Optimizing strength training for hypertrophy-A periodization of classic resistance training and blood-flow restriction training

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DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.30262.19526
Thesis for: Bachelor, Advisor: Niklas Psilander
Cite this publication
Abstract
Acknowledgement We would like to give our thanks to everyone that has been involved in this project. First of all, thanks to all of the subjects that struggled during the long intervention. Thanks to our student companions Mikael and John for the good collaboration, what a journey. We also give our thanks to the student Mattias who occasionally helped us out when we needed a backup in the training box. A huge thanks to Niklas Psilander (GIH) who gave us the chance to be involved in this project and for mentoring us through the work of this present bachelor thesis. We also want to give our thanks to Mathias Wernbom (University of Gothenburg) for providing the project with the required gear for BFRE-training and thoroughly providing us with his knowledge in the field of strength training. Thanks to Fitnessguru and Concept that sponsored with protein supplements and training machines. This study is supported for Riksidrottsförbundets ETU by the Swedish Bandy Association and Swedish Athletic Association, through mentoring by Magnus Alm respectively Torbjörn Eriksson. Abstract Aim The main aim of this study was to investigate if a combination of classic resistance training and blood flow restricted resistance exercise (BFRE) training would result in greater increases in quadriceps muscle growth compared with other strength training studies. The second aim was to investigate if there would be any difference in muscle hypertrophy between men and women after the training intervention. Method Twenty untrained subjects (10 males and 10 female) were recruited to participate in a 10-week unilateral resistance training intervention. Sixteen subjects completed the training intervention. After two familiarization sessions subjects performed three sessions per week in leg press and leg extension, except for week 4 and 8 were subjects performed five BFRE training sessions Monday to Friday. All subjects performed a one repetition maximum test in leg press and leg extension pre and post the training intervention. Ultrasound screening was performed pre and post training intervention to measure muscle thickness in m. vastus lateralis (VL). Results The 10-week intervention resulted in a significant increase of VL muscle thickness by 15,1 % ± 7,6 (p ≤ 0,01). Both men and women increased in VL muscle thickness, men (n=7) by 15,4 % ± 9,3 (p ≤ 0,01) and women (n=9) by 14,8 % ± 6,0 (p ≤ 0,01), with no difference between genders. Maximal strength increased for the entire group in the leg press by 59,1 % ± 27,4 (p ≤ 0,01) and in the leg extension by 19,8 % ± 13,1 (p ≤ 0,01). Men had an increase of 58,1 % ± 18,0 (p ≤ 0,01) and women with 60,3 % ± 32,8 (p ≤ 0,01) in the leg press. In the leg extension women and men increased their maximal strength by 23,3 % ± 7,4 (p ≤ 0,01) respectively 17,0 % ± 14,4 (p = 0,051). Conclusions Our unique training protocol resulted in a superior increase in muscle growth in comparison with most other strength training studies. Our result can be converted to an increase of 17,3 % (0,25 % per day) in VL muscle CSA, which is much greater than the mean increase of 0,11 % per day reported in a large meta-analysis (Wernbom, Augustsson & Thomeé 2007). Sammanfattning Syfte och frågeställningar Huvudsyftet med denna studie var att undersöka om en kombination av klassisk styrketräning och blodrestriktionsträning (BRFE) skulle resultera i större muskelökning av quadricepsmuskulaturen jämfört med andra styrketräningsstudier. Det andra syftet med denna studie var att undersöka om det var någon skillnad i muskelökningen mellan män och kvinnor efter träningsinterventionen. Metod Tjugo otränade försökspersoner (FP) (10 män och 10 kvinnor) rekryterades för att delta i en 10 veckor unilateral-styrketräningsintervention. Sexton FP genomförde hela träningsinterventionen. Efter två tillvänjningspass genomförde FP tre träningspass per vecka i benpressen och bensparken, med undantag för vecka 4 och 8 då FP genomförde fem träningspass, måndag till fredag. Alla FP genomförde ett maximalt test i benpress och benspark före och efter träningsinterventionen. Ultraljudsundersökning genomfördes före och efter träningsinterventionen för att mäta muskeltjocklek av m. vastus lateralis (VL). Resultat Den 10 veckor långa träningsinterventionen resulterade i en signifikant ökning i VL muskeltjocklek för hela gruppen 15,1 % ± 7,6 (p ≤ 0,01). Både män och kvinnor ökade i VL muskeltjocklek, män (n=7) med 15,4 % ± 9,3 (p ≤ 0,01) och kvinnor (n=9) med 14,8 % ± 6,0 (p ≤ 0,01), med ingen skillnad mellan könen. Den maximala styrkan ökade för hela gruppen i benpress med 59,1 % ± 27,4 (p ≤ 0,01) och i benspark med 19,8 % ± 13,1 (p ≤ 0,01). Män ökade med 58,1 % ± 18,0 (p ≤ 0,01) och kvinnor med 60,3 % ± 32,8 (p ≤ 0,01) i benpress. I bensparken ökade kvinnor och män sin maximala styrka med 23,3 % ± 7,4 (p ≤ 0,01) respektive 17,0 % ± 14,4 (p = 0,051). Slutsats Vårat unika träningsprogram resulterade i större ökningar i muskelhypertrofi än de flesta andra styrketräningsstudier. Resultatet i muskeltjocklek kan räknas om till tvärsnittsarea vilket ger en ökning av 17,3 % (0,25 % per dag), en ökning som är mycket större än genomsnittet på 0,11 % per dag som rapporterats i en stor meta-analys (Wernbom,
Optimizing strength training for
hypertrophy
- A periodization of classic resistance
training and blood-flow restriction training
Daniel Cortobius and Niklas Westblad
Swedish School of Sports and Science
Bachelor thesis 114:2015
Specialization in Coaching 2013-2016
Supervisor: Niklas Psilander
Examinator: Pia Lundquist Wanneberg
Acknowledgement
We would like to give our thanks to everyone that has been involved in this project. First of
all, thanks to all of the subjects that struggled during the long intervention. Thanks to our
student companions Mikael and John for the good collaboration, what a journey. We also give
our thanks to the student Mattias who occasionally helped us out when we needed a backup in
the training box. A huge thanks to Niklas Psilander (GIH) who gave us the chance to be
involved in this project and for mentoring us through the work of this present bachelor thesis.
We also want to give our thanks to Mathias Wernbom (University of Gothenburg) for
providing the project with the required gear for BFRE-training and thoroughly providing us
with his knowledge in the field of strength training.
Thanks to Fitnessguru and Concept that sponsored with protein supplements and training
machines.
This study is supported for Riksidrottsförbundets ETU by the Swedish Bandy Association and
Swedish Athletic Association, through mentoring by Magnus Alm respectively Torbjörn
Eriksson.
Abstract
Aim
The main aim of this study was to investigate if a combination of classic resistance training
and blood flow restricted resistance exercise (BFRE) training would result in greater increases
in quadriceps muscle growth compared with other strength training studies. The second aim
was to investigate if there would be any difference in muscle hypertrophy between men and
women after the training intervention.
