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Impact of Two High-Volume Set Configuration Workouts on Resistance Training Outcomes in Recreationally Trained Men

Karsten, Bettina1; Fu, Yue (Leon)2; Larumbe-Zabala, Eneko3; Seijo, Marco2; Naclerio, Fernando2

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: July 29, 2019 - Volume Publish Ahead of Print - Issue - p
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003163
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Karsten, DB, Fu, Y, Larumbe-Zabala, DE, Seijo, DM, and Naclerio, DF. Impact of two high-volume set configuration workouts on resistance training outcomes in recreationally trained men. J Strength Cond Res XX(X): 000–000, 2019—This study compared the effects of 2 weekly equalized by volume, loading zone and frequency resistance training designs using repetition to failure (RTF) or not to failure (NTF), on body composition, strength, and mechanical power. Based on individual baseline maximal strength, 18 recreationally resistance-trained men were pair-matched and consequently randomly assigned to an RTF (n = 9) or an NTF (n = 9) protocol. Subjects trained for 6 weeks using 2 different routines performed once per week (2 workouts per week). The RTF protocol comprised 4 sets of 10 repetitions per exercise with 2-minute rest and the NTF involved 8 sets of 5 repetitions per exercise with 1-minute rest. Subjects were tested pre- and post-intervention for maximal strength, upper- and lower-body power, fat-free mass, limb circumferences, and muscle thickness. Compared to baseline, both groups improved (p < 0.01) the maximal loads lifted in the bench press (RTF +9.44 ± 3.00 kg; NTF +7.22 ± 4.41 kg) and the squat (RTF +9.44 ± 4.64 kg; NTF +11.1 ± 10.33 kg) exercises, but only the NTF group increased (p < 0.05) upper-body power (+15.73 ± 12.59 W). Conversely, only the RTF group showed significant (p < 0.05) increase of the elbow flexors (+3.44 ± 5.11 mm) and vastus medialis (+3.28 ± 2.32 mm) thickness, whereas both groups enhanced anterior deltoid thickness (RTF +1.84 ± 1.68 mm, p < 0.05; NTF +2.76 ± 2.63 mm, p < 0.01). Although both training strategies improved strength, the RTF group elicited superior hypertrophic outcomes, whereas the NTF protocol resulted in more favorable improvements for upper-body power.

1Department of Exercise and Sport Science, LUNEX International University of Health, Exercise and Sports, Differdingen, Luxemburg;

2Department of Life and Sport Science, University of Greenwich, Medway, Kent, United Kingdom; and

3Clinical Research Institute, Texas Tech University HSC, Lubbock, Texas

Address correspondence to Dr. Fernando Naclerio, f.j.naclerio@gre.ac.uk.

Copyright © 2019 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.