To compare the increases in upper- and lower-body muscle strength in premenopausal women performing resistance training (RT) alone or alongside concurrent high-intensity interval training (CT).
Sixteen women (26–40 years) were randomly assigned into two groups that performed either RT or CT. Both groups performed the same RT program; however, CT performed additional high-intensity interval training (HIIT) on a bicycle ergometer before RT. The study lasted 8 weeks and the participants were tested for ten repetition maximum (10RM) load in elbow flexion (barbell biceps curl) and knee extension exercises pre- and post-intervention. RT was performed with 10–12 repetitions to self-determined repetition maximum in the first four weeks and then progressed to 8–10. During CT, HIIT was performed before RT with six 1-min bouts at 7–8 of perceived subjective exertion (RPE) and then progressed to eight bouts at 9–10 RPE.
Analysis of variance revealed significant increases in upper and lower body strength for both the RT and CT groups. Biceps barbell curl 10RM load increased from 12.9 ± 3.2 kg to 14 ± 1.5 kg in CT (p < 0.05) and from 13 ± 1.8 kg to 15.9 ± 2.5 kg in RT (p < 0.05), with no significant between-groups differences. Knee extension 10RM increase from 31.9 ± 11.6 kg to 37.5 ± 8.5 kg for CT (p < 0.05) and from 30.6 ± 8.6 kg to 41.2 ± 7.4 kg for RT (p < 0.05).
In conclusion, performing HIIT on a cycle ergometer before resistance training does not seem to impair muscle strength increases in the knee extensors or elbow flexors of pre-menopausal women. This information should be considered when prescribing exercise sessions, since both activities may be combined without negative effects in muscle strength.