Method
Twenty untrained subjects (10 males and 10 female) were recruited to participate in a 10-
week unilateral resistance training intervention. Sixteen subjects completed the training
intervention. After two familiarization sessions subjects performed three sessions per week in
leg press and leg extension, except for week 4 and 8 were subjects performed five BFRE
training sessions Monday to Friday. All subjects performed a one repetition maximum test in
leg press and leg extension pre and post the training intervention. Ultrasound screening was
performed pre and post training intervention to measure muscle thickness in m. vastus
lateralis (VL).
Results
The 10-week intervention resulted in a significant increase of VL muscle thickness by 15,1 %
± 7,6 (p 0,01). Both men and women increased in VL muscle thickness, men (n=7) by 15,4
% ± 9,3 (p 0,01) and women (n=9) by 14,8 % ± 6,0 (p 0,01), with no difference between
genders. Maximal strength increased for the entire group in the leg press by 59,1 % ± 27,4 (p
0,01) and in the leg extension by 19,8 % ± 13,1 (p 0,01). Men had an increase of 58,1 % ±
18,0 (p 0,01) and women with 60,3 % ± 32,8 (p 0,01) in the leg press. In the leg extension
women and men increased their maximal strength by 23,3 % ± 7,4 (p 0,01) respectively
17,0 % ± 14,4 (p = 0,051).
Conclusions
Our unique training protocol resulted in a superior increase in muscle growth in comparison
with most other strength training studies. Our result can be converted to an increase of 17,3 %
(0,25 % per day) in VL muscle CSA, which is much greater than the mean increase of 0,11 %
per day reported in a large meta-analysis (Wernbom, Augustsson & Thomeé 2007).
Sammanfattning
Syfte och frågeställningar
Huvudsyftet med denna studie var att undersöka om en kombination av klassisk styrketräning
och blodrestriktionsträning (BRFE) skulle resultera i större muskelökning av
quadricepsmuskulaturen jämfört med andra styrketräningsstudier. Det andra syftet med denna
studie var att undersöka om det var någon skillnad i muskelökningen mellan män och kvinnor
efter träningsinterventionen.
Metod
Tjugo otränade försökspersoner (FP) (10 män och 10 kvinnor) rekryterades för att delta i en
10 veckor unilateral-styrketräningsintervention. Sexton FP genomförde hela
träningsinterventionen. Efter två tillvänjningspass genomförde FP tre träningspass per vecka i
benpressen och bensparken, med undantag för vecka 4 och 8 då FP genomförde fem
träningspass, måndag till fredag. Alla FP genomförde ett maximalt test i benpress och
benspark före och efter träningsinterventionen. Ultraljudsundersökning genomfördes före och
efter träningsinterventionen för att mäta muskeltjocklek av m. vastus lateralis (VL).
Resultat
Den 10 veckor långa träningsinterventionen resulterade i en signifikant ökning i VL
muskeltjocklek för hela gruppen 15,1 % ± 7,6 (p 0,01). Både män och kvinnor ökade i VL
muskeltjocklek, män (n=7) med 15,4 % ± 9,3 (p 0,01) och kvinnor (n=9) med 14,8 % ± 6,0
(p 0,01), med ingen skillnad mellan könen. Den maximala styrkan ökade för hela gruppen i
benpress med 59,1 % ± 27,4 (p 0,01) och i benspark med 19,8 % ± 13,1 (p 0,01). Män
ökade med 58,1 % ± 18,0 (p 0,01) och kvinnor med 60,3 % ± 32,8 (p 0,01) i benpress. I
bensparken ökade kvinnor och män sin maximala styrka med 23,3 % ± 7,4 (p 0,01)
respektive 17,0 % ± 14,4 (p = 0,051).
Slutsats
Vårat unika träningsprogram resulterade i större ökningar i muskelhypertrofi än de flesta
andra styrketräningsstudier. Resultatet i muskeltjocklek kan räknas om till tvärsnittsarea
vilket ger en ökning av 17,3 % (0,25 % per dag), en ökning som är mycket större än
genomsnittet på 0,11 % per dag som rapporterats i en stor meta-analys (Wernbom,
Augustsson & Thomeé 2007).
Table of Contents
1 Introduction ............................................................................................................................. 1
1.1 Aim and research questions.............................................................................................. 5
2 Method .................................................................................................................................... 5
2.1 Subjects ............................................................................................................................ 5
2.2 Protocol overview ............................................................................................................ 6
2.2.1 Familiarization .......................................................................................................... 7
2.2.2 Ultrasound screening ................................................................................................. 8
2.2.3 Body composition ..................................................................................................... 8
2.2.3 Assessment of one repetition maximum in leg press and leg extension ................... 8
2.2.4 Training intervention ................................................................................................. 9
2.3 Nutrition ......................................................................................................................... 11
2.4 Validity, reliability and ethics ........................................................................................ 11
2.5 Statistical analysis .......................................................................................................... 12
3 Results ................................................................................................................................... 12
3.1 Subjects .......................................................................................................................... 12
3.2 Muscle thickness ............................................................................................................ 13
3.3 Maximal strength............................................................................................................ 14
3.4 Gender differences ......................................................................................................... 15
4 Discussion ............................................................................................................................. 16
4.1 Limitations ..................................................................................................................... 19
4.2 Conclusion ...................................................................................................................... 19
References ........................................................................................................................ 21
Appendix 1 Source and literature search
Appendix 2 Training Intervention
Appendix 3 Letter of informed consent
Tables and figures
Figure 1 Use of Goniometer for assessment of 90° angle in knee joint ................................ 7
Figure 2 Arrow indicates individual marking in the leg press ............................................... 7
Figure 3 Muscle thickness in the vastus lateralis (VL) muscle of the trained leg at MP25,
MP50 and MP75 before and after the training intervention ................................................... 13
Figure 4 Muscle thickness in the vastus lateralis (VL) muscle of the trained leg at MP25,
MP50 and MP75 before and after the training intervention in the untrained leg ................... 14
Figure 5 1RM in leg press and leg extension of the trained leg before and after the training
intervention .............................................................................................................................. 14
Figure 6 1RM in leg press and leg extension of the trained leg before and after the training
intervention in the untrained leg............................................................................................... 15
Figure 7 Difference between men and women in the muscle thickness increase in the VL
muscle of the trained leg after the training intervention ......................................................... 15
Figure 8 Difference between men and women in the 1RM increase of the trained leg after
the training intervention .......................................................................................................... 16
Table 1 Overview of subjects’ physical characteristics ........................................................ 6
Table 2 Timeline for the 10-week training intervention ........................................................ 6
Table 3 Training volume and intensity during week 1-3, 5-7 and 9-10 ................................ 10
Table 4 Training volume, intensity, pressure and exercise for week 4 and 8 ....................... 11
Table 5 Subjects physical characteristics before and after the 10-week training intervention
.................................................................................................................................................. 13
Table 6 Mean amount of repetitions performed during the two BFRE weeks in each set .... 13
1
1 Introduction
Resistance training, or strength training, has become essential for elite athletes to optimize
their performance. It is also more frequently applied among recreational exercisers. The two
most beneficial effects of resistance training are increased performance and reduced risk of
injuries (Lauersen, Bertelsen & Andersen 2014). Resistance training has also showed several
positive health effects such as reduced risk for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, positive
effect on bone density and blood lipid profile (Fleck 2011). The most common purpose of
resistance training is to stimulate muscle hypertrophy. Muscle hypertrophy is best described
as a training stimulated increase of muscle mass. The underlying mechanism is believed to be
an accumulation of contractile proteins which will result in muscle growth (Kenny, Wilmore
& Costill 2011, p. 230; DeFreitas et al. 2011; The American College of Sports Medicine
2009).
