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The Effect of Training Volume on Lower-Body Strength

Robbins, Daniel W; Marshall, Paul WM; McEwen, Megan

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: January 2012 - Volume 26 - Issue 1 - p 34-39
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31821d5cc4
Original Research

Robbins, DW, Marshall, PWM, and McEwen, M. The effect of training volume on lower-body strength. J Strength Cond Res 26(1): 34–39, 2012—The objective of this study was to examine the chronic effects on lower-body strength in resistance trained men of performing varying training volumes over 6 weeks. A pretest and posttest design was used to investigate the effects on 1-repetition maximum (1RM) squat strength. Also, 1RM testing was performed at 3 weeks. Participants were randomly assigned to an intensity-matched (80% of 1RM) low (1-SET), moderate (4-SET), or high (8-SET) volume condition. In addition to significant strength increases in all groups at the end of the 6-week period, increases were observed at 3 weeks under the 4- and 8-SET conditions, which were greater than the improvement under the 1-SET condition. At 6 weeks, the magnitude of improvement was significantly greater for the 8-SET, as compared with that of the 1-SET group. The magnitude of improvement elicited in the 4-SET group was not different from that of the 1-SET or 8-SET groups. The results suggest that “high” volumes (i.e., >4 sets) are associated with enhanced strength development but that “moderate” volumes offer no advantage. Practitioners should be aware that strength development may be dependent on appropriate volume doses and training duration.

1School of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney, Australia; 2School of Biomedical and Health Science, University of Western Sydney, Sydney, Australia; and 3Department of Sport and Exercise Science, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

Address correspondence to Daniel W. Robbins,

Copyright © 2012 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.