ArticlePDF Available

The Effect of Weight Training Volume on Hormonal Output and Muscular Size and Function

Authors:

Abstract

This study examined the effects of different volumes of resistance training on muscle size and function over a 10-wk period. Low volume = 3 sets per muscle group per week; moderate = 6 sets; high = 12 sets. Twenty-seven men with 1-4 yrs weight training experience were randomly assigned to the different training volumes and trained 4 days a week. A periodized routine was used; exercises, training intensity, and number of training days were the same for each group. The only variation between conditions was the number of sets per exercise. Pre and post measurements assessed muscular size via ultrasound; strength via maximum squat and bench press; and power via vertical jump and bench press throw. Urinary concentrations of test-osterone and cortisol were also analyzed to assess the responses to training conditions. All 3 training volumes significantly (p < 0.05) increased muscle size, strength, and upper body power, with no significant between-group differences. There were no significant changes in hormonal concentrations. The results support the use of low volume training for muscular development over a 10-wk period. (C) 1997 National Strength and Conditioning Association
... Schoenfeld and colleagues (77) noted that most previous research on the effects of different volumes of exercise (sets/muscle group) recruited previously untrained subjects. Only one other study (80) used site specific measures of muscle hypertrophy (ultrasound) on previously resistance trained (1-4 years) young adult males as a result of low, moderate or high volume exercise (1, 2 or 4 sets per muscle group) 4x/week for 10 weeks. There was a significant increase in cross-sectional area of the rectus femoris and triceps muscles in the groups combined, with no significant difference among the 1, 2 or 4-set groups. ...
... There was a significant increase in cross-sectional area of the rectus femoris and triceps muscles in the groups combined, with no significant difference among the 1, 2 or 4-set groups. Ostrowski and colleagues (80) noted that ultrasound assessments of muscle thickness are inherently subjective, but did not give any indication that their ultrasound operator was blinded during the assessments. They concluded that the low volume program resulted in increased muscle size and function similar to programs with two times or four times the volume. ...
... The meta-analysis (13) had only two studies that recruited previously trained subjects; the previously discussed study by Ostrowski and colleagues (80) and a study by Rhea and colleagues (88). Rhea and colleagues randomly assigned 16 young adult males with at least two years of resistance training experience to perform either 1 set or 3 sets of bench press and leg press exercises 3x/week for 12 weeks. ...
Presentation
Full-text available
Researchers have expressed concern recently for standardization of resistance training protocols so that valid comparisons of different training variables such as muscular fatigue, time under tension, pre-exhaust exercise and exercise order, pyramid and drop sets, amount of resistance (load), range of repetitions, frequency and volume of exercise, interset rest intervals, etc. can be more closely studied and compared. This Critical Commentary addresses some recent review articles and training studies specifically focused on the stimulus for muscle hypertrophy in participants with several years of resistance training experience. It reveals that many of the recommended resistance training protocols have their foundation in some long-held, self-described bias.
... Schoenfeld and colleagues (77) noted that most previous research on the effects of different volumes of exercise (sets/muscle group) recruited previously untrained subjects. Only one other study (80) used site specific measures of muscle hypertrophy (ultrasound) on previously resistance trained (1-4 years) young adult males as a result of low, moderate or high volume exercise (1, 2 or 4 sets per muscle group) 4x/ week for 10 weeks. There was a significant increase in cross-sectional area of the rectus femoris and triceps muscles in the groups combined, with no significant difference among the 1, 2 or 4-set groups. ...
... There was a significant increase in cross-sectional area of the rectus femoris and triceps muscles in the groups combined, with no significant difference among the 1, 2 or 4-set groups. Ostrowski and colleagues (80) noted that ultrasound assessments of muscle thickness are inherently subjective, but did not give any indication that their ultrasound operator was blinded during the assessments. They concluded that the low volume program resulted in increased muscle size and function similar to programs with two times or four times the volume. ...
... Only two (80,112) of the eight studies included in Krieger's meta-analysis (54) recruited previously trained participants. Rhea and colleagues (112) trained 16 young adult males who they described as recreationally experienced weight trainees with at least 2 years of training 2x/week. ...
