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Eur J Sport Sci. 2019 May 9:1-8. doi: 10.1080/17461391.2019.1611932. [Epub ahead of print]

Single joint exercises do not provide benefits in performance and anthropometric changes in recreational bodybuilders.

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a Faculdade de Educação Física e Dança , Universidade Federal de Goiás , Goiania , Brasil.
b Faculdade de Educação Física , Universidade Federal do Pará , Castanhal , Pará , Brasil.
c Centro de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde , Centro Universitário do Estado do Pará , Belém , Pará , Brasil.
d Centre for Health, Exercise and Sport Science , Southampton Solent University , Southampton , UK.
e Sport and Exercise Sciences Research Unit , University of Palermo , Palermo , Italy.


The purpose of the present study was to compare the changes in anthropometric measures and muscle performance in users and non-users of androgenic anabolic steroids (AAS) performing resistance training (RT) programmes involving only multiple joint (MJ) exercises or a combination of MJ and single joint (SJ) exercises. Thirty recreational bodybuilders were divided into 4 groups: non-AAS users performing only MJ exercises (MJ), non-AAS users performing MJ + SJ (MJ + SJ), AAS users performing only MJ exercises (AAS - MJ) and AAS users performing MJ + SJ exercises (AAS - MJ + SJ). Before and after 8 weeks of training, the participants were tested for 10 repetition maximum (10RM) in different RT exercises. Flexed arm circumference (FAC), biceps and triceps skinfolds were measured. No interactions were found between time and the performance of SJ exercise in any variable (p > .05). However, there was a significant interaction between AAS use and time (p < .001), such that AAS users showed greater 10RM gains in all exercises, skinfold decreases and increases in FAC than non-users. In conclusion, our study shows that the addition of SJ exercises to MJ exercises brings no additional benefit in terms of muscle performance and anthropometric changes in trained men, either if they were using AAS or not. These results suggest that trained men can save time not including SJ in their routines and still achieve optimal results. Moreover, our results show that AAS use is associated with greater increases in muscle strength and FAC and greater reductions in biceps and triceps skinfold thickness.


Muscle hypertrophy; exercise selection; muscle definition; muscle strength; resistance exercise

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