Implementing resistance training into the training plan can improve athletic performance by
improving running economy and increased speed at lactic threshold (Paavolainen et al. 1985),
increasing peak power output (Rønnestad, Hansen & Raastad 2010), improvement in rate of
force development (Aagaard et al. 1985) etc. Regardless of training level, optimizing your
training plan is of interest for everyone. Elite athletes that are training 500 to 1100 hours a
year have a great winning in optimizing their resistance training since they have to carefully
plan what to spend their time on when training (Tønnessen et al. 2014). The recreational
exerciser wants to spend as little time as possible in the gym, while still getting great results.
Optimizing resistance training is therefore in interest for almost everyone.
Human skeletal muscle is made out of several muscle bundles containing muscle fibres which
works together and allows movement. The muscle bundles consist of different types of
muscle fibres which are connected to a parent motor neuron and together they form a motor
unit. The recruitment of motor units follows a given pattern, called size principle. The motor
units are always recruited in a precise order from the smallest (slow twitch) to the largest (fast
twitch) units depending on the needed force output (Henneman 1957; Henneman, Somjen &
Carpenter 1965). The different types of muscle fibres can be divided into type I and type II.
Type I muscle fibres (or slow-twitch muscle fibres) have a high oxidative capacity. Type II
muscle fibres (or fast-twitch muscle fibres) have a low oxidative capacity but can generate a
lot of force in a short period of time. Type II muscle fibres can also be divided into type IIa
2
and type IIx with similar attributes. Type II is probably the most important muscle fibre when
it comes to resistance training and hypertrophy capacity (Kenney, Wilmore & Costill 2011, p.
41; McCall et al. 1996). Type I muscle fibre will also be stimulated for hypertrophy but not to
the same extent as type II. Training induced hypertrophy is generally a local effect which
means that only the training stimulated muscle fibre will respond to the training. To receive as
prominent increases in muscle mass as possible all of the muscle fibres in the muscle needs to
be stimulated.
The general recommendations for resistance exercising with the purpose of training induced
hypertrophy are 8-12 repetitions, 70-85% of 1RM and 1-3 sets (The American College of
Sports Medicine 2009). The intensity in dynamic resistance training is often quantified as a
function of the maximum weight that can be lifted only once (one repetition maximum, 1
RM) (Wernbom, Augustsson & Thomeé 2007). According to Morton, McGlory and Phillips
(2015) the most important factors for muscle hypertrophy are exercise volume (defined as
load x sets x repetitions) and training frequency. It also seems important to execute to
contractile failure and include both the concentric and eccentric phase for stimulation of
muscle hypertrophy (Goto, Kizuka & Takamatsu 2005; McCall et al. 1996). Wernbom,
Augustsson and Thomeé (2007) examined 44 dynamic external resistance studies with
protocol designs of two-three resistance sessions a week. The result was a mean increase in
quadriceps cross-sectional area (CSA) of 0,11 % per day for both two and three sessions per
week, with a range of 0,03-0,26%. Even though research results not clearly indicate a protocol
design of three sessions being superior to a two session protocol in terms of increase in CSA,
it might be more efficient to induce neuromuscular adaptations and strength gains.
With size principle in mind, heavy resistance training and eccentric training have been shown
leading to great increases in muscle growth and strength gains mainly due to greater
recruitment of type II fibres (The American College of Sports Medicine 2009). Eccentric
resistance training refers to when a muscle tries to contract during lengthening (Herzog 2014).
Heavy eccentric resistance training is also more effective than concentric exercise to increase
muscle girth (Roig et al. 2008). Heavy resistance training is performed with an intensity of
80-100 % of 1RM, 3-4 sets with 1-6 repetitions (The American College of Sports Medicine
2009).
3
If an athlete is unable to perform heavy resistance training due to injury, maintaining or
rebuilding muscle mass is key for a rapider rehabilitation, since muscle atrophy starts rapidly
after injury or inactivity (Wall et al. 2014). A solution to the problem might be a fairly new
type of low intensity resistance training called blood flow restricted resistance exercise
(BFRE). BFRE is resistance training performed with a low intensity of 15-30 % of 1RM with
a total of 30-60 repetitions. One study has shown equivalent increases in muscle CSA of
BFRE as of traditional resistance exercise (Wernbom, Augustsson & Raastad 2008). Results
that contradicts the recommendation of a higher weight intensity than 70 % of 1RM to induce
muscle hypertrophy (The American College of Sports Medicine 2009). BFRE is performed by
placing a tourniquet cuff around the proximal portion of either the upper or lower extremity.
The purpose of the tourniquet is to restrict the venous blood flow (Pearson & Hussain 2015).
As described earlier, recruiting of motor units follows a size principle. It is believed that a
high load is necessary to recruit all of the muscle fibres in the trained muscle. However, with
BFRE it seems that the restricted venous blood flow decreases the recruiting threshold by
fatiguing the muscle more than regular resistance training (Wernbom, Augustsson & Raastad
2008). To summarize, the type 1 fibres will be totally fatigued which results in earlier
recruitment of type 2 muscle fibres. This is believed to be one of the reasons of the great
results in hypertrophy. Another perk of BFRE is that the muscle damage that occur after
heavy resistance training, and especially eccentric training, doesn’t occur following BFRE-
training (Loenneke, Thiebaud & Abe 2014). This allows a higher frequency of BFRE in
comparison with heavy resistance training. Though, it is still uncertain how much BFRE an
athlete can tolerate regarding frequency and training load. Nielsen et al. (2012) have shown
that a very high training load (23 sessions within in 19 days) can be tolerated but new
unpublished studies (Baekken et al. 2015) indicate that this might be too much for some
individuals. The best way to perform high load BFRE-training might therefore be in a
periodized manner with 1-2 weeks of BFRE-training separated by 2-4 weeks of rest from
BFRE or performing traditional resistance training.
No one has to the best of our knowledge combined high intensity resistance training with
BFRE-training when training the lower body. We have only found one study that have
combined the two types in an upper body protocol. Yasuda et al. (2011) studied the
differences between a high intensity resistance protocol, a low intensity blood-flow restriction
protocol and a combined protocol and found out that the combined protocol generated the
biggest increase in muscle CSA of the m.triceps brachii. Since no one have combined heavy
4
resistance training with BFRE-training in a lower body protocol, research of the field is
clearly needed.
Athletes and trainers use the tool of periodization to optimize their resistance training.
