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Neither load nor systemic hormones determine resistance training-mediated hypertrophy or strength gains in resistance-trained young men

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      We provide novel evidence of the effect of lifting markedly different (lighter vs. heavier) loads (mass per repetition) during whole-body resistance training on the development of muscle strength and hypertrophy in previously trained persons. Using a large sample size (n = 49), and contradicting dogma, we report that the relative load lifted per repetition does not determine skeletal muscle hypertrophy or, for the most part, strength development. In line with our previous work, acute postexercise systemic hormonal changes were unrelated to strength and hypertrophic gains .


      We reported, using a unilateral resistance training (RT) model, that training with high or low loads (mass per repetition) resulted in similar muscle hypertrophy and strength improvements in RT-naïve subjects. Here we aimed to determine whether the same was true in men with previous RT experience using a whole-body RT program and whether postexercise systemic hormone concentrations were related to changes in hypertrophy and strength. Forty-nine resistance-trained men (23 ± 1 yr, mean ± SE) performed 12 wk of whole-body RT. Subjects were randomly allocated into a higher-repetition (HR) group who lifted loads of ∼30-50% of their maximal strength (1RM) for 20–25 repetitions/set ( n = 24) or a lower-repetition (LR) group (∼75–90% 1RM, 8–12 repetitions/set, n = 25), with all sets being performed to volitional failure. Skeletal muscle biopsies, strength testing, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scans, and acute changes in systemic hormone concentrations were examined pretraining and posttraining. In response to RT, 1RM strength increased for all exercises in both groups ( P < 0.01), with only the change in bench press being significantly different between groups (HR, 9 ± 1, vs. LR, 14 ± 1 kg, P = 0.012). Fat- and bone-free (lean) body mass and type I and type II muscle fiber cross-sectional area increased following training ( P < 0.01) with no significant differences between groups. No significant correlations between the acute postexercise rise in any purported anabolic hormone and the change in strength or hypertrophy were found. In congruence with our previous work, acute postexercise systemic hormonal rises are not related to or in any way indicative of RT-mediated gains in muscle mass or strength. Our data show that in resistance-trained individuals, load, when exercises are performed to volitional failure, does not dictate hypertrophy or, for the most part, strength gains.

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      American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Progression models in resistance training for healthy adults.

      In order to stimulate further adaptation toward specific training goals, progressive resistance training (RT) protocols are necessary. The optimal characteristics of strength-specific programs include the use of concentric (CON), eccentric (ECC), and isometric muscle actions and the performance of bilateral and unilateral single- and multiple-joint exercises. In addition, it is recommended that strength programs sequence exercises to optimize the preservation of exercise intensity (large before small muscle group exercises, multiple-joint exercises before single-joint exercises, and higher-intensity before lower-intensity exercises). For novice (untrained individuals with no RT experience or who have not trained for several years) training, it is recommended that loads correspond to a repetition range of an 8-12 repetition maximum (RM). For intermediate (individuals with approximately 6 months of consistent RT experience) to advanced (individuals with years of RT experience) training, it is recommended that individuals use a wider loading range from 1 to 12 RM in a periodized fashion with eventual emphasis on heavy loading (1-6 RM) using 3- to 5-min rest periods between sets performed at a moderate contraction velocity (1-2 s CON; 1-2 s ECC). When training at a specific RM load, it is recommended that 2-10% increase in load be applied when the individual can perform the current workload for one to two repetitions over the desired number. The recommendation for training frequency is 2-3 d x wk(-1) for novice training, 3-4 d x wk(-1) for intermediate training, and 4-5 d x wk(-1) for advanced training. Similar program designs are recommended for hypertrophy training with respect to exercise selection and frequency. For loading, it is recommended that loads corresponding to 1-12 RM be used in periodized fashion with emphasis on the 6-12 RM zone using 1- to 2-min rest periods between sets at a moderate velocity. Higher volume, multiple-set programs are recommended for maximizing hypertrophy. Progression in power training entails two general loading strategies: 1) strength training and 2) use of light loads (0-60% of 1 RM for lower body exercises; 30-60% of 1 RM for upper body exercises) performed at a fast contraction velocity with 3-5 min of rest between sets for multiple sets per exercise (three to five sets). It is also recommended that emphasis be placed on multiple-joint exercises especially those involving the total body. For local muscular endurance training, it is recommended that light to moderate loads (40-60% of 1 RM) be performed for high repetitions (>15) using short rest periods (<90 s). In the interpretation of this position stand as with prior ones, recommendations should be applied in context and should be contingent upon an individual's target goals, physical capacity, and training status.
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        Fundamentals of resistance training: progression and exercise prescription.

        Progression in resistance training is a dynamic process that requires an exercise prescription process, evaluation of training progress, and careful development of target goals. The process starts with the determination of individual needs and training goals. This involves decisions regarding questions as to what muscles must be trained, injury prevention sites, metabolic demands of target training goals, etc. The single workout must then be designed reflecting these targeted program goals including the choice of exercises, order of exercise, amount of rest used between sets and exercises, number of repetitions and sets used for each exercise, and the intensity of each exercise. For progression, these variables must then be varied over time and the exercise prescription altered to maintain or advance specific training goals and to avoid overtraining. A careful system of goal targeting, exercise testing, proper exercise technique, supervision, and optimal exercise prescription all contribute to the successful implementation of a resistance training program.
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          Protein supplementation augments the adaptive response of skeletal muscle to resistance-type exercise training: a meta-analysis.

          Protein ingestion after a single bout of resistance-type exercise stimulates net muscle protein accretion during acute postexercise recovery. Consequently, it is generally accepted that protein supplementation is required to maximize the adaptive response of the skeletal muscle to prolonged resistance-type exercise training. However, there is much discrepancy in the literature regarding the proposed benefits of protein supplementation during prolonged resistance-type exercise training in younger and older populations. The objective of the study was to define the efficacy of protein supplementation to augment the adaptive response of the skeletal muscle to prolonged resistance-type exercise training in younger and older populations. A systematic review of interventional evidence was performed through the use of a random-effects meta-analysis model. Data from the outcome variables fat-free mass (FFM), fat mass, type I and II muscle fiber cross-sectional area, and 1 repetition maximum (1-RM) leg press strength were collected from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) investigating the effect of dietary protein supplementation during prolonged (>6 wk) resistance-type exercise training. Data were included from 22 RCTs that included 680 subjects. Protein supplementation showed a positive effect for FFM (weighted mean difference: 0.69 kg; 95% CI: 0.47, 0.91 kg; P < 0.00001) and 1-RM leg press strength (weighted mean difference: 13.5 kg; 95% CI: 6.4, 20.7 kg; P < 0.005) compared with a placebo after prolonged resistance-type exercise training in younger and older subjects. Protein supplementation increases muscle mass and strength gains during prolonged resistance-type exercise training in both younger and older subjects.

            Author and article information

            1Department of Kinesiology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada;
            2Department of Kinesiology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada; and
            3Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
            Author notes

            R. W. Morton and S. Y. Oikawa contributed equally to this work.

            Address for reprint requests and other correspondence: S. M. Phillips, Dept. of Kinesiology, McMaster University, 1280 Main St. West, Hamilton, ON, L8S 4K1 Canada (e-mail: phillis@ ).
            J Appl Physiol (1985)
            J. Appl. Physiol
            Journal of Applied Physiology
            American Physiological Society (Bethesda, MD )
            12 May 2016
            1 July 2016
            12 May 2016
            : 121
            : 1
            : 129-138
            27174923 4967245 JAPPL-00154-2016 10.1152/japplphysiol.00154.2016
            Copyright © 2016 the American Physiological Society

            Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution CC-BY 3.0: © the American Physiological Society.

            Funded by: National Science and Engineering Council of Canada
            Award ID: RGPIN-2015-04613


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