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Int J Exerc Sci. 2016 Apr 1;9(2):159-167. eCollection 2016.

Increasing Lean Mass and Strength: A Comparison of High Frequency Strength Training to Lower Frequency Strength Training.

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Department of Kinesiology, University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg, MO, USA.


The purpose of this study was to determine the effect strength training frequency has on improvements in lean mass and strength. Participants were 7 women and 12 men, age (χ̄= 34.64 years ± 6.91 years), with strength training experience, training age (χ̄= 51.16 months ± 39.02 months). Participants were assigned to one of two groups to equal baseline group demographics. High frequency training group (HFT) trained each muscle group as the agonist, 3 times per week, exercising with 3 sets per muscle group per session (3 total body workouts). Low frequency training group (LFT) trained each muscle group as the agonist one time per week, completing all 9 sets during that one workout. LFT consisted of a routine split over three days: 1) pectoralis, deltoids, and triceps; 2) upper back and biceps; 3) quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and abdominals. Following eight weeks of training, HFT increased lean mass by 1.06 kg ± 1.78 kg, (1.9%), and LFT increased lean mass by .99 kg ± 1.31 kg, (2.0%). HFT strength improvements on the chest press was 9.07 kg ± 6.33 kg, (11%), and hack squat 20.16 kg ± 11.59 kg, (21%). LFT strength improvements on chest press was 5.80kg ± 4.26 kg, (7.0%), and hack squat 21.83 kg ± 11.17 kg, (24 %). No mean differences between groups were significant. These results suggest that HFT and LFT of equal set totals result in similar improvements in lean mass and strength, following 8 weeks of strength training.


Hypertrophy; body composition; exercise prescription; sarcopenia


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