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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1996 Oct;28(10):1311-20.

Effect of resistance training volume on strength and muscle thickness.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville 32610, USA.


The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of different volumes of high-intensity resistance training on isometric torque and muscle thickness. Training was conducted three times per week using one set (low volume, EX-1, N = 18) or three sets (high volume, EX-3, N = 20) of dynamic variable resistance exercise. Ten subjects acted as nontraining controls (CONT). Bilateral knee extension (KEXT) and flexion (KFLEX) exercise was performed to fatigue within 8-12 repetitions for 14 wk. Maximal isometric KEXT and KFLEX torque was tested at 6 degrees, 24 degrees, 42 degrees, 60 degrees, 78 degrees, 96 degrees, and 108 degrees of KFLEX using a MedX (Ocala, FL) KEXT/KFLEX ergometer. The anterior (ANT), lateral (LAT), and posterior (POST) right thigh, the medialis muscle (MED), and the lateralis muscle (LATER) were assessed for thickness by B-mode ultrasound (ULTRA). Both training groups improved torque output at most angles, but there was no difference between EX-1 and EX-3 (P > or = 0.05). ULTRA detected increases in muscle thickness for EX-1 at 60% LAT and 40% and 60% POST. EX-3 increased muscle thickness at the MED, and 40% and 60% POST. In conclusion, one set of high intensity resistance training was as effective as three sets for increasing KEXT and KFLEX isometric torque and muscle thickness in previously untrained adults.

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