Specificity of Training Modalities on Upper Body One Repetition Maximum Performance: Free Weights vs. Hammer Strength Equipment

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The purpose of this study was to determine whether a relationship exists between 1-repetition maximum (1RM) performed on hammer strength (HS) machines compared to free weights (FWs) and also to develop regression equations that can accurately predict 1RM when switching from exercise modality to another. Thirty-one trained male subjects performed 1-RM lifts (1RM's) on 3 HS externally loaded machines and 3 comparable FW exercises. Subjects performed 2 1RM tests during each laboratory session, with at least 48-72 hours of recovery between each. One repetition maximum data were used to (a) determine the relationship between 1RM performed on HS vs. FW and (b) to develop regression equations that can accurately predict 1RM's when switching from 1 exercise modality to another. Statistics revealed significant differences (p < 0.05) between 1RM's performed on the HS equipment as compared to its corresponding (FW) exercise. For all exercises, 1RM's were significantly greater on the HS equipment. Regression equations were developed for all exercises, except when predicting the HS shoulder press and the HS preacher curls from their free weight counterparts, where no variables existed that could significantly predict their respective 1RM's. As 1 RMs were significantly greater when using the HS equipment compared to when using FWs, those transitioning from HS exercise to FW exercise should exercise caution.