Article
Full-text available
Researchers have expressed concern recently for standardization of resistance training protocols so that valid comparisons of different training variables such as muscular fatigue, time under tension, pre-exhaust exercise and exercise order, pyramid and drop sets, amount of resistance (load), range of repetitions, frequency and volume of exercise, interset rest intervals, etc. can be more closely studied and compared. This Critical Commentary addresses some recent review articles and training studies specifically focused on the stimulus for muscle hypertrophy in participants with several years of resistance training experience. It reveals that many of the recommended resistance training protocols have their foundation in some long-held, self-described bias. Blinding of assessors and statisticians, self-plagiarism, authorship responsibility, and conflicts of interest are briefly discussed as well. The conclusion is that most of the published peer-reviewed resistance training literature failed to provide any compelling evidence that the manipulation of any one or combination of the aforementioned variables can significantly affect the degree of muscle hypertrophy, especially in well-trained participants. Although the specific stimulus for optimal gains in muscle mass is unknown, many authors are desperately clinging to their unsupported belief that a greater volume of exercise will produce superior muscle hypertrophy.
... Schoenfeld and colleagues (77) noted that most previous research on the effects of different volumes of exercise (sets/muscle group) recruited previously untrained subjects. Only one other study (80) used site specific measures of muscle hypertrophy (ultrasound) on previously resistance trained (1-4 years) young adult males as a result of low, moderate or high volume exercise (1, 2 or 4 sets per muscle group) 4x/week for 10 weeks. There was a significant increase in cross-sectional area of the rectus femoris and triceps muscles in the groups combined, with no significant difference among the 1, 2 or 4-set groups. ...
... There was a significant increase in cross-sectional area of the rectus femoris and triceps muscles in the groups combined, with no significant difference among the 1, 2 or 4-set groups. Ostrowski and colleagues (80) noted that ultrasound assessments of muscle thickness are inherently subjective, but did not give any indication that their ultrasound operator was blinded during the assessments. They concluded that the low volume program resulted in increased muscle size and function similar to programs with two times or four times the volume. ...
... The meta-analysis (13) had only two studies that recruited previously trained subjects; the previously discussed study by Ostrowski and colleagues (80) and a study by Rhea and colleagues (88). Rhea and colleagues randomly assigned 16 young adult males with at least two years of resistance training experience to perform either 1 set or 3 sets of bench press and leg press exercises 3x/week for 12 weeks. ...
Presentation
Full-text available
Researchers have expressed concern recently for standardization of resistance training protocols so that valid comparisons of different training variables such as muscular fatigue, time under tension, pre-exhaust exercise and exercise order, pyramid and drop sets, amount of resistance (load), range of repetitions, frequency and volume of exercise, interset rest intervals, etc. can be more closely studied and compared. This Critical Commentary addresses some recent review articles and training studies specifically focused on the stimulus for muscle hypertrophy in participants with several years of resistance training experience. It reveals that many of the recommended resistance training protocols have their foundation in some long-held, self-described bias.
... Recently, other studies have also investigated the effects of distinct RT volumes on muscle mass accretion in resistance-trained individuals, and results are equivocal. For example, Barbalho et al. (2) found no differences between groups on mid-thigh MT in individuals performing 5, 10, 15, or 20 weekly sets for 24 weeks, which corroborates with previous shorter-duration studies that investigated the effects of different training volumes on muscle hypertrophic adaptations (10,16). However, it is important to note that Barbalho et al. ...
... (2) had their subjects performing all the sets in 1 weekly session compared with 2 or 3 weekly sessions in the current study and other former studies (10,14,16,22). On the other hand, Schoenfeld et al. (22) reported that 45 weekly sets increased mid-thigh thickness to a greater extent compared with 9 weekly sets, with no differences between 45 and 27 weekly sets after an 8-week training regimen. ...
... It is difficult to reconcile the results on the effects of training volume on muscle hypertrophy in resistance-trained individuals for a few reasons. Although studies on the topic have important differences, majority of them did not provide information pertaining to the VL (1-3,10, 16,22). Consequently, it is difficult to determine whether differences in weekly sets performed actually produced differences in work performed (i.e., tonnage). ...