Periodization is a method to plan the athlete’s training to induce physiological adaptions
while managing muscle fatigue (Bompa & Haff 2009, p. 125 f.). There are two basic types of
periodization in resistance training called traditional and undulating periodization. Traditional
periodization, also entitled step-loading or linear periodization, uses a progression of the
training load. The periodization usually stretches over 10-12 weeks with high volume and low
intensity in the beginning, with a decreasing training volume but an increasing intensity over
time. The second periodization is called undulating, also entitled nonlinear or untraditional
periodization, which varies the training load and intensity between every workout (Kok,
Hamer & Bishop 2009). It can also be termed mixed-methods resistance training (Newton et
al. 2002). In a study by Bartolomei et al. (2015) a weekly-undulating periodization (WUP)
showed superior results in thigh-CSA after 10 weeks of training in comparison with a linear
block periodization, with an increase of 5,8 % for WUP and 1,6 % for linear block.
Taken together, the literature shows that the following training strategies are efficient to
induce muscle hypertrophy:
8-12 repetitions, 70-85% of 1RM and 1-3 sets (traditional resistance training)
5-7 repetitions, 80-90% of 1RM and 1-3 sets (heavy resistance training)
20-30 repetitions, 20-30% of 1RM 2-4 sets (BFRT, 80-100% mmHg)
2-3 training sessions/week
Undulating periodization
Even though many different resistance training protocols have been tested and evaluated no
one has combined the above strategies in an attempt to maximize hypertrophy. On top of this,
few studies have directly compared muscle hypertrophy in men and women after a period of
resistance training. Cureton et al. (1988) tried to examine muscle hypertrophy between men
and women and their study indicated that there are most likely no differences between the two
groups. As there is little known about muscle hypertrophy between genders, this study will
hopefully contribute with more knowledge of eventual differences between men and women,
together with the results of our unique resistance training protocol.
5
1.1 Aim and research questions
The purpose of the present study is to combine efficient strategies from existing literature and
research with the attempt to construct the most optimal resistance exercise protocol for
muscle hypertrophy. Our hypothesis is that an undulating periodization with mixed-methods
of traditional resistance training, eccentric resistance training and BFRE, will produce greater
increases of the quadriceps cross sectional area in comparison with other protocols.
Will our combination of classic resistance training and blood flow restricted resistance
exercise (BFRE) training increase quadriceps muscle growth more than other
protocols?
Will there be any differences in muscle growth between men and women?
2 Method
This study is an appendix of a study performed at The Swedish School of Sport and Health
Science in Stockholm, working title of the mother study is the Muscle Memory Study (MM-
study). Due to the purpose of the MM-study, our training intervention had to be performed
with only one leg. The reason why they only trained one leg is that the other leg works as a
control leg in the MM-study. All subjects ingested a protein supplement after every training
session, also due to the purpose of the MM-study.
2.1 Subjects
A total of 20 healthy subjects (10 men and 10 women) were recruited in the study. Sixteen
subjects (n=16) completed the training intervention. One subject quit prematurely due to
reasons not related of this study and three subjects were excluded from the results of this
study since they did not complete enough training sessions due to sickness or travelling
abroad. As the training period consisted of numerous training sessions (34) and to prevent
drop outs the selection of subjects were consecutively. Subjects were recruited via
advertisements and got accepted to the intervention after an interview. The inclusion criteria’s
where set as followed; never been performing resistance training and/or endurance training of
the lower body regularly and never participated in any sport or activity that stress the lower
body. All subjects were informed about the purpose of the study and signed a written
informed of consent prior to the pre-tests. All training was performed with one leg that was
randomly selected. The subjects’ physical characteristics are presented in table 1.
6
Table 1. Overview of subjects’ physical characteristics. Values are presented as mean ± standard deviation.
Groups
Age (y)
Height (cm)
Weight (kg)
All (n=20)
24,7 ± 2,9
174,2 ± 8,2
73,2 ± 19,0
Men (n=10)
25,1 ± 3,3
182,2 ± 5,5
85,3 ± 17,9
Women (n=10)
23,8 ± 2,0
168 ± 3,1
61,0 ± 10,2
2.2 Protocol overview
When accepted to the study all subjects had their m. vastus lateralis (VL) muscle thickness
measured by an ultrasound screening. Prior to the one repetition maximum test (1RM), all
subjects underwent two familiarization sessions. The 1RM-test was performed both to
determine their individual training load in the leg press and leg extension, but also to test their
maximal strength before the training intervention. Subjects then underwent 8 weeks of weekly
undulating resistance training (week 1-3, 5-7 and 9-10) plus two weeks of BFRE-training
(week 4 and 8). After the 10-week training intervention subjects had their VL muscle
thickness reexamined through another ultrasound screening and 1RM-test were assessed once
again to compare their strength pre and post the training intervention (see table 2). Subjects
were instructed not to increase or decrease their weekly training routines or make any changes
in their normal dietary habits during the training period.
Table 2. Timeline for the training intervention.
Timeline
Week
Performed
% 1RM
1
Ultrasound/Familiarization
-
2
1RM Assessment
100%
3
Resistance training
70-85 %
4
Resistance training
70-85 %
5
Resistance training
70-85 %
6
BRFE
15-30 %
7
Resistance training
70-85 %
8
Resistance training
70-85 %
9
Resistance training
70-85 %
10
BRFE
15-30 %
11
Resistance training
70-85 %
12
Resistance training
70-85 %
13
Ultrasound/1RM Assessment
100%
7
2.2.1 Familiarization
To minimize the effect of learning, all subjects performed two familiarization sessions prior to
the pre-tests and the start of the training period. The familiarizations sessions took place
between 1-11 days prior to the first pre-test and there were 24 to 48 hours between the two
sessions. During the familiarization sessions the subjects performed three sets, first in the leg
extension and then the leg press. Both legs were trained unilaterally. The subjects were
instructed to not execute until failure. For standardization, prior to the first set all subjects had
their 90° knee joint angle (see figure 1) measured in the leg press and a marking (see figure 2)
was placed onto the leg press machine to show subjects when to stop the eccentric phase and
start pressing the sled. In the leg extension, subjects started from 90° in the knee joint and
performed to a range within 0-20° ending the concentric phase (0° measuring the leg fully
extended). A goniometer was used for both measurements, measuring from the lateral
malleolus through the lateral epicondyle to the trochanter major of femur.
Figure 1. Use of Goniometer for the assessment of 90° angle in knee joint.
Figure 2. The arrow indicates individual marking in the leg press.
8
2.2.2 Ultrasound screening
Muscle thickness of the VL muscle was measured pre and post of the 10-week training
intervention. An ultrasound screening was performed by using Siemens Acuson S1000
(Germany) with a Multi-D matrix 14L5 (5-14 MHz) 4,5cm probe. To ensure good contact
without depressing the surface of the VL muscle, the probe was coated with a water-soluble
transmission gel. The pre measurements were done before the familiarization training started
and the post measurements at least 3 days after their last training session. The examined area
of VL was determined by the distance of 25, 50 and 75% between the superior edge of patella
and the trochanter major (MP25, MP50 and MP75) (Alegre et al. 2014). Muscle thickness
was determined as the distance between subcutaneous adipose tissue interface and
intermuscular interface at mid belly. Three measurements were obtained from each point of
the VL muscle. During the screening, subjects were supine and instructed to relax in the thigh
muscle. To ensure the reliability of the measurement all reference points of the pretest were
registered in a coordination system.
2.2.3 Body composition
All subjects had their body composition measured before and after the training intervention.
