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Effects of Different Volume-Equated Resistance Training Loading Strategies on Muscular Adaptations in Well-Trained Men

Schoenfeld, Brad J.1,2; Ratamess, Nicholas A.3; Peterson, Mark D.5; Contreras, Bret4; Sonmez, G. T.1; Alvar, Brent A.2

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: October 2014 - Volume 28 - Issue 10 - p 2909–2918
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000480
Original Research

Schoenfeld, BJ, Ratamess, NA, Peterson, MD, Contreras, B, Sonmez, GT, and Alvar, BA. Effects of different volume-equated resistance training loading strategies on muscular adaptations in well-trained men. J Strength Cond Res 28(10): 2909–2918, 2014—Regimented resistance training has been shown to promote marked increases in skeletal muscle mass. Although muscle hypertrophy can be attained through a wide range of resistance training programs, the principle of specificity, which states that adaptations are specific to the nature of the applied stimulus, dictates that some programs will promote greater hypertrophy than others. Research is lacking, however, as to the best combination of variables required to maximize hypertophic gains. The purpose of this study was to investigate muscular adaptations to a volume-equated bodybuilding-type training program vs. a powerlifting-type routine in well-trained subjects. Seventeen young men were randomly assigned to either a hypertrophy-type resistance training group that performed 3 sets of 10 repetition maximum (RM) with 90 seconds rest or a strength-type resistance training (ST) group that performed 7 sets of 3RM with a 3-minute rest interval. After 8 weeks, no significant differences were noted in muscle thickness of the biceps brachii. Significant strength differences were found in favor of ST for the 1RM bench press, and a trend was found for greater increases in the 1RM squat. In conclusion, this study showed that both bodybuilding- and powerlifting-type training promote similar increases in muscular size, but powerlifting-type training is superior for enhancing maximal strength.

1Department of Health Sciences, CUNY Lehman College, Bronx, New York;

2Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals, Provo, Utah;

3Department of Health and Exercise Science, The College of New Jersey, Ewing, New Jersey;

4Sport Performance Research Institute New Zealand, AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand; and

5Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Address correspondence to Brad J. Schoenfeld,

Copyright © 2014 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.