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Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2016 Apr;26(4):375-83. doi: 10.1111/sms.12445. Epub 2015 Mar 24.

Is repetition failure critical for the development of muscle hypertrophy and strength?

Author information

1
Centre for Human and Applied Physiology, School of Medicine, Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia.

Abstract

This investigation sought to determine the effect of resistance training to failure on functional, structural and neural elbow flexor muscle adaptation. Twenty-eight males completed a 4-week familiarization period and were then counterbalanced on the basis of responsiveness across; non-failure rapid shortening (RS; rapid concentric, 2 s eccentric), non-failure stretch-shortening (SSC; rapid concentric, rapid eccentric), and failure control (C, 2 s concentric, 2 s eccentric), for a 12-week unilateral elbow flexor resistance training regimen, 3 × week using 85% of one repetition maximum (1RM). 1RM, maximal voluntary contraction (MVC), muscle cross-sectional area (CSA), and muscle activation (EMG(RMS)) of the agonist, antagonist, and stabilizer muscles were assessed before and after the 12-week training period. The average number of repetitions per set was significantly lower in RS 4.2 [confidence interval (CI): 4.2, 4.3] and SSC 4.2 (CI: 4.2, 4.3) compared with C 6.1 (CI: 5.8, 6.4). A significant increase in 1RM (30.5%), MVC (13.3%), CSA (11.4%), and agonist EMG(RMS) (22.1%) was observed; however, no between-group differences were detected. In contrast, antagonist EMG(RMS) increased significantly in SSC (40.5%) and C (23.3%), but decreased in RS (13.5%). Similar adaptations across the three resistance training regimen suggest repetition failure is not critical to elicit significant neural and structural changes to skeletal muscle.

KEYWORDS:

Resistance training; electromyography; fatigue; neural; one repetition maximum; velocity

PMID:
25809472
DOI:
10.1111/sms.12445
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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