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The objectives of this paper were to: (a) systematically review studies that explored the effects of exercise order (EO) on muscular strength and/or hypertrophy; (b) pool their results using a meta-analysis; and (c) provide recommendations for the prescription of EO in resistance training (RT) programmes. A literature search was performed in four databases. Studies were included if they explored the effects of EO on dynamic muscular strength and/or muscle hypertrophy. The meta-analysis was performed using a random-effects model with Hedges' g effect size (ES). The methodological quality of studies was appraised using the TESTEX checklist. Eleven good-to-excellent methodological quality studies were included in the review. When all strength tests, that is, both in multi-joint (MJ) and single-joint (SJ) exercises were considered, there was no difference between the EOs (ES = -0.11; p = 0.306). However, there was a difference between the MJ-to-SJ and SJ-to-MJ orders for strength gains in the MJ exercises, favouring starting the exercise session with MJ exercises (ES = 0.32; p = 0.034), and the strength gains in the SJ exercises, favouring starting the exercise session with SJ exercises (ES = -0.58; p = 0.032). No significant effect of EO was observed for hypertrophy combining site-specific and indirect measures (ES = 0.03; p = 0.862). In conclusion, increases in muscular strength are the largest in the exercises performed at the beginning of an exercise session. For muscle hypertrophy, our meta-analysis indicated that both MJ-to-SJ and SJ-to-MJ EOs may produce similar results.
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REVIEW
What influence does resistance exercise order have on muscular strength
gains and muscle hypertrophy? A systematic review and meta-analysis
JOÃO PEDRO NUNES
1
, JOZO GRGIC
2
, PAOLO M. CUNHA
1
, ALEX S. RIBEIRO
1,3
, BRAD
J. SCHOENFELD
4
, BELMIRO F. DE SALLES
5
, & EDILSON S. CYRINO
1
1
Metabolism, Nutrition, and Exercise Laboratory, Physical Education and Sport Center, Londrina State University, Londrina,
Brazil;
2
Institute for Health and Sport (IHES), Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia;
3
Center for Research in Health
Sciences, University of Northern Paraná, Londrina, Brazil;
4
Department of Health Sciences, Lehman College, New York,
United States &
5
Strength Training Research Group, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Abstract
The objectives of this paper were to: (a) systematically review studies that explored the effects of exercise order (EO) on
muscular strength and/or hypertrophy; (b) pool their results using a meta-analysis; and (c) provide recommendations for
the prescription of EO in resistance training (RT) programmes. A literature search was performed in four databases.
Studies were included if they explored the effects of EO on dynamic muscular strength and/or muscle hypertrophy. The
meta-analysis was performed using a random-effects model with Hedgesg effect size (ES). The methodological quality of
studies was appraised using the TESTEX checklist. Eleven good-to-excellent methodological quality studies were
included in the review. When all strength tests, that is, both in multi-joint (MJ) and single-joint (SJ) exercises were
considered, there was no difference between the EOs (ES = 0.11; p=0.306). However, there was a difference between
the MJ-to-SJ and SJ-to-MJ orders for strength gains in the MJ exercises, favouring starting the exercise session with MJ
exercises (ES = 0.32; p=0.034), and the strength gains in the SJ exercises, favouring starting the exercise session with SJ
exercises (ES = 0.58; p=0.032). No significant effect of EO was observed for hypertrophy combining site-specific and
indirect measures (ES = 0.03; p=0.862). In conclusion, increases in muscular strength are the largest in the exercises
performed at the beginning of an exercise session. For muscle hypertrophy, our meta-analysis indicated that both MJ-to-
SJ and SJ-to-MJ EOs may produce similar results.
Keywords: Muscle contraction, strength training, muscle strength, muscle growth, pre-exhaustion
Highlights
.Results of the present meta-analysis indicate a significant influence of resistance exercise order on gains in muscular
strength. In particular, the specificity principle should be considered to optimise strength gains, given that greater
improvements in strength are observed in exercises that are performed at the beginning of the resistance training session.
.Similar muscle hypertrophy effects may be achieved regardless of exercise order.
Introduction
Resistance training (RT) is an exercise modality that
has been shown to confer positive effects on health-
related parameters and well-being, sports perform-
ance, and physique aesthetics (Suchomel, Nimphius,
& Stone, 2016; Westcott, 2012). When designing RT
programmes, several key training variables need to be
considered. These variables are related to training
intensity (e.g. external load relative to maximum),
volume (e.g. the number of sets, repetitions per
exercise, and training frequency), level of effort
(e.g. sets performed near or to failure) and structure,
which refers to exercise order (EO) and selection
(Ratamess et al., 2009).
