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J Strength Cond Res. 2018 Feb 27. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002559. [Epub ahead of print]

High-frequency resistance training is not more effective than low-frequency resistance training in increasing muscle mass and strength in well-trained men.

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Exercise Biology Research Group (BioEx), Federal University of Triangulo Mineiro (UFTM), Uberaba, Brazil.
Department of Sport Sciences, Health Science Institute, Federal University of Triangulo Mineiro (UFTM), Uberaba, Minas Gerais, Brazil.


We studied the effects of two different weekly frequency resistance training (RT) protocols over eight weeks on muscle strength and muscle hypertrophy in well-trained men. Twenty-three subjects (age: 26.2±4.2 years; RT experience: 6.9±3.1 years) were randomly allocated into the two groups: low frequency (LFRT, n = 12) or high frequency (HFRT, n = 11). The LFRT performed a split-body routine, training each specific muscle group once a week. The HFRT performed a total-body routine, training all muscle groups every session. Both groups performed the same number of sets (10-15 sets) and exercises (1-2 exercise) per week, 8-12 repetitions maximum (70-80% of 1RM), five times per week. Muscle strength (bench press and squat 1RM) and lean tissue mass (dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry) were assessed prior to and at the end of the study. Results showed that both groups improved (p<0.001) muscle strength [LFRT and HFRT: bench press = 5.6 kg (95% Confidence Interval (CI): 1.9 - 9.4) and 9.7 kg (95%CI: 4.6 - 14.9) and squat = 8.0 kg (95%CI: 2.7 - 13.2) and 12.0 kg (95%CI: 5.1 - 18.1), respectively] and lean tissue mass (p = 0.007) [LFRT and HFRT: total body lean mass = 0.5 kg (95%CI: 0.0 - 1.1) and 0.8 kg (95%CI: 0.0 - 1.6), respectively] with no difference between groups (bench press, p = 0.168; squat, p = 0.312 and total body lean mass, p = 0.619). Thus, HFRT and LFRT are similar overload strategies for promoting muscular adaptation in well-trained subjects when the sets and intensity are equated per week.

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