Measurements were done before their 1RM test to avoid the risk of muscle edema. Skinfold
measurements were assessed with a Harpenden skinfold caliper (England) and were
performed by the same person at both pre- and posttests. Each skinfold measurement was
measured in triplet and all points were taken from the dexter part of the subject. The seven
measurement points were; triceps, subscapular, chest, midaxillary, suprailiac, abdominal and
thigh. A Jackson/Pollock 7 caliper method was used to determine body composition.
Bodyweight measurement were performed with a calibrated scale. Subjects were allowed to
wear training clothes but not to wear shoes. Bodyweight was rounded off to the closest 0.1 kg.
Body height was measured using a calibrated tape and was rounded off to the closest 0,1 cm.
2.2.3 Assessment of one repetition maximum in leg press and leg
extension
All subjects performed one repetition maximum (1RM) tests for both their legs before and
after the training period. 1RM tests were performed in a Cybex leg press and in a Cybex
Eagle leg extension machine (USA). All subjects performed a standardized five-minute
warm-up on a Monark Ergomedic 828 E (Sweden) at 60 RPM with 1 kp. Prior to the 1RM
test, each subject’s predicted 1RM was calculated with the help of an Android application,
9
Rep Max Calculator 2.1.0 (USA). The application calculated a mean value of seven different
RM-algorithms (Brzycki, Epley, Lander, Lombardi, Mayhew et al., O’Conner et al. &
Wathen) out of the subject’s performed weight in the last set of the second familiarization
session. Test procedure were then as followed, 10 repetitions at 40-60% of their predicted
1RM with a two-minute rest, five repetitions at 60-80% of their predicted 1RM with a two-
minute rest, three repetitions at 90 % of their predicted 1RM with a five-minute rest (Tanner
& Gore 2013, p. 213 f.). Subjects then performed single repetition attempts at their predicted
1RM. If the subject was able to complete a dynamic repetition, the weight was increased by
2,5-10% until failure with a three-minute rest between attempts. A successful repetition in the
leg press required the subject to perform a knee flexion to or past 90 degrees and extend back
to full extension in the knee joint. After performing a 1RM in the leg press subjects rested for
three minutes and continued with leg extension. Leg extension implemented the same test
protocol procedure except for the first 10 repetition warm-up. A successful repetition in the
leg extension required a dynamic knee extension from a starting 90-degree knee flexion to a
knee extension within the range of 0-20° in the knee joint. The supervisor (SV) was placed
laterally from the subject both in the leg press and leg extension during the 1RM. If the
subject didn’t perform a standardized dynamic repetition without the help of the SV, the SV
registered it as an unsuccessful attempt.
2.2.4 Training intervention
The subjects participated in a 10 week supervised training program consisting of 34 training
sessions. Training was performed three days a week (mon/wed/fri) except for week 4 and
week 8 where subjects had to exercise once every day from Monday to Friday. Week 1-3, 5-7
and 9-10 followed a weekly undulating periodization (WUP). Week 4 and week 8 consisted
of BFRE-training. Subjects only trained one leg during the entire training period (see
appendix 2 for a more detailed training overview). Following a short warm-up of one set of
10 repetitions in the leg press with an intensity of 20 kg and one set of 10 repetitions with 50
% of the working set load, subjects performed three sets of unilateral leg press and rested for
2-3 minutes before performing three sets of unilateral leg extension during week 1-3, 5-7. To
achieve a tapering effect for our subjects, the amount of sets was decreased during week 9 and
week 10. Only one set was performed on Wednesday during week 9 and 10. During the last
week (10) subjects only performed two sets on Monday and Friday (see table 3).
10
Table 3. Training volume and intensity during week 1-3, 5-7 and 9-10. The sun (¤) indicate that during week 10
only 2 sets where performed, M=Monday.
Week 1-3, 5-7
Week 9-10
Monday
Wednesday
Friday
Monday
Wednesday
Friday
Intensity
70-75 %
90 % of M
80-85 %
70-75 %
90 % of M
80-85 %
Sets
3
3
3
2-3 *
1
2-3 ¤
Reps
10-12
10-12
5-7
10-12
10-12
5-7
The WUP consisted of a high repetition session on Monday with three sets of 10-12
repetitions with 70-75 % of 1RM. Subjects were encouraged to execute to failure in the last
two sets. Rest between sets where 1-2 minutes. The Wednesday session, with the purpose to
increase training frequency, consisted of three sets of 10-12 repetitions with 90 % of the
training intensity at the Monday session, not executing to failure. Rest between sets where 1-2
minutes. On Friday, subjects performed a higher intensity session with three sets of 5-7
repetitions with 80-85 % of 1RM with focus on executing slow during the eccentric phase and
executing to failure in the last two sets. Rest between sets where 2-3 minutes.
During week 4 and week 8 subjects exercised every day. Subjects exercised only in the leg
extension on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Leg press were only performed on Tuesday
and Thursday. Before each training session a Delfi Medical low pressure tourniquet cuff (30-
77cm, USA) were applied to the proximal portion of the thigh. The cuff was connected to a
Zimmer A.T.S. 2000 tourniquet system (USA) that automatically applied and regulated the
pressure to 100 mmHg. Subjects then performed four sets of unilaterally leg press or leg
extension at a set pace of 60 BPM in the leg extension and 50 BPM in the leg press. Pace was
given by a metronome and was enhanced by the SV holding it. The intensity was set at 20 %
of 1RM in leg extension and 30 % of 1RM in the leg press. Protocol was as following: first
set consisted of 30 repetitions with a 30 second rest, second set consisted of 10 repetitions
with a 30 sec rest, in the third and fourth set subjects were encouraged to execute to
concentric failure with a 30 sec rest between set three and four (see table 4). Failure was
standardized as when the subject wasn’t able to keep up with the pace or couldn’t extend fully
after two warnings. If subjects had problems initiating the concentric phase in set 3 and set 4,
due to massive blood accumulation in the thigh, the SV helped with initiating the first or
second repetition. Tourniquet cuff pressure was kept during the entire training session and
was released immediately upon completion of set four. If subjects were unable to complete
the set amount of reps in set number one and two or not more than five repetitions in the third
11
set, training intensity was decreased by 5 % to 15 % (leg extension) respectively 25 % of
1RM (leg press) to the next training session. If a decrease of weight intensity wasn’t enough,
tourniquet pressure was decreased to 90 mmHg. Acute changes to tourniquet pressure was
applied in set three and four if the subject couldn’t complete more than five repetitions in set
two. If an acute decrease was needed, tourniquet pressure was decreased to 90 mmHg.
Table 4. Training volume, intensity, pressure and exercise for week 4 and 8.
Week 4 and 8
Mon-Wed-Fri
Tues-Thur
Exercise
Leg extension
Leg press
Pressure
100 mmHg
100 mmHg
Intensity
15-20 %
25-30 %
Reps Set 1
30
30
Reps Set 2
10
10
Reps Set 3
Failure
Failure
Reps Set 4
Failure
Failure
To not be excluded from the training intervention, subjects weren’t allowed to miss more than
20% of the total amount of training sessions during the whole intervention or more than three
training sessions in a row. Due to the long training period no sessions were added after the 10-
week period of training.