Article
Full-text available
This study investigated the effects of 12-SET, 18-SET, and 24-SET lower-body weekly sets on muscle strength and mass accretion. Thirty-five resistance-trained individuals (one repetition maximum [1RM] squat: body mass ratio [1RM: BM] 5 2.09) were randomly divided into 12-SET: n 5 13, 18-SET: n 5 12, and 24-SET: n 5 10. Subjects underwent an 8-week resistance-training (RT) program consisting of 2 weekly sessions. Muscle strength (1RM), repetitions to failure (RTF) at 70% of 1RM, anterior thigh muscle thickness (MT), at the medial MT (MMT) and distal MT (DMT) points, as well as the sum of both sites (SMT), along with region of interest for fat-free mass (ROI-FFM) were measured at baseline and post-testing. For the 1RM, there was a main time effect (p # 0.0001). However, there was a strong trend toward significance (p 5 0.052) for group-by-time interaction, suggesting that 18-SET increased 1RM back squat to a greater extent compared with 24-SET, (24-SET: 9.5 kg, 5.4%; 18-SET: 25.5 kg, 16.2%; 12-SET: 18.3 kg, 11.3%). For RTF, only a main time-effect (p # 0.0003) was observed (24-set: 5.7 reps, 33.1%; 18-SET: 2.4 reps, 14.5%; 12-SET: 5.0 reps, 34.8%). For the MMT, DMT, SMT, and ROI-FFM, there was only main time-effect (p # 0.0001), (MMT: 24-SET: 0.15 cm, 2.7%; 18-SET: 0.32 cm, 5.7%; 12-SET: 0.38 cm, 6.4%-DMT: 24-set: 0.39 cm, 13.1%; 18-SET: 0.28 cm, 8.9%; 12-SET: 0.34 cm, 9.7%-SMT: 24-set: 0.54 cm, 6.1%; 18-SET: 0.60 cm, 6.7%; 12-SET: 0.72 cm, 7.7%, and ROI-FFM: 24-set: 0.70 kg, 2.6%; 18-SET: 1.09 kg, 4.2%; 12-SET: 1.20 kg, 4.6%, respectively). Although all of the groups increased maximum strength, our results suggest that the middle dose range may optimize the gains in back squat 1RM. Our findings also support that differences in weekly set number did not impact in MT and ROI-FFM adaptations in subjects who can squat more than twice their body mass.
... Jump performance was recorded in mean velocity (m·s -1 ) and mean power (W) through CMJ tests with a load of 20 kg. The CMJ has a very high test-retest reliability of lower-body strength with a correlation of r = 0.97 and a typical error of 4% [22]. A GymAware ...
Article
Full-text available
This study aimed to evaluate the application of a single pre-exercise bout of partial-body cryotherapy (PBC) to augment jump performance, salivary biomarkers and self-reported performance readiness. Twelve male rugby union players (age 20.7 ± 3.2 yr; body mass 93.1 ± 13.9 kg; mean ± SD) were exposed to PBC for 3 min at –140°C or control condition prior to a pre-post series of loaded countermovement jumps (CMJ), salivary biomarker samples and performance readiness questionnaires. PBC elicited a moderately greater improvement in CMJ velocity of +4.7 ± 3.5% (mean ± 90% confidence limits) from baseline to 15 min in comparison with a -1.9 ± 4.8% mean difference in the control condition. The mean change in concentration of salivary α-amylase at 15 min was substantially increased by +131 ± 109% after PBC exposure, compared to a -4.2 ± 42% decrease in the control. Salivary testosterone concentrations were unclear at all timepoints in both the PBC and control interventions. Self-reported perceptions of overall performance readiness indicated small to moderate increases in mental fatigue, mood, muscle soreness and overall questionnaire score after PBC compared to control with a higher score more favourable for performance. The application of pre-exercise PBC can elicit favourable outcomes in controlled physical performance tests and holds promise to be applied to training or competition settings.
... Supported by bodybuilding models, the prescription of resistance training focusing on muscular hypertrophy had been well investigated [1][2][3][4][5][6] and usually adopts high volumes of sets per muscle group per training session 7 . Snyder and Wayne 8 cite that elite bodybuilding athletes typically adopt volumes between 9 and 24 sets, while other 9 indicate volumes of up to 49 sets per muscle group in a single training session. ...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction There are few studies on the effectiveness of training models with high volume sets per session in particular muscle groups. Objective The aim of the study was to investigate the effects of different resistance training (RT) repetitions with equalized volumes on muscle adaptations. Methods This study used an experimental design in which forty-seven volunteers underwent 8 weeks of RT after having been distributed randomly into three groups: ten sets of three maximum repetitions (10x3), three sets of ten maximum repetitions (3x10) and five sets of six maximum repetitions (5x6) for each muscular group per training session. Maximum strength (1RM test) and muscle thickness (MT) were evaluated as outcomes. Results A significant main effect (p=0.001) of time on maximum strength was observed for the three groups, but no significance was observed (p>0.05) in time x group interactions. A significant main effect (p=0.001) of time was observed on MT for biceps, triceps and vastus lateralis, without significant differences for time x group interactions. Significant correlations were found between maximum strength and muscle thickness after general statistical analyses for all protocols. Conclusion Improvements in maximum strength and muscle thickness are similar when repetition volumes are equalized through the number of series and repetitions. Level of evidence I; Therapeutic studies, investigation of treatment results.
