Sunday, August 8, 2010

Gender Bias: Women Recover Faster From All Out Benching Than Men

We all know, women are tough, but would you have expected them to recover much faster from an all out bench press session at the gym? Judge (Judge. 2010) investigated the effect of recovery time on strength performance following a high-intensity bench press workout in 12 athletes (6 males and 6 females) and age-matched college students of both genders (4 males and 4 females).
The subjects completed a 3-wk resistance training program involving a bench press exercise, 3 d/wk, to become familiar with the testing procedure. After the completion of the resistance training program, the subjects, on three consecutive weeks, participated in two testing sessions per week, baseline session and recovery session. During the testing sessions, subjects performed five sets of the bench press exercise at 50% to 100% of perceived five repetition maximum (5-RM).
After resting 4-, 24-, or 48-h strength measurements were estimates of one repetition maximum (1-RM), using equivalent percentages for the number of repetitions completed by the subject at the perceived 5-RM effort of the bench press exercise. The results were surprising. Judge found a significant decreases in estimated 1-RM at the 4- and 24-h recovery times for the male subjects, only. Among the female subjects there were no performance differences, regardless of recovery time.

On a side note: Maybe the results of the study had been different if the men had been allowed to cool their palms on the second test. This it at least, what another recent study by Kwon (Kwon. 2010) would suggest, as the researchers found that
palm cooling from 35 degrees C to 20 degrees C temporarily overrides fatigue mechanism(s) during intense intermittent resistance exercise.
So next time you want to impress the bros at the gym, don't forget to bring a device the scientists call a "the rapid thermal exchanger" ;-)