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Jinger S. Gottschall, Bryce Hastings, and Zachary Becker

Popular topics for upper-body resistance training involve the differences between hand positions, open versus closed chain exercises, and movement variations for the novice to the advanced. It was hypothesized that there will be no difference between closed (push-up) versus open (bench press) chain exercises for the primary muscle group activity nor would there be a difference between push-ups on the toes versus knees with respect to the percent contribution of each muscle. Surface muscle activity was measured for 8 upper-body and core muscles during a sequence of push-up and bench press variations with a normalized weight for 12 active men. Each participant completed push-ups and bench press exercises at each of 3 hand positions. The results demonstrated that there were few differences between closed versus open chain exercises for the primary muscle groups with the exception of core activation. In addition, in general, narrow hand positions yielded greater activation, and there were no significant differences between push-ups on the toes versus knees with respect to the percent contribution for the primary muscle groups. In conclusion, closed chain exercises may be preferred for functional training, and knee push-ups may be ideal as a novice push-up variation.

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Jinger S. Gottschall, Joshua J. Davis, Bryce Hastings, and Heather J. Porter

The growing prevalence and popularity of interval training necessitate additional guidelines in regard to maximal levels of time and intensity. Purpose: To correlate salivary hormones and time in varying heart-rate (HR) zones. The hypothesis was that chronic exercise durations >9% of total exercise time in the >90% maximum HR zone would lead to decreased variation in salivary cortisol concentration after exercise in a 2-bout high-intensity protocol compared with less or more time in this zone. Methods: A total of 35 healthy adults who regularly exercised for an average of 8 hours per week recorded their HR during every training session for 3 weeks. Later, they completed an experimental day composed of two 30-minute high-intensity interval sessions separated by 4 hours of nonactive recovery. The authors collected saliva samples before, immediately following, and 30 minutes after each exercise session to assess changes in cortisol concentrations. Results: There was a correlation between weekly time training at an intensity >90% maximum HR and the variables associated with overtraining. Salivary cortisol concentration fluctuated less in the participants who exercised in this extreme zone for >40 minutes per week (P < .001). Conclusion: Based on the current study data, for individuals who regularly exercise, 4% to 9% total training time above 90% maximum HR is the ideal duration to maximize fitness and minimize symptoms related to overreaching.