Effectiveness of Resistance Circuit-Based Training for Maximum Oxygen Uptake and Upper-Body One-Repetition Maximum Improvements: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
It is well known that concurrent increases in both maximal strength and aerobic capacity are associated with improvements in sports performance as well as overall health. One of the most popular training methods used for achieving these objectives is resistance circuit-based training.
The objective of the present systematic review with a meta-analysis was to evaluate published studies that have investigated the effects of resistance circuit-based training on maximum oxygen uptake and one-repetition maximum of the upper-body strength (bench press exercise) in healthy adults.
The following electronic databases were searched from January to June 2016: PubMed, Web of Science and Cochrane. Studies were included if they met the following criteria: (1) examined healthy adults aged between 18 and 65 years; (2) met the characteristics of resistance circuit-based training; and (3) analysed the outcome variables of maximum oxygen uptake using a gas analyser and/or one-repetition maximum bench press.
Of the 100 articles found from the database search and after all duplicates were removed, eight articles were analysed for maximum oxygen uptake. Of 118 healthy adults who performed resistance circuit-based training, maximum oxygen uptake was evaluated before and after the training programme. Additionally, from the 308 articles found for one-repetition maximum, eight articles were analysed. The bench press one-repetition maximum load, of 237 healthy adults who performed resistance circuit-based training, was evaluated before and after the training programme. Significant increases in maximum oxygen uptake and one-repetition maximum bench press were observed following resistance circuit-based training. Additionally, significant differences in maximum oxygen uptake and one-repetition maximum bench press were found between the resistance circuit-based training and control groups.
The meta-analysis showed that resistance circuit-based training, independent of the protocol used in the studies, is effective in increasing maximum oxygen uptake and one-repetition maximum bench press in healthy adults. However, its effect appears to be larger depending on the population and training characteristics. For large effects in maximum oxygen uptake, the programme should include ~14–30 sessions for ~6–12 weeks, with each session lasting at least ~20–30 min, at intensities between ~60 and 90% one-repetition maximum. For large effects in one-repetition maximum bench press, the data indicate that intensity should be ~30–60% one-repetition maximum, with sessions lasting at least ~22.5–60 min. However, the lower participant’s baseline fitness level may explain the lighter optimal loads used in the circuit training studies where greater strength gains were reported.
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