Document Type


Publication Date



Background: Intensity of resistance training history might be omitted or poorly ascertained in prescreening or data questionnaires involving musculoskeletal health. Failure to identify history of high-versus low-intensity training may overlook higher effect sizes with higher intensities and therefore diminish the precision of statistical analysis with resistance training as a covariate and bias the confirmation of baseline homogeneity for experimental group designation. The purpose was to determine the degree to which a single question assessing participant history of resistance training intensity predicted differences in musculoskeletal health. Methods: In the first research aim, participants were separated into groups with a history (RT) and no history (NRT) of resistance training. The second research aim evaluated the history of resistance training intensity on muscular strength, lean mass, and bone mineral density (BMD), RT participants were reassigned into a low- (LIRT) or high-intensity resistance training group (HIRT). 83 males and 87 females (19.3 ± 0.6 yrs., 171.1 ± 9.9 cm, 67.1 ± 10.5 kg, 22.9 ± 2.8 BMI, 26.2 ± 7.2% body fat) completed handgrip dynamometry (HG) and dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry scans (DXA) for BMD and bone mineral-free lean mass (BFLM). Results: A 3-group method (NRT, LIRT, HIRT) reduced type-I error compared with the 2-group method (NRT, RT) in characterizing the likely effects of one’s history of resistance training. For the second aim, HIRT had significantly (p < 0.05) greater HG strength (76.2 ± 2.2 kg) and arm BFLM (6.10 ± 0.16 kg) than NRT (67.5 ± 1.3 kg; 4.96 ± 0.09 kg) and LIRT (69.7 ± 2.0 kg; 5.42 ± 0.14 kg) while also showing significantly lower muscle quality (HG/BFLM) than NRT (13.9 ± 0.2 vs. 12.9 ± 0.3). HIRT had greater BMD at all sites compared to NRT (whole body = 1.068 ± 0.008 vs. 1.120 ± 0.014; AP spine = 1.013 ± 0.011 vs. 1.059 ± 0.019; lateral spine = 0.785 ± 0.009 vs. 0.846 ± 0.016; femoral neck = 0.915 ± 0.013 vs. 0.970 ± 0.022; total hip = 1.016 ± 0.012 vs. 1.068 ± 0.021 g/cm2) while LIRT revealed no significant skeletal differences to NRT. Conclusions: Retrospective identification of high-intensity history of resistance training appears critical in characterizing musculoskeletal health and can be ascertained easily in as little as a single, standalone question. Both retrospective-questionnaire style investigations and pre-screening for potential participation in prospective research studies should include participant history of resistance training intensity.

Recommended Citation

Todd C. Shoepe, et al. “Intensity of Resistance Training via Self-Reported History Is Critical in Properly Characterizing Musculoskeletal Health.” BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, vol. 21, no. 1, Nov. 2020, pp. 1–14