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Eur J Sport Sci. 2017 Jul;17(6):665-672. doi: 10.1080/17461391.2017.1298673. Epub 2017 Mar 19.

Effects of different strength training frequencies during reduced training period on strength and muscle cross-sectional area.

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a School of Physical Education and Sport , University of São Paulo , São Paulo , Brazil.
b Department of Health Sciences and Human Performance , The University of Tampa , Tampa , FL , USA.
c Department of health, exercise science and recreation management , The University of Mississippi , Oxford , MS , USA.
d Diagnósticos das Américas S/A (DASA) , São Paulo , Brazil.


This study investigated the effects of different reduced strength training (RST) frequencies on half-squat 1 RM and quadriceps cross-sectional area (QCSA). Thirty-three untrained males (24.7 ± 3.9 years; 1.73 ± 0.08 m; 74.6 ± 8.4 kg) underwent a 16-week experimental period (i.e. eight weeks of strength training [ST] followed by additional eight weeks of RST). During the ST period, the participants performed 3-4 sets of 6-12 RM, three sessions/week in half-squat and knee extension exercises. Following ST, the participants were randomly allocated to one of three groups: reduced strength training with one (RST1) or two sessions per week (RST2), and ceased training (CT). Both RST1 and RST2 groups had their training frequency and total training volume-load (i.e. RST1 = 50.3% and RST2 = 57.1%) reduced, while the CT group stopped training completely. Half-squat 1 RM (RST1 = 27.9%; RST2 = 26.7%; and CT = 28.4%) and QCSA (RST1 = 6.1%; RST2 = 6.9%; and CT = 5.8%) increased significantly (p < .05) in all groups after eight weeks of ST. No significant changes were observed in 1 RM and QCSA for RST1 and RST2 groups after the RST period, while the CT group demonstrated a decrease in half-squat 1 RM (22.6%) and QCSA (5.4%) when compared to the ST period (p < .05). In conclusion, different RST frequencies applied were able to maintain muscle mass and strength performance obtained over the regular ST period. Thus, it appears that RST frequency does not affect the maintenance of muscle mass and strength in untrained males, as long as volume-load is equated between frequencies.


Ceased training; hypertrophy; reduced volume-load; volume-matched

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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