For EO, the current American College of Sports
Medicine position stand for resistance exercise pre-
scription recommends performing multi-joint (MJ)
exercises that involve larger muscle groups first in
the exercise session followed by the performance of
© 2020 European College of Sport Science
Correspondence: João Pedro Nunes, Metabolism, Nutrition, and Exercise Laboratory. Physical Education and Sport Center, Londrina State
University, Rod Celso Garcia Cid, km 380, Londrina, Brazil. E-mail: joaonunes.jpn@hotmail.com
European Journal of Sport Science, 2020
https://doi.org/10.1080/17461391.2020.1733672
single-joint (SJ) exercises that involve smaller muscle
groups (Ratamess et al., 2009). However, a narrative
review on the effects of EO did not necessarily share
these recommendations (Simão, de Salles, Figueir-
edo, Dias, & Willardson, 2012). Specifically, Simão
et al. (2012) suggested that EO should be prioritised,
whereby muscle groups or specific exercises con-
sidered most important to the goals of the trainee
are performed at the beginning of the exercise
session. These propositions are specific to muscular
strength and muscle hypertrophy (Ratamess et al.,
2009; Simão et al., 2012).
A limitation of the current guidelines on EO (Rata-
mess et al., 2009), which have an evidence level cat-
egory of C, is that they are based only on the results
from acute studies. In such studies, the participants
perform exercise sessions that only differ in the
specific EO. In this regard, the loads to be used on
both EO are previously tested in a single order,
unlike what occurs in the training sessions in which
the loads are adjusted according to the exercise pos-
ition in the training programme (Carpinelli, 2013;
Nunes et al., 2019). Outcomes of these studies com-
monly include the total number of repetitions and
muscle activation with different EOs (Augustsson
et al., 2003; Sforzo & Touey, 1996; Spreuwenberg
et al., 2006). Therefore, generalising the results from
acute studies to hallmark RT adaptations such as mus-
cular strength and hypertrophy must be done with
caution (Grgic, Schoenfeld, Skrepnik, Davies, &
Mikulic, 2018; Halperin, Vigotsky, Foster, & Pyne,
2018). A higher number of repetitions or an increased
acute muscular activation with a given resistance exer-
cise might not necessarily result in greater long-term
increases in muscular strength and hypertrophy
(Grgic et al., 2018; Halperin et al., 2018; Vigotsky,
Halperin, Lehman, Trajano, & Vieira, 2018).
The aforementioned narrative review by Simão
et al. (2012) included only three long-term studies,
with a total sample size across the studies of 66 partici-
pants. Since the publication of this review, multiple
long-term studies were subsequently published on
the topic of EO. Given the conflicting findings of
these studies, the goals of this paper were to: (a) sys-
tematically review studies that explored the effects of
EO on muscular strength and/or hypertrophy; (b)
pool their results using a meta-analysis; and (c)
provide recommendations for the prescription of EO
in RT based on the meta-analytical findings.
Methods
This review followed the Preferred Reporting Items
for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guide-
lines (Liberati et al., 2009).
Literature search
The literature search was performed through
PubMed/MEDLINE, Scopus, Scielo, and SPORT-
Discus databases on 13 February 2020. Searches
were carried out using the following search syntax:
(resistance exerciseOR resistance trainingOR
strength trainingOR strength exercise)AND
(order) AND (strength OR hypertrophy OR lean
body massOR fat-free mass). Secondary searches
were performed for: (a) screening the reference lists
of the included studies; and (b) conducting forward
citation tracking of the included studies through
Google Scholar. The study selection was carried
out independently by two authors (JPN and JG) to
minimise potential selection bias.
Inclusion criteria
Studies were included in this review if they met the
following inclusion criteria: (1) published in English
or Portuguese; (2) the study design was a longitudinal
investigation comparing the effects of different intra-
session resistance EO on dynamic muscular strength
and/or hypertrophy (both site-specific and indirect
measures of hypertrophy were considered); (3) the
training protocols included at least two RT exercises
(i.e. the minimum number of exercises that could be
used to explore the effect of EO); and (4) the training
intervention lasted a minimum of six weeks. Direct or
site-specific measures of hypertrophy were con-
sidered to be magnetic resonance imaging, computed
tomography, B-mode ultrasound, and muscle biopsy.
Indirect measures of hypertrophy were considered to
be dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA), hydro-
static weighing, bioimpedance, air-displacement
plethysmography, and skinfolds.
Coding of studies
The following data were extracted from the included
studies and tabulated on a predefined Microsoft
Excel coding sheet (Microsoft Corporation.
