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Effect of Lower-Body Resistance Training on Upper-Body Strength Adaptation in Trained Men

Bartolomei, Sandro1,2; Hoffman, Jay, R.1; Stout, Jeffrey, R.1; Merni, Franco2

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: January 2018 - Volume 32 - Issue 1 - p 13–18
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001639
Original Research

Bartolomei, S, Hoffman, JR, Stout, JR, and Merni, F. Effect of lower-body resistance training on upper-body strength adaptation in trained men. J Strength Cond Res 32(1): 13–18, 2018—The aim of this study was to examine the effect of 2 different lower-body strength training schemes on upper-body adaptations to resistance training. Twenty resistance-trained men (4.25 ± 1.6 years of experience) were randomly assigned to either a high intensity (HI; n = 9; age = 24.9 ± 2.9 years; body mass = 88.7 ± 17.2 kg; height = 177.0 ± 5.6 cm) or a mixed high volume and HI resistance training program (MP; n = 11; age = 26.0 ± 4.7 years; body mass = 82.8 ± 9.1 kg; height = 177.54 ± 5.9 cm). High-intensity group followed a HI training for both upper and lower body (4–5 reps at 88%–90% of 1 repetition maximum (1RM)), whereas the MP group performed high-volume training sessions focused on muscle hypertrophy for lower body (10–12 reps at 65%–70% of 1-RM) and a HI protocol for the upper body. Maximal strength and power testing occurred before and after the 6-week training program. Analysis of covariance was used to compare performance measures between the groups. Greater increases in MP groups compared with HI groups were observed for bench press 1RM (p = 0.007), bench press power at 50% of 1RM (p = 0.011), and for arm muscle area (p = 0.046). Significant difference between the 2 groups at posttest were also observed for fat mass (p = 0.009). Results indicated that training programs focused on lower-body muscle hypertrophy and maximal strength for upper body can stimulate greater strength and power gains in the upper body compared with HI resistance training programs for both the upper and lower body.

1Sport and Exercise Science, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida; and

2Department of Biomedical and Neuromotor Science, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy

Address correspondence to Dr. Sandro Bartolomei,

Copyright © 2018 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.