2.3 Nutrition
The only standardization in terms of nutrition was that protein supplements were ingested
after each training session during the 10-week intervention. This standardization was
implemented to attempt that the subjects had a sufficient protein intake (Schoenfeld, Aragon
& Krieger 2013). Each portion contained 23,4 gram of whey protein (FitnessGuru One Whey)
and was mixed with a free amount of water. 3 out 20 subjects were given an organic protein
(Fitness Guru Hemp Protein) and each portion contained 21 gram vegetable protein. None of
the subjects were allowed to use any performance enhancing supplements.
2.4 Validity, reliability and ethics
To establish this study reliability and validity pilot tests were performed on the 1RM test and
BFRE training prior to the training intervention. Ultrasound screening is a valid method for
measuring skeletal muscle size (Pretorius & Keating 2008). Noorkoiv, Nosaka and Blazevich.
(2010) tested the validity of measuring CSA via ultrasonography against computed
12
tomography (CT), which is one of two golden standard methods. Validity was tested by intra
class correlation between the two methods. Their results showed that a mid-thigh
measurement had the highest ICC score and lowest standard error of 0,6%. Results of MP50
will therefore be the most interesting as of this study. According to Tanner and Gore (2013,
p.4) typical error for Skinfold Caliper measurement is <5%.
All subjects were informed with the purpose and risks of participating in the study and all
signed a written informed of consent (Vetenskapsrådet u.å.) (see appendix 3). Though they
only exercised one leg for 10 weeks, all subjects are going to exercise both legs during the
second training period of the MM-study. We also provided everyone with an upper body
exercise program and access to the school’s gym facilities twice a week. All data where
treated with care and all subjects were anonymized during data handling and analysis. The
present study is an appendix of a study performed at The Swedish School of Sport and Health
Science, which is approved by the regional board of ethics, DNR 2015/211-31/4.
2.5 Statistical analysis
All values are reported as means ± SD or percent change or both from pre and post the
training intervention. Means and SD were calculated in Microsoft Excel 2016 (Microsoft
Corporation, Redmond, Washington, USA). Statistical analyses were performed with IBM
SPSS Statistics Version 22 (IBM, New York, USA). Pre and post results were analyzed with a
paired dependent T-test. Differences between groups were analyzed with an independent T-
test. The level of statistical significance was set at p 0,05.
3 Results
3.1 Subjects
Sixteen subjects (9 women and 7 men) completed 32 ± 1,4 of 34 possible training sessions.
No differences were seen between pre and post measurements in both weight and lean body
weight (see table 5).
13
Table 5. Subjects physical characteristics before and after the 10-week training intervention. Values are
presented as mean ± standard deviation.
Weight (kg)
Lean body weight (kg)
Groups
Pre
Post
Pre
Post
All (n=16)
70,6 ± 17,2
70,6 ± 16,5
56,3 ± 11,9
55,5 ± 10,5
Men (n=7)
81,6 ± 18,1
81,7 ± 17,3
67,3 ± 8,5
65,7 ± 6,6
Women (n=9)
62 ± 10,2
61,9 ± 9,1
47,7 ± 5,2
47,6 ± 4,7
Throughout the training intervention all subjects performed two weeks of blood flow
restricted resistance exercise (BFRE) and the amount of repetitions performed in each set are
presented in table 6.
Table 6. Mean amount of repetitions performed during the two BFRE weeks in each set. Values are presented as
mean ± standard deviation.
Exercise
Set 1
Set 2
Set 3
Set 4
Leg extension
29,7 ± 0,6
9,4 ± 1,1
8,9 ± 3,0
4,4 ± 1,2
Leg press
29,7 ± 0,8
9,1 ± 1,7
7,9 ± 3,6
4,5 ± 2,5
3.2 Muscle thickness
10 weeks of unilateral resistance training increased muscle thickness at MP50 and MP75 by
15,1 % ± 7,6 (p 0,01) resp. 7,4 % ± 8,7 (p 0,01). MP25 was not affected by the training
intervention (see figure 3).
Figure 3. Muscle thickness in the vastus lateralis (VL) muscle of the trained leg at MP25, MP50 and MP75
before and after the training intervention. Results are means ± standard deviation. Asterix (*) indicates a
significant difference.
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
MP25 MP50 MP75
Muscle Thickness (mm)
Pre
Post
*
*
14
A minor increase in muscle thickness was also observed at MP50 in the untrained leg by 4,4
% ± 4,9 (p 0,01) (see figure 4).
Figure 4. Muscle thickness in the vastus lateralis (VL) muscle of the untrained leg at MP25, MP50 and MP75
before and after the training intervention in the untrained leg. Results are means ± standard deviation. Asterix
(*) indicates a significant difference.
3.3 Maximal strength
Maximal strength in the trained leg increased for the entire group in the leg press by 59,1 % ±
27,4 (p 0,01) and in the leg extension by 19,8 % ± 13,1 (p 0,01) (see figure 5).
Figure 5. 1RM in leg press and leg extension of the trained leg before and after the training intervention. Results
are means ± SD. Asterix (*) indicates a significant difference.
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
MP25 MP50 MP75
Muscle Thickness (mm)
Pre
Post
*
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
140
160
180
200
Leg Press Leg Extension
1 RM (kg)
Pre
Post
*
*
15
Maximal strength also increased for the whole group in the untrained leg by 18,9 % ± 18,9 in
the leg press (p 0,01) and 6,7 % ± 8,3 in the leg extension (p 0,05) (see figure 6).
Figure 6. 1RM in leg press and leg extension of the untrained leg before and after the training intervention in the
untrained leg. Results are means ± standard deviation. Asterix (*) indicates a significant difference.
3.4 Gender differences
MP25 increased in women by 6,7 % ± 6,7 (p 0,05) but not in men. At MP50 and MP75
muscle thickness increased in both groups, men by 15,4 % ± 9,3 (p 0,01) resp. 6,9 % ± 2,0
(p 0,01) and women by 14,8 % ± 6,0 (p 0.01) resp. 7,9 % ± 11,3 (p 0,05). No difference
was seen in the increase in VL muscle thickness between men and women (see figure 7).
Figure 7. Difference between men and women in muscle thickness increase in the vastus lateralis muscle of the
trained leg after the training intervention. Results are means ± standard deviation.
An increase was also seen in women in the untrained leg at MP50 with 3,5 % ± 4,4 (p 0,05,
data not shown)
Maximal strength increased in leg press for men (p 0,01) but in both exercises for women (p
0,01). Men had an increase of 58,1 % ± 18,0 % and women with 60,3 % ± 32,8 in the leg
0
50
100
150
200
Leg Press Leg Extension
1RM (kg)
Pre
Post
*
*
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
MP25 MP50 MP75
Increase in muscle
thickness (mm)
Men
Women
16
press. In the leg extension women increased their maximal strength by 23,3 % ± 7,4. Men had
an almost significant increase in leg extension by 17,0 % ± 14,4 (p = 0,051). No difference
was seen in the increase in maximal strength between men and women (see figure 8).
Figure 8. Difference between men and women in the 1RM increase of the trained leg after the training
intervention. Results are means ± standard deviation.
