Comparison of single- and multi-joint lower body resistance training upon strength increases in recreationally active males and females: a within-participant unilateral training study

The present study compared strength increases resulting from either single-joint (SJ) or multi-joint (MJ) lower body resistance exercise. A within-participants design was utilised. Ten recreationally active participants (males; n=5, and females; n=5) had their lower limbs randomly allocated to perform both unilateral MJ (leg press; LP) and unilateral SJ (knee extension; KE, and seated knee flexion; KF) exercises. Participants trained 2 d.week-1 for 6 weeks. Pre- and post-intervention maximal strength (1-repetition maximum; 1RM) was measured for leg press, knee extension, and seated knee flexion exercises. Statistically significant strength increases occurred for both SJ and MJ groups, with significantly greater increases in 1RM for the MJ compared to the SJ group (p < 0.001 for all exercises). This study supports the use of MJ exercise for strength increases across lower body MJ and SJ movements, suggesting a time-efficient, and simple approach to resistance training may be efficacious. This might serve to promote greater adherence in the lay population as well as serving useful for rehabilitation professionals and strength and conditioning coaches in managing resistance exercise around skill/sport specific training.

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