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Training Volume, Not Frequency, Indicative of Maximal Strength Adaptations to Resistance Training

Colquhoun, Ryan J.1; Gai, Christopher M.2; Aguilar, Danielle2; Bove, Daniel2; Dolan, Jeffrey2; Vargas, Andres2; Couvillion, Kaylee2; Jenkins, Nathaniel D.M.1; Campbell, Bill I.2

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: January 05, 2018 - Volume Publish Ahead of Print - Issue - p
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002414
Original Research: PDF Only

Purpose: To compare the effects of a high- versus a moderate-training frequency on maximal strength and body composition. Methods: 28 young, healthy resistance-trained males were randomly assigned to either: 3x/week (3x; n=16) or 6x/week (6x; n=12). Dependent variables (DVs) assessed at baseline and after the 6-week training intervention included: squat 1RM (SQ1RM), bench press 1RM (BP1RM), deadlift 1RM (DL1RM), powerlifting total (PLT), Wilk’s coefficient (WC), fat-free mass (FFM) and fat mass (FM). Data for each DV was analyzed via a 2x2 between-within factorial repeated measures ANOVA. Results: There was a main effect for time (p < 0.001) for SQ1RM (3x: + 16.8 kg; 6x: + 16.7 kg), BP1RM (3x: + 7.8 kg; 6x: + 8.8 kg), DL1RM (3x: + 19 kg; 6x: + 21 kg), PLT (3x: + 43.6 kg; 6x: + 46.5 kg), WC (3x: + 27; 6x: + 27.1), and FFM (3x: + 1.7 kg; 6x: + 2.6 kg). There were no group x time interactions or main effects for group. Conclusion: The primary finding was that 6-weeks of resistance training lead to significant increases in maximal strength and fat-free mass. Additionally, it appears that increased training frequency does not lead to additional strength improvements when volume and intensity are equated. Practical Application: High frequency (6x/wk) resistance training does not appear to offer additional strength and hypertrophy benefits over lower frequency (3x/wk), when volume and intensity are equated. Coaches and practitioners can therefore expect similar increases in strength and lean body mass with both 3- and 6-weekly sessions.

1Applied Neuromuscular Physiology Laboratory, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078

2Physique and Performance Enhancement Laboratory, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33620

Corresponding Author: Bill I. Campbell, PhD, University of South Florida, PED 206, Tampa, FL, 33620, 813-974-4766,

Disclosure Statement: The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2018 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.