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The effects of moderate- versus high-load resistance training on muscle growth, body composition, and performance in collegiate women

Cholewa Jason M; Rossi, Fabricio E.; MacDonald, Christopher; Hewins, Amy; Gallo, Samantha; Micenski, Ashley; Norton, Layne; Campbell, Bill I
The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: Post Acceptance: June 02, 2017
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002048
Original Research: PDF Only

Twenty young women (20.3+1.5 years, 164+6 cm, 68.7+13.8 kg) without prior structured resistance training experience were recruited for this study. Body composition (BodPod), compartmental water (Bioelectrical Impedance), 7-site skinfold, and arm and thigh CSA were assessed pre- and post- 8 week training. Performance testing consisted of vertical jump, 3 kg chest pass initial velocity, squat 1RM and overhead press 1RM. Following 2 weeks of familiarization training, subjects were matched for body composition and relative squat strength, and randomly assigned to either a high- (HL: n=10; 4 sets of 5-7 repetitions) or moderate-load (ML: n=10; 2 sets of 10-14 repetitions) group that completed 6-7 exercises per day performed to momentary muscular failure. Training was divided into two lower and one upper body training sessions per week performed on non-consecutive days for 8 weeks. There were no statistically significant main effects for group or group x time interactions for any variable assessed. Both HL and ML resulted in similar significant increases in lean body mass (1.5 + .83 kg), lean dry mass (1.32 + 0.62 kg), thigh CSA (6.6 + 5.6 cm2), vertical jump (2.9 + 3.2 cm), chest pass velocity (0.334 + 1.67 m/s), back squat 1 RM (22.5 + 8.1 kg), and overhead press (3.0 + 0.8 kg). HL and ML also both resulted in significant decreases in percent body fat (1.3 + 1.3 %), total body water (0.73 + 0.70 L), and intracellular water (0.43 + 0.38 L). The results of this study indicate that both moderate- and high-load training are effective at improving muscle growth, body composition, strength and power in untrained young women.

Corresponding Author: Jason Cholewa, Ph.D. Department of Kinesiology Coastal Carolina University PO Box 261954 Conway, SC 29528 Williams-Brice 101A 843-349-2041 843-349-2875 (Fax)

No funding was received for this work.

Copyright © 2018 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.