... However, our results are in agreement with Aube et al. (2020) who compared different weekly training sets (i.e., 12, 18 and 24 sets) in resistance-trained men and did not report any relationship between weekly training sets and muscle growth. Also, Ostrowski et al. (1997) did not observe any difference between different weekly training sets (i.e., 3, 6 and 12 sets) in resistance-trained men. Although these studies analysed weekly sets, only Aube et al. (2020) reported the volume load, they demonstrated that a 194,000 kg difference in volume load between 24 and 12 sets groups did not produce any differences in hypertrophic adaptations. ...
Article
Although used by resistance-trained individuals, it is unknown if increasing muscle strength prior to hypertrophy training leads to greater muscle growth and strength gains. We investigated muscle thickness and maximum strength in 26 resistance-trained men who were randomly assigned to either: STHT, consisted in a 3-week strength-oriented training period (4x1-3 repetition maximum [RM]) prior to a 5-week hypertrophy-oriented period (4x8-12RM), or HT, which comprised an 8-week hypertrophy-oriented training period. Vastus lateralis muscle thickness, and back squat and leg-press 1-RM were assessed at pre, third week, and after 8 weeks of training. When pre-to-post changes are compared, STHT induced greater muscle growth (p = 0.049; 95%CI = 0.15-3.2%; d = 0.81) and strength gains in the back squat (p = 0.015; 95%CI = 1.5-13%; d = 1.05) and leg-press 45° (p = 0.044; 95%CI = 0.16-9.9%; d = 0.79) compared to HT. Our results support the use of a period to increase muscle strength prior to an HT to increase muscle thickness and maximum strength in resistance-trained men.
... Although more volume produces more hypertrophy to a point, it is unclear when further increases in volume result in no additional increase or possible regression in hypertrophy. Although some evidence points to optimal volumes at ;30+ sets per muscle group per week (4,22,25), other evidence indicates peak magnitudes in hypertrophy at 6-18 sets, with no further increases at higher volumes (12,19). Most problematic is in some research where 14-28 sets produced no hypertrophy from baseline, compared with positive outcomes in groups performing 9-18 weekly sets per muscle group (1,9). ...
... Full-size  DOI: 10.7717/peerj.8697/ fig-2 in the current study, others studies have also shown similar increases in strength gains and muscle hypertrophy despite differences in VL (Barcelos et al., 2018;Bottaro et al., 2011;Mitchell et al., 2012;Nobrega et al., 2018b;Ostrowski et al., 1997). Thus, our findings suggest that there may be a "ceiling effect" to the dose-response relationship between RT volume and increases in muscle strength and hypertrophy. ...
Article
Full-text available
The aim of this study was to compare the effect of self-selected repetition duration (SELF), with and without volume load (VL) equalized with controlled repetition duration (CON) on muscle strength and hypertrophy in untrained males. We used a within-subjects design in which 20 volunteers (age: 24.7 ± 2.9 years) had one leg randomly assigned to CON (i.e., 2 s concentric, 2 s eccentric) and the other to SELF or to self-selected repetition duration with equalized volume load (SELF-EV). One repetition maximum (1-RM) and muscle cross-sectional area (CSA) were measured at baseline (Pre) and after (Post) resistance training (RT; 2×/wk for 8 weeks). For the main study variables (1-RM and muscle CSA), a mixed-model analysis was performed, assuming repetition duration (SELF, SELF-EV and CON), and time (Pre and Post) as fixed factors and the subjects as random factor for each dependent variable (1-RM and CSA). All RT protocols showed significant increases in values of 1-RM from Pre (CON: 73.7 ± 17.6 kg; SELF: 75.9 ± 17.7 kg; and SELF-EV: 72.6 ± 16.9 kg) to Post (CON: 83.4 ± 19.9 kg, effect size (ES): 0.47; SELF: 84 ± 19.1 kg, ES: 0.43; and SELF-EV: 83.2 ± 19.9 kg, ES: 0.57, P < 0.0001). Muscle CSA values increased for all protocols from Pre (CON: 12.09 ± 3.14 cm ² ; SELF: 11.91 ± 3.71 cm ² ; and SELF-EV: 11.93 ± 2.32 cm ² ) to Post (CON: 13.03 ± 3.25 cm ² , ES: 0.29; SELF: 13.2 ± 4.16 cm ² , ES: 0.32; and SELF-EV: 13.2 ± 2.35 cm ² , ES: 0.53, P < 0.0001). No significant differences between protocols were found for both 1-RM and CSA ( P > 0.05). Performing RT with SELF, regardless of VL, was equally effective in inducing increases in muscle strength and hypertrophy compared to CON in untrained men.