Redmond, USA): (1) author(s) name(s), manuscript
title and year of publication; (2) descriptive infor-
mation of the sample including number of partici-
pants, sex, age, and training status; (3)
characteristics of the RT programme: duration,
weekly training frequency, number of sets, intensity
(i.e. repetition maximum), EO and exercise selec-
tion; (4) methods used for assessment of muscular
strength and hypertrophy; (5) mean and standard
deviation of pre- and post-training muscular strength
and hypertrophy values. When necessary, the corre-
sponding author of the study was contacted by the
2J.P. Nunes et al.
lead author (JPN) to request the required infor-
mation. Coding sheets were cross-checked between
authors (JPN and JG), while discussion and consen-
sus resolved any discrepancies. To assess potential
coder drift, we randomly reselected 30% of the
included studies for additional re-coding. The agree-
ment between authors (JPN and JG) was 100%.
Classification of training status and age
Resistance-trained individuals were defined herein as
having at least six months of RT experience (Rata-
mess et al., 2009). For age groups, participants
were stratified based on the following classification:
(1) 1839 years was considered as young, (2) 4060
years as middle-aged, (3) 60 years as older adults.
Methodological quality
We assessed the methodological quality of the
included studies using the Tool for the assEsment of
Study qualiTy and reporting in EXercise(TESTEX)
checklist (Smart et al., 2015). The items on this
checklist are explained in full detail elsewhere
(Smart et al., 2015). The checklist has two sections
that refer to study quality (items 15) and study
reporting (items 612). Each item on the TESTEX
checklist is answered with yesif the criteria are sat-
isfied or with a noif the criteria are not satisfied
(only the answer yesis associated with a point).
Items 6 and 8 have three and two questions, respect-
ively. The answer yesto each of these sub-ques-
tions is also associated with a point. Therefore, the
maximum number of possible points on the checklist
is 15. Based on the summary scores, we classified
studies as excellent quality(1215 points), good
quality(911 points), fair quality(68 points),
or poor quality(<6 points). Two authors (JPN
and JG) independently performed the quality assess-
ment, and any observed differences were resolved via
discussion and agreement.
Statistical analyses
The following meta-analytic comparisons for the
effects of EO on strength were explored: (a) the
overall increase in strength between the groups using
different EO while considering data from both MJ
and SJ exercises strength tests; (b) the effects of MJ-
to-SJ and SJ-to-MJ EOs on strength gains in MJ exer-
cises and in SJ exercises; and (c) the effects of training
specificity on strength when considering all exercises,
and on strength gains in machine-based vs. free-
weight exercises. For the first two comparisons, a posi-
tive effect indicated a benefit for MJ-to-SJ EO. For
training specificity, positive effects were considered
when the strength gain in the tested exercises favoured
the group that trained these exercises earlier in the RT
session (MJ exercises for groups that performed MJ-
to-SJ EO, and SJ exercises for groups that performed
SJ-to-MJ EO; and for the study from Saraiva et al.
(2014), upper-body exercises for the upper-body-to-
lower-body group, and lower-body exercises for the
lower-body-to-upper-body group). For the meta-ana-
lyses on muscle hypertrophy, we explored: (a) the
effects of EO on site-specific muscle hypertrophy
(assessed using B-mode ultrasound); (b) the effects
of EO on hypertrophy as assessed using indirect
measures (e.g. DXA, bioimpedance, air-displacement
plethysmography, and skinfolds); and (c) the effects of
EO on hypertrophy when considering both site-
specific and indirect measures. In both of the analyses
that included indirect measures, we conducted a sen-
sitivity analysis in which we excluded one study that
used skinfolds for the hypertrophy assessment. One
included study used both direct and indirect
methods of hypertrophy assessment (B-mode ultra-
sound and DXA; Avelar et al., 2019). Therefore, in
the analysis in which we combined direct and indirect
measures of hypertrophy, we conducted a sensitivity
analysis where we examined the pooled results after
using data reported for: (a) muscle thickness; and,
(b) lean body mass, from the Avelar et al. (2019) study.
In each analysis, the effect size (ES) was calculated
as the difference between post-test and pre-test
scores, divided by the pooled standard deviation,
with Hedgesgadjustment for small sample bias
(Borenstein, Hedges, Higgins, & Rothstein, 2009).