Both men and women increased their maximal strength in leg press in the untrained leg (p
0,01) but only men increased their strength in the leg extension (p 0,05). In the leg press
men increased their maximal strength by 26,5 % ± 20,3 and women by 9,5 % ± 13,0. In the
leg extension men increased by 9,8 % ± 9,4 (data not shown).
4 Discussion
The present study is the first to examine the effect of combining traditional high volume
resistance training, high intensity eccentric resistance training and BFRE-training in the lower
extremity. The major finding of this study was that our unique resistance training protocol
resulted in a approx. 15 % increase in muscle thickness in the m. vastus lateralis muscle. No
significant difference in muscle growth was seen between men and women after the training
intervention.
There seems to be a strong correlation between muscle thickness and CSA in the lower
extremity. Hulmi et al. (2009) measured both muscle thickness and CSA of VL after 21
weeks of resistance training. Results are presented in two separate studies with almost the
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
Leg press Leg extension
Increase in 1RM (kg)
Men
Women
17
same groups. One group that used protein supplements increased their VL muscle CSA by
14,8 % and muscle thickness by 12,2 % which gives a 1:1,21 ratio. The placebo group
increased their VL muscle CSA by 11,2 % and muscle thickness by 10,1 % which gives a
1:1,11 ratio. The ratio between VL muscle CSA and VL muscle thickness can therefore be
estimated to 1:1,15. Applying this ratio to our results gives a mean increase in VL muscle
CSA by 17,3 % or 0,25 % per day. A result severely superior to the mean increase of 0,11 %
per day presented in the review of training factors affecting quadriceps muscle CSA
(Wernbom, Augustsson & Thomeé 2007). It’s also in the top of the range (0,03-0,26 %) of the
44 dynamic external resistance studies included in the review, all with a training frequency
similar as this study. Our combined resistance training protocol seems to have resulted in
superior increases in quadriceps muscle hypertrophy in comparison to earlier studies.
Kraemer et al. (1998) discuss the possibility of bilateral or whole body programs leading to a
greater augmentation in testosterone concentration than unilateral resistance training. Due to
greater musculature recruitment it’s believed to produce more testosterone which ultimately
leads to greater increases in muscle hypertrophy. This study was an appendix of another study
which required one leg to be untrained. This forced us into having our subjects performing
unilateral resistance training. If we would’ve had the opportunity we probably had chosen a
bilateral training program instead of a unilateral training program, primarily because of the
ethical aspect of letting subjects exercise both legs instead of just one. However, there doesn’t
seem to be that big of a difference between unilateral- and bilateral resistance training in
muscle hypertrophy according to Häkkinen et al. (1996). In their study, two groups of middle-
aged men and women performed heavy resistance training on knee extension and flexion
muscles, where one group performed bilateral training and the other unilateral training. They
found no significant differences in muscle hypertrophy between the groups after the training
intervention. Despite the slight possibility of bilateral training producing more testosterone,
our unilateral resistance training results stand tall in comparison with earlier strength training
studies. In comparison with other strength training studies, with previously untrained subjects
exclusively performing unilateral resistance training as this present study, our increase in
CSA are superior (Ivey et al. 2000; Häkkinen et al. 1996). One exception is Beyer et al.
(2015), which after only 4-weeks of unilateral resistance training got a questionable increase
of 15,7 % in CSA of the quadriceps muscle (0,56 % per day). Their subjects performed 3 sets
of 8 unilateral repetitions at 80 % RM in the lower limb and bilateral resistance training in the
upper body during a 4-week training intervention. With no significant increase in testosterone
18
concentration and the quite standard training protocol, one explanation might be delayed
muscle edema. Damas et al. (2016) contend that early increases in VL CSA (in the third week
or after four bouts of resistance training) are largely due to edema-induced muscle swelling. It
is possible that only one additional week (or three additional training sessions) as of Beyer et
al. (2015) is not enough to exclude muscle edema affecting the measurement. Damas et al.
(2016) argues that increases in CSA after 9-12~ resistance training bouts can be
overestimated and should be taken with ease. Another interesting finding was that they found
no significant muscle swelling after 10 weeks of resistance training. Similar to this study they
measured muscle growth through ultrasound screening 72 hours or more after the last training
session. A result that excludes the possibility of our increases being affected by edema-
induced muscle swelling.
Our training intervention resulted in no significant difference between men and women in
muscle growth. These results are in line with Cureton et al. (1998) which concluded that there
is no difference between untrained men and women in muscle growth after their resistance
training intervention. Also, no significant difference could be seen between men and women
in maximal strength of both exercises after our training intervention. Though this training
intervention was designed to optimize muscle hypertrophy, our results are in line with other
strength studies regarding the increase in maximal strength (Häkkinen et al. 1996). This
resistance training program can therefore successfully be applied by both genders to receive
both great increases in muscle growth and maximal strength. Further research is needed to
investigate if there is a difference in the response of this training protocol between men and
women at a higher training level.
The most unique thing about this study’s training protocol is the addition of BFRE-training.
Performing BFRE can be physically and mentally tough for the athlete due to severe pain in
the trained limb due to massive blood accumulation. We prepared our subjects mentally
before the BFRE-weeks by explaining the procedure and sharing our own expressions from
the pilot tests that were done prior to the start of this study. One of our fears with having
untrained subjects was that they weren’t going to manage the pain in the trained limb since
they’ve never had trained regularly before. Though a majority performed exceptionally well
from the very beginning, some didn’t. Extra focus was given these subjects and they were
encouraged to carry on despite the discomfort. After only few sessions they learned to handle
the pain and from that on all of the subjects gave everything they had during the rest of the
19
intervention. We recommend BFRE to be performed together with a trainer and other athletes
that can encourage and cheer at the athlete, for superior results. Even though it might sound
like there’s a risk encouraging untrained subjects to continue with severe pain in the limb,
there’s no evidence that BFRE damages the muscle. According to Loenneke, Thiebaud and
Abe (2014) BFRE does not result in any muscle damage when measuring blood biomarkers
for muscle damage and muscle soreness ratings in comparison with a low-load control.
BFRE-training therefore gives strength coaches another tool in their arsenal when
programming their athletes’ training. Optimizing the strength training program for maximal
muscle growth, without severe muscle soreness or damage to tissues will give athlete’s more
time to focus on other capacities as well.
4.1 Limitations
To increase the validity of the ultrasound measurement Berg, Tedner and Tesch (1993)
suggest that the subject should be rested in a horizontal position for 15-20 minutes before
performing the ultrasound screening. The reason is to allow the fluids to shift to stabilize. Due
to a limited amount of time, our subjects only sat in an upright position for 5-20 minutes prior
to the ultrasound measurement. This might’ve impacted the measurement of this study. The
best would’ve been using a computed tomography, as it is the golden standard method.
One of the inclusion criterias in the meta-analysis of Wernbom, Augustsson and Thomeé
(2007) was that no protein supplement or other performance enhancing supplements were
consumed by the subjects. However, all of our subjects were given a protein supplement after
training. This must be taken into consideration when comparing our results with the results
from the meta-analysis. It is however questionable that the supplemented protein would have
had any major impact on the observed muscle growth because studies normally show minor
or no effect of protein supplementation on hypertrophy (Hulmi, Lockwood & Stout 2010;
Hulmi et al. 2015).
