exercise in either sequence. After 72 hrs, a second visit occurred and the 1-RM testing was repeated; the highest successful lift was recorded as the 1-RM load (12). The same procedures were adopted in conducting the 10-RM tests. All 1-RM and 10-RM testing sessions were supervised by a certified fitness professional to ensure the correct execution of the exercises.
The data for all variables were analyzed using the Shapiro-Wilk normality test and homocedasticity (Bartlett criterion). The intraclass coefficient correlation (ICC) was used to determine 1-RM and 10-RM test-retest reliability. Paired f-tests were applied to compare the results of the 1-RM and 10-RM tests between sequences (SEQA vs. SEQB) for all exercises. The Pearson correlation test was applied to assess the association between the 1-RM and 10-RM loads. All statistical analyses were carried out with the Statistica 7.0 software (Statsoft, Inc., Tulsa, OK). Statistical significance was set at P<0.05.
All variables presented normal distribution and homocedasticity. The test-retest reliability showed high ICC for all exercise tests in SEQA for 10-RM (LC, r = 0.98; BC, r = 0.90, SP, r = 0.70; LPD, r = 1, LP, r = 0.95, BP, r = 0.97), and 1-RM (BP, r = 0.99; LP, r = 0.98; LPD, r = 0.98; SP, r = 0.94; BC, r = 0.96; LC, r = 0.97) and SEQB for 10-RM (BP, r = 0.99; LP, r = 0.99; LPD, r = 0.98; SP, r = 0.98; BC, r = 0.97; LC, r = 0.98), and for 1-RM (BP, r = 0.99; LP, r = 0.98; LPD, r = 0.97; SP, r = 0.98; BC, r = 0.96; LC, r = 0.92).
The results indicated significant reductions in 1-RM (LPD, LP) and 10-RM (LP, BP) loads achieved for exercises that involved relatively greater muscle mass when conducted later within a testing sequence. Conversely, the 1-RM and 10-RM loads achieved were not significantly different between sequences for exercises that involve relatively lesser muscle mass (i.e., SP, BC, LC; see Tables 1 and 2). Significant correlations between the 1-RM and 10-RM loads were found for all exercises with the exception of the LC (see Table 3).
The key findings of this study were that 1-RM (LPD and LP) and 10-RM (LP and BP) performances were not optimal for exercises that involved relatively greater muscle mass when conducted later within a testing sequence. Conversely, 1-RM and 10-RM performances were not significantly different between testing sequences for exercises that involve relatively lesser muscle mass (i.e., SP, BC, and LC).
The results indicate significant reductions in 1-RM loads when exercises that involved relatively greater muscle mass were positioned from the middle to the end of a testing sequence (i.e., LPD and LP). These reductions in 1-RM loads might be explained due to accumulating levels of fatigue across multiple muscle groups and the inability to sufficiently activate higher threshold motor units, regardless of a 5 or 10 min rest between attempts (5). Conversely, other exercises (i.e., LC, BC, and SP) that involved relatively lesser muscle mass did not demonstrate a testing order effect. However, when the LC and BC tests preceded the LPD and LP tests (SEQB), a pre-exhaustion effect appeared to occur due to the involvement of the elbow flexors for the LPD and the hamstrings for the LP. It should be noted that BP 1-RM performance for SEQB was less when preceded by the SP.
The findings also indicate similar outcomes for the 10-RM testing of performance for exercises that involved relatively large or small muscle mass. That is, the 10-RM performance for the LP and BP was less when testing was conducted at the end of a sequence; whereas, other exercises did not demonstrate a testing order effect (LC, BC, SP, and LPD). Previous studies indicated that significantly fewer total repetitions were completed during a workout session when exercises were performed later in a sequence, and regardless of whether the exercises involved greater or lesser muscle mass (4,8-10).
A unique aspect of this study compared to other similarly designed studies (1,2,4-6,9,10,14) is the relevance to testing scenarios. To our knowledge, this is the first study that analyzed the influence of exercise order on maximum and submaximum strength testing. Additionally, the results of this study have implications for strength testing in laboratory and field settings in order to obtain valid measurements of muscular strength levels and improvements, and to achieve adequate loads during strength training prescription.
