Objective: Both low-load-high-repetitions (LLHR) and Pilates programs constitute popular forms of exercise, accompanied by health benefits for the participants involved. Notably, the effect of such programs on aerobic fitness is still controversial. The aim of this study was to examine the effects of both programs on physical fitness and body composition on previously inactive adult women. Methods: Twenty-six women (39.8 ± 9.1y) were assigned to a LLHR program, and sixteen women (39.1 ± 12.2y) were assigned to a Pilates program. Both programs were performed in a group setting, 3 times per week for 3 months. Aerobic fitness, flexibility, handgrip strength and lower extremities explosiveness were assessed by a battery of field testing. Total body fat and trunk fat levels were assessed by bioelectrical impedance analysis. Heart rate response during exercise was recorded once every month by using a telemetry system. Results: Aerobic fitness, lower extremities explosive power, left arm handgrip strength and body composition significantly improved in the LLHR group; while flexibility significantly improved only in the Pilates group, following the intervention period (p < 0.05). LLHR was superior to the Pilates program in improving aerobic fitness and body composition; whilst Pilates was superior in improving flexibility (p < 0.05). Conclusion: LLHR group-based exercise programs may improve various aspects of physical fitness, including aerobic fitness, in inactive adult women. This medium-intensity form of exercise is generally well tolerated and might be used as an option for women who cannot perform training on higher intensities. In contrast, the Pilates program failed to improve physical fitness-related parameters except flexibility levels.
- Aerobic fitness
- Body composition