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Eur J Transl Myol. 2017 Jun 27;27(2):6339. doi: 10.4081/ejtm.2017.6339. eCollection 2017 Jun 24.

Strength Training with Repetitions to Failure does not Provide Additional Strength and Muscle Hypertrophy Gains in Young Women.

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College of Physical Education, University of Brasilia, Brasilia, DF, Brazil.
School of Physical Education, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil.
Department of Health Sciences, Public University of Navarre, Campus de Tudela, Tudela, Navarre, Spain.
Federal Institute of Goias (IFG), Valparaiso, GO, Brazil.


This study investigated the effects of a 10-week resistance training to failure on neuromuscular adaptations in young women. Eighty-nine active young women were randomly assigned to one of three groups: 1) repetitions to failure (RF; three sets of repetitions to failure); 2) repetitions not to failure with equalized volume (RNFV; four sets of 7 repetitions); and 3) repetitions not to failure (RNF; three sets of 7 repetitions). All groups performed the elbow flexor exercise (bilateral biceps curl) and trained 2 days per week using 70% of 1RM. There were significant increases (p<0.05) in muscle strength after 5 (15.9% for RF, 18.4% for RNF, and 19.9% for RNFV) and 10 (28.3% for RF, 26.8% for RNF, and 28.3% for RNFV) weeks of training, with no significant differences between groups. Additionally, muscular endurance increased after 5 and 10 weeks, with no differences between groups. However, peak torque (PT) increased significantly at 180°.s-1 in the RNFV (13.7%) and RNF (4.1%) groups (p<0.05), whereas no changes were observed in the RF group (-0.5%). Muscle thickness increased significantly (p<0.05) in the RF and RNFV groups after 5 (RF: 8.4% and RNFV: 2.3%) and 10 weeks of training (RF: 17.5%, and RNFV: 8.5%), whereas no significant changes were observed in the RNF group (3.9 and 2.1% after 5 and 10 weeks, respectively). These data suggest that short-term training of repetitions to failure do not yield additional overall neuromuscular improvements in young women.


Strength training to failure; fatigue; maximum exercise; muscle hypertrophy; young women

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