The 1-RM and 10-RM performances were not significantly different between testing sequences for exercises that involved relatively lesser muscle mass. Therefore, when testing maximal and submaximal strength for several exercises in the same testing session, the exercises that involve relatively large muscle mass should be tested first followed by exercises that involve relatively lesser muscle mass.
Address for correspondence: Humberto Miranda, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro-Avenida Carlos Chagas, 540--Cidade Universitaria--Cep: 21941-590, Rio de janeiro, RJ, Brasil, Tel: 55-21-25626808. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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The opinions expressed in JEPonline are those of the authors and are not attributable to JEPonline, the editorial staff or the ASEP organization.
Tiago Figueiredo [1,2], Humberto Miranda , Jeffrey M. Willardson , Andre Schneider , Belmiro Freitas de Salles , Juliano Spineti , Gabriel A. Paz [2,4], Haroldo Santana , Roberto Simao 
 Estacio de Sa University, Physical Education Graduation Program. Macae, RJ, BRAZIL,  Rio de Janeiro Federal University. School of Physical Education and Sports. Rio de Janeiro, RJ 22941-590--BRAZIL,  Rocky Mountain College Health and Human Performance Department, Billings, Montana, USA.  Castelo Branco University, Biodynamic laboratory of Exercise, Health, and Performance--, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
Table 1. Comparison 1-RM Loads (kg) Between SEQA and SEQB. Sequence LC BC SEQA 135.4 [+ or -] 18.4 21.6 [+ or -] 2.7 SEQB 129.0 [+ or -] 16.5 21.7 [+ or -] 3.1 Sequence SP LPD SEQA 28 [+ or -] 4.1 84.9 [+ or -] 12.8 SEQB 28.3 [+ or -] 4.3 88.8 [+ or -] 12.7 Sequence LP BP SEQA 339 [+ or -] 66.0 (#) 81.6 [+ or -] 16.2 SEQB 376.2 [+ or -] 65.9 (#) 85 [+ or -] 14.8 * Data presented as mean [+ or -] SD. Values are expressed in kg; BP = bench press; LP = leg press; LPD = machine lat pull-down; SP = free weight shoulder press; BC = standing free-weight biceps curl; LC = leg curl. (#) Difference between SEQA and SEQB Table 2. Comparison 10-RM Loads (kg) Between SEQA and SEQB. Sequence LC BC SP SEQA 91.0 [+ or -] 16.9 14.8 [+ or -] 2.3 22.2 [+ or -] 4.5 SEQB 84.4 [+ or -] 19.4 15.0 [+ or -] 2.9 22.7 [+ or -] 5.2 Sequence LPD LP SEQA 67.7 [+ or -] 12.3 220 [+ or -] 59.0 (#) SEQB 69.0 [+ or -] 11.0 255 [+ or -] 63.3 (#) Sequence BP SEQA 60.0 [+ or -] 10.8 (#) SEQB 63.4 [+ or -] 13.2 (#) * Data presented as mean [+ or -] SD. Values are expressed in kg; BP = bench press; LP = leg press; LPD = machine lat pull-down; SP = free weight shoulder press; BC = standing free-weight biceps curl; LC = leg curl. (#) Difference between SEQA and SEQB Table 3. Pearson Correlation Between 1-RM and 10-RM Test in SEQA and SEQB. Sequence LC BC SP SEQA 0.20 0.89 0.76 P = 0.57 P = 0.01 P = 0.01 SEQB 0.41 -0.86 0.84 P = 0.23 P = 0.01 P = 0.02 Sequence LPD LP BP SEQA 0.91 0.70 0.94 P = 0.00 P = 0.02 P = 0.00 SEQB 0.82 0.43 0.95 P = 0.00 P = 0.21 P = 0.00 BP = bench press; LP = leg press; LPD = machine lat pull-down; SP = free weight shoulder press; BC = standing free-weight biceps curl; LC = leg curl
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|Author:||Figueiredo, Tiago; Miranda, Humberto; Willardson, Jeffrey M.; Schneider, Andre; de Salles, Belmiro F|
|Publication:||Journal of Exercise Physiology Online|
|Article Type:||Author abstract|
|Date:||Apr 1, 2016|
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