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The Effects of Breakdown Set Resistance Training on Muscular Performance and Body Composition in Young Men and Women

Fisher, James P.1; Carlson, Luke2; Steele, James1

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: May 2016 - Volume 30 - Issue 5 - p 1425–1432
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001222
Original Research

Fisher, JP, Carlson, L, and Steele, J. The effects of breakdown set resistance training on muscular performance and body composition in young men and women. J Strength Cond Res 30(5): 1425–1432, 2016—Breakdown (BD) training has been advocated by multiple commercial and academic publications and authors, seemingly as a result of the acute hormonal and muscle activation responses it produces. However, there is a relative dearth of research that has empirically considered this advanced method of resistance training (RT) over a chronic intervention while appropriately controlling other RT variables. The present study considered 36 male and female participants divided into 3 groups: BD (n = 11), heavy-load breakdown (n = 14), and traditional (n = 11), performing full-body RT programs 2 times per week for 12 weeks. No significant between-group differences were identified for change in absolute muscular endurance for chest press, leg press, or pull-down exercises or for body composition changes. Effect sizes for absolute muscular endurance changes were large for all groups and exercises (0.86–2.74). The present study supports previous research that the use of advanced training techniques stimulates no greater muscular adaptations when compared with performing more simplified RT protocols to momentary muscular failure.

1Southampton Solent University, Southampton, United Kingdom; and

2Discover Strength, Plymouth, Minnesota

Address correspondence to Dr. James P. Fisher,

Copyright © 2016 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.