4.2 Conclusion
The major finding was that the unique resistance training protocol applied in the present study
induced an unusually large increase in muscle growth compared with similar strength training
studies. Both men and woman responded well to the training and no gender differences were
20
observed. The present training protocol, where classic resistance training is combined with
BFRE, can therefore be recommended to individuals who want to maximize their
hypertrophy.
21
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Appendix 1
Source and literature search
Purpose and question formulation:
The purpose of the present study is to combine efficient strategies from existing literature and research
with the attempt to construct the most optimal resistance exercise protocol for muscle hypertrophy.
Our hypothesis is that an undulating periodization with mixed-methods of traditional resistance
training, eccentric resistance training and BFRE, will produce greater increases of the quadriceps cross
sectional area in comparison with other protocols.
Will our combined resistance training protocol of high volume, high intensity and blood flow
restriction training increase quadriceps muscle growth more than other protocols?
Will there be any differences in muscle growth between men and women?
Which words have you been using during your literature search?
Wernbom, Kraemer, blood flow restriction training, heavy resistance training untrained,
resistance training, strength training, kaatsu, quadriceps, cross sectional area, muscle
hypertrophy, hypertrophy, cross sectional area, CSA quadriceps, muscle growth, lower
body, periodization resistance training, weekly undulating resistance training, untrained
men, untrained women, protein, protein intake,
Where have you search?
PubMed, Sport Discus, Google Scholar,
Which of the literature searches gave relevant results?
PubMed: heavy resistance training untrained, blood-flow restriction training
PubMed: review resistance training hypertrophy
Comments
We’ve received great help with literature and studies by our supervisor Niklas Psilander
and from Mathias Wernbom (Uni of Gothenburg) in the field of strength training and
BFRE-training. Many reviews or meta-analyses have given us references to original articles
that we’ve used in this thesis.
Appendix 2
Training Intervention
Week 1:
Monday: 2 set leg press + 2 set leg extension, 10-12 reps (~70-75 % of 1RM) until failure, moderate velocities
(1-2 sec for the concentric and eccentric phase), 1-2min rest between set and machine.
Wednesday: Same sets and reps as Monday but 90% of the intensity as Monday
Friday: 2 set leg press + 2 set leg extension, 5-7 reps (~80-85 % of 1RM) until failure, emphasis on the
eccentric phase (2-3 sec).
Week 2 and 3:
Monday: 3 set leg press + 3 set leg extension, 10-12 reps (~70-75 % of 1RM) until failure, moderate velocities
(1-2 sec for the concentric and eccentric phase), 1-2min rest between set and machine.
Wednesday: Same sets and reps as Monday but 90% of the intensity as Monday
Friday: 3 set leg press + 3 set leg extension, 5-7 reps (~80-85 % of 1RM) until failure, emphasis on the
eccentric phase (2-3 sec).
Week 4 (BFRE):
Monday: 4 sets of leg extension at 15-20% 1RM, 30s rest between sets, set 1: 30 reps, set 2: 15 reps, set 3 and 4
until failure
Tuesday: 4 sets of leg press at 15-20% 1RM, 30s rest between sets, set 1: 30 reps, set 2: 15 reps, set 3 and 4
until failure
Wednesday: 4 sets of leg extension at 15-20% 1RM, 30s rest between sets, set 1: 30 reps, set 2: 15 reps, set 3
and 4 until failure
Thursday: 4 sets of leg press at 15-20% 1RM, 30s rest between sets, set 1: 30 reps, set 2: 15 reps, set 3 and 4
until failure
Friday: 4 sets of leg extension at 15-20% 1RM, 30s rest between sets, set 1: 30 reps, set 2: 15 reps, set 3 and 4
until failure
Week 5-7:
Monday: 3 set leg press + 3 set leg extension, 10-12 reps (~70-75 % of 1RM) until failure, moderate velocities
(1-2 sec for the concentric and eccentric phase), 1-2min rest between set and machine.
Wednesday: Same sets and reps as Monday but 90% of the intensity as Monday
Friday: 3 set leg press + 3 set leg extension, 5-7 reps (~80-85 % of 1RM) until failure, emphasis on the
eccentric phase (2-3 sec).
Week 8 (BFRE):
Monday: 4 sets of leg extension at 15-20% 1RM, 30s rest between sets, set 1: 30 reps, set 2: 15 reps, set 3 and 4
until failure
Tuesday: 4 sets of leg press at 15-20% 1RM, 30s rest between sets, set 1: 30 reps, set 2: 15 reps, set 3 and 4
until failure
Wednesday: 4 sets of leg extension at 15-20% 1RM, 30s rest between sets, set 1: 30 reps, set 2: 15 reps, set 3
and 4 until failure
Thursday: 4 sets of leg press at 15-20% 1RM, 30s rest between sets, set 1: 30 reps, set 2: 15 reps, set 3 and 4
until failure
Friday: 4 sets of leg extension at 15-20% 1RM, 30s rest between sets, set 1: 30 reps, set 2: 15 reps, set 3 and 4
until failure
Week 9:
Monday: 3 set leg press + 3 set leg extension, 10-12 reps (~70-75 % of 1RM) until failure, moderate velocities
(1-2 sec for the concentric and eccentric phase), 1-2min rest between set and machine.
Wednesday: 1 set leg press + 1 set leg extension, 90% of the intensity as Monday
Friday: 3 set leg press + 3 set leg extension, 5-7 reps (~80-85 % of 1RM) until failure, emphasis on the
eccentric phase (2-3 sec).
Week 10:
Monday: 2 set leg press + 2 set leg extension, 10-12 reps (~70-75 % of 1RM) until failure, moderate velocities
(1-2 sec for the concentric and eccentric phase), 1-2min rest between set and machine.
Wednesday: 1 set leg press + 1 set leg extension, 90% of the intensity as Monday
Friday: 2 set leg press + 2 set leg extension, 5-7 reps (~80-85 % of 1RM) until failure, emphasis on the
eccentric phase (2-3 sec).
Appendix 3
Informerat samtycke (biobank)
Undertecknad har tagit del av den skriftliga informationen.
Jag accepterar
att delta i forskningsstudien rörande ” Har människan ett muskelminne?” och har förstått att
mitt deltagande är helt frivilligt och kan avbrytas när som helst utan någon förklaring.
Jag godkänner
att de vävnadsprov som jag lämnar kommer att förvaras i biobank vid GIH (Gymnastik- och
Idrottshögskolan),
att proverna används på det sätt som beskrivits i forskningspersonsinformationen men att jag
när som helst kan återkalla mitt samtycke till användning av mina prover och begära att
proverna omedelbart förstörs eller avidentifieras,
att proverna används i framtida biomedicinsk forskning som inte är beskriven här och som i
förekommande fall kommer att granskas och godkännas av regional etikprövningsnämnd samt
att i samband med sådan forskning journalkopior eller information baserad på min journal
lämnas ut (stryks om forskningspersonen motsätter sig det).
Datum:………………………………
Underskrift:……………………………………………….
Namnförtydligande:……………………………………….
Personnummer □ □ □ □ □ □ - □ □ □ □
Dokumentet är upprättat i två original varav forskningspersonen behåller den ena och det
andra arkiveras av ansvarig prövare.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
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