Article
Full-text available
There are recommendations for the progression of muscle strength training, which also considers increasing the number of sets as the practitioner progresses through the program. This study aimed to verify in the literature, data from meta-analyses that could collaborate with the understanding of the magnitude of strength gains and muscle hypertrophy to the number of sets in muscle strength exercises, in such a way that this work has characteristics brief narrative review. The results were that the data that indicate that the magnitude of muscle adaptations occurs in proportion to the number of series, and with that, it is understood that, despite some criticisms, the recommendations of the American College of Sports Medicine are consistent. RESUMO Existem recomendações de progressão do treinamento de força muscular, que também considera elevar o número de séries conforme o praticante avança no programa. Este estudo teve por objetivo verificar na literatura, dados de meta-análises que pudessem colaborar com o entendimento sobre a magnitude de ganhos de força e hipertrofia muscular em relação ao número de séries em exercícios de força muscular, de forma tal que este trabalho tem características de breve revisão narrativa. Os resultados foram de que os dados que apontam que a magnitude das adaptações musculares se dá proporcionalmente ao número de séries, e com isso fica entendido de que, apesar de algumas críticas, as recomendações do American College of Sports Medicine são coerentes.
Article
Full-text available
Serum creatine kinase (CK) activities were investigated in elite male strength athletes (n = 20) during normal weight training and bodybuilding training (one training session per day), during high volume strength training (two sessions per day) and during strength training (one session per day) with the use of high dose synthetic androgens (five athletes in each subgroup). The findings demonstrated that the increase in serum CK was highest in the subgroup using androgens. These results suggest that strength training with the use of androgenic steroids leads to higher serum CK activities than normal strength training.
Article
We have developed a selective and precise high-performance liquid chromatographic method for urinary free cortisol with an improved and efficient sample clean-up using C18 Sep-Pak cartridges. The urine sample (2 ml), with 11-deoxycortisol as internal standard, is applied to the Sep-Pak, which is then sequentially washed with acetone-water (1:4, v/v), water and hexane. Cortisol is eluted with diethyl ether, evaporated to dryness and redissolved in 2 ml of water. The wash cycle is repeated once using the same Sep-Pak cartridge. This double extraction greatly improves sample clean-up and allows modification of the mobile phase (tetrahydrofuran-methanol-water) so that cortisol is rapidly eluted as a single well resolved peak at 13 min. Chromatography is performed isocratically on a reversed-phase column with detection at 254 nm. Detection limits for urinary free cortisol by this procedure were two or three times lower than those obtained with two commercial radioimmunoassay kits. The chromatographic method was used successfully in the diagnosis of patients with hypercortisolism and Cushing's syndrome.
Article
Area measurements of the ultrasound scans of the vastus lateralis muscle were performed on three occasions during a period of 22 weeks, in two groups of six and eight persons performing two different programs of resistance dynamic strength training and in nine controls. The differences between the measurements of different persons were significant and much greater than the differences introduced by other factors. However, investigators should not be tempted to use ultrasonograms for the short term follow-up of athletes because small changes of the cross-sectional area of muscles cannot be detected in this manner.
Article
1. A method has been developed for the estimation of testosterone in human urine by using acid hydrolysis followed by a quantitative form of a modified Girard reaction that separates a ;conjugated-ketone' fraction from a urine extract; this is followed by column chromatography on alumina and paper chromatography. 2. Comparison of methods of estimation of testosterone in the final fraction shows that estimation by gas-liquid chromatography is more reproducible than by colorimetric methods applied to the same eluates from the paper chromatogram. 3. The mean recovery of testosterone by gas-liquid chromatography is 79.5%, and this method appears to be specific for testosterone. 4. The procedure is relatively rapid. Six determinations can be performed by one worker in 2 days. 5. Results of determinations on human urine are briefly presented. In general, they are similar to earlier estimates, but the maximal values are lower.