In the world of fitness there are many specialists who have varying opinions on what type of exercises are needed in order for an individual to be considered healthy. Upper body strength is one component that is considered important in overall fitness, since many everyday activities are dependent on it. Upper body strength can be improved through various resistance training methods, such as body weight resistance and resistance bands. Studies have proven that these training methods can significantly help in increasing or maintaining upper body strength (Rupnow, 1985). This review was conducted to examine the impact of resistance bands and body weight resistance training programs on upper body strength.
Problem Begins in the Schools
Cutbacks in the nation's school systems have forced school districts to reduce the amount of physical education class time each student receives per week. As a result children lead more sedentary lives leading to the weakening of muscle fibers in the body. Additionally much of the modern technology eliminates many upper body strength tasks required at home or work (Rupnow, 1985). As a result of physical education cutbacks and increased technology Presidential Physical Fitness test scores are on a decline (English, 1989). To improve these scores it is recommended students perform 1 set of 6-15 repetitions of upper body exercises at least 2-3 times per week (Faigenbaum, et al., 2001). Through the plans of action the schools can provide a more inviting atmosphere to exercise, allowing the students to be more successful in attaining fitness goals (Rupnow, 1985). Physical educators are encouraged to not only teach primarily motor skill activities, but also include upper body strength exercises in daily lessons (Rupnow, 1985).
Upper Body Strength Gains
Upper body strength gains can be made in both females and males when resistance training methods are utilized (Johnson, 1974). One study reported resistance training can lead to an increase in muscular strength in children of both genders (Faigenbaum, et al., 2001). Strength gains in men and women may differ as a result of certain variables. Studies have shown that males, however, have more testosterone resulting in higher absolute gains in muscular strength than women (Heyward & McCreary, 1977). Heyward & McCreary (1977) stated that upper body strength of non-athletic females was 43% to 63% less than that of males. Johnson (1974) found the use of resistance training methods with young males and females improved upper body strength for both genders. Pushup scores for males increased by 18.6 repetitions, with pull-ups and dips also showing significant improvement. Females displayed improvement in pushups, pull-ups, and dips. The score improvements provide evidence that the fitness scores can be improved among both genders through the utilization of resistance training methods (Johnson, 1974).
Resistance Training Methods
Resistance training exercises have been proven to enhance upper body muscular strength and endurance (Anderson & Kearney., 1982). As a result many school districts have turned to resistance training techniques since it has been shown muscular endurance and strength can be enhanced through their use (Johnson,...
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