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Asian J Sports Med. 2016 Jan 16;7(2):e29247. doi: 10.5812/asjsm.29247. eCollection 2016 Jun.

A Comparison of Increases in Volume Load Over 8 Weeks of Low-Versus High-Load Resistance Training.

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Department of Health Sciences, CUNY Lehman College, Bronx, USA.
McMaster University, Ontario, Canada.
Sport Performance Research Institute, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand.
Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals, Provo, USA.
Group of Study and Research in Metabolism, Nutrition, and Exercise, Londrina State University, Londrina, Brazil.
Kinesiology Program, Arizona State University, Arizona, USA.



It has been hypothesized that the ability to increase volume load (VL) via a progressive increase in the magnitude of load for a given exercise within a given repetition range could enhance the adaptive response to resistance training.


The purpose of this study was to compare changes in volume load (VL) over eight weeks of resistance training (RT) in high-versus low-load protocols.


Eighteen well-trained men were matched according to baseline strength were randomly assigned to either a low-load RT (LOW, n = 9) where 25 - 35 repetitions were performed per exercise, or a high-load RT (HIGH, n = 9) where 8 - 12 repetitions were performed per exercise. Both groups performed three sets of seven exercises for all major muscles three times per week on non-consecutive days.


After adjusting for the pre-test scores, there was a significant difference between the two intervention groups on post-intervention total VL with a very large effect size (F (1, 15) = 16.598, P = .001, ηp(2) = .525). There was a significant relationship between pre-intervention and post-intervention total VL (F (1, 15) = 32.048, P < .0001, ηp(2) = .681) in which the pre-test scores explained 68% of the variance in the post-test scores.


This study indicates that low-load RT results in greater accumulations in VL compared to high-load RT over the course of 8 weeks of training.


Heavy Loads; Light Loads; Muscular Failure; Repetition Scheme

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