For studies with multiple outcomes, the mean of
the selected outcomes was used (assuming depen-
dence). Heterogeneity was explored using the I
2
stat-
istic, in which values <50% indicate low
heterogeneity, 5075% moderate heterogeneity and
>75% high level of heterogeneity. Funnel plot asym-
metry could not be explored given that less than 10
studies were included in the analyses. The random-
effects model was used in each meta-analysis. Meta-
analyses were performed using the Comprehensive
Meta-analysissoftware (version 3; BiostatInc. Eng-
lewood, USA). Effects were considered significant
at p< 0.05. Data are reported as HedgesgES and
95% confidence interval (CI).
Results
The search process is depicted in Figure 1. A total of
2327 search results were initially screened. After
excluding the studies based on title, abstract, or
full-text, a total of ten studies (Assumpção, Tibana,
Viana, Willardson, & Prestes, 2013; Avelar et al.,
What influence does resistance exercise order have on muscular strength gains and muscle hypertrophy? 3
2019; Cardozo et al., 2019; Dias, de Salles, Novaes,
Costa, & Simão, 2010; Fisher, Carlson, Steele, &
Smith, 2014; Nazari, Azarbayjani, & Azizbeigi,
2016; Saraiva et al., 2014; Simão et al., 2010;
Spineti et al., 2010,2014) were included. However,
one study was removed because it included duplicate
data (Spineti et al., 2014), and two additional studies
were included from the authors library (Pina et al.,
2013; Tomeleri et al., 2019). Therefore, the final
number of included studies amounted to 11
(Assumpção et al., 2013; Avelar et al., 2019;
Cardozo et al., 2019; Dias et al., 2010; Fisher et al.,
2014; Nazari et al., 2016; Pina et al., 2013; Saraiva
et al., 2014; Simão et al., 2010; Spineti et al., 2010;
Tomeleri et al., 2019)(Table I).
Characteristics of the included studies
The average duration of training interventions was 9
weeks (range: 612 weeks). A total of 268 subjects par-
ticipated in the studies (average of 12 participants per
group; range: 819). Three of the 11 studies employed
resistance-trained subjects (Assumpção et al., 2013;
Fisher et al., 2014;Pinaetal.,2013), and the rest
included untrained subjects (Avelar et al., 2019;
Cardozo et al., 2019;Diasetal.,2010;Nazarietal.,
2016; Saraiva et al., 2014; Simão et al., 2010;
Spineti et al., 2010; Tomeleri et al., 2019). The
study of Saraiva et al. (2014) was in Judo athletes,
who had some experience in RT but not enough to
qualify as resistance-trained. Three studies explored
the effects of EO in older adults (Cardozo et al.,
2019;Pinaetal.,2013; Tomeleri et al., 2019), one
in middle-aged adults (Fisher et al., 2014), and the
rest in young adults (Assumpção et al., 2013;Avelar
et al., 2019;Diasetal.,2010;Nazarietal.,2016;
Saraiva et al., 2014; Simão et al., 2010; Spineti et al.,
2010). Two studies had a sample of female subjects
(Nazari et al., 2016; Tomeleri et al., 2019), one
study had a mixed-sex sample (Fisher et al., 2014),
and the rest of the studies included only male subjects
(Assumpção et al., 2013; Avelar et al., 2019; Cardozo
et al., 2019;Diasetal.,2010; Pina et al., 2013; Saraiva
et al., 2014; Simão et al., 2010; Spineti et al., 2010).
The muscular strength assessment was obtained
through 1RM (Avelar et al., 2019; Dias et al., 2010;
Fisher et al., 2014; Nazari et al., 2016; Pina et al.,
2013; Simão et al., 2010; Spineti et al., 2010; Tome-
leri et al., 2019), 10RM tests (Cardozo et al., 2019;
Saraiva et al., 2014), or both (Assumpção et al.,
2013). Muscle hypertrophy was indirectly assessed
by DXA (Avelar et al., 2019; Tomeleri et al., 2019),
air displacement plethysmography (2014), bioimpe-
dance (Pina et al., 2013), and skinfolds (Cardozo
et al., 2019). The studies that performed direct
measurements used B-mode ultrasound (Avelar
et al., 2019; Simão et al., 2010; Spineti et al., 2010).
As previously noted, Avelar et al. (2019)used both
DXA and ultrasound to assess muscle hypertrophy,
whereas Simão et al. (2010) used muscle thickness
as a measure of the size of the muscles analyzed, and
Spineti et al. (2010) estimated muscle volume from
an equation that includes muscle thickness and some
anthropometric measures.
Quality assessment
Table II presents the results of the quality assess-
ment. The average score on the checklist was 12.
Eight studies were rated as being excellent methodo-
logical quality (Assumpção et al., 2013; Cardozo
et al., 2019; Dias et al., 2010; Nazari et al., 2016;
Pina