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Resistance Training Volume Enhances Muscle Hypertrophy

Schoenfeld, Brad J.1; Contreras, Bret2; Krieger, James3; Grgic, Jozo4; Delcastillo, Kenneth1; Belliard, Ramon1; Alto, Andrew1

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: August 28, 2018 - Volume Publish Ahead of Print - Issue - p
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001764
Original Investigation: PDF Only

PURPOSE The purpose of this study was to evaluate muscular adaptations between low-, moderate-, and high-volume resistance training (RT) protocols in resistance-trained men.

METHODS Thirty-four healthy resistance-trained men were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 experimental groups: a low-volume group (1SET) performing 1 set per exercise per training session (n = 11); a moderate-volume group (3SET) performing 3 sets per exercise per training session (n = 12); or a high-volume group (5SET) performing 5 sets per exercise per training session (n = 11). Training for all routines consisted of three weekly sessions performed on non-consecutive days for 8 weeks. Muscular strength was evaluated with 1 repetition maximum (RM) testing for the squat and bench press. Upper-body muscle endurance was evaluated using 50% of subjects bench press 1RM performed to momentary failure. Muscle hypertrophy was evaluated using B-mode ultrasonography for the elbow flexors, elbow extensors, mid-thigh and lateral thigh.

RESULTS Results showed significant pre-to-post intervention increases in strength and endurance in all groups, with no significant between-group differences. Alternatively, while all groups increased muscle size in most of the measured sites from pre-to-post intervention, significant increases favoring the higher volume conditions were seen for the elbow flexors, mid-thigh, and lateral thigh. CONCLUSION: Marked increases in strength and endurance can be attained by resistance-trained individuals with just three, 13-minute weekly sessions over an 8-week period, and these gains are similar to that achieved with a substantially greater time commitment. Alternatively, muscle hypertrophy follows a dose-response relationship, with increasingly greater gains achieved with higher training volumes.

1Department of Health Sciences, CUNY Lehman College, Bronx, NY

2Sport Performance Research Institute, AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand

3Weightology, LLC, Redmond, WA

4Institute for Health and Sport (IHES), Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia

Corresponding author: Brad J. Schoenfeld, CUNY Lehman College, 250 Bedford Park Blvd West, Bronx, NY, 10468; email:; telephone: 718-960-1999; fax: 718-960-1999

The results of this study are presented clearly, honestly, and without fabrication, falsification, or inappropriate data manipulation, and do not constitute endorsement by ACSM. This study was supported by a PSC CUNY grant from the State of New York. The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

© 2018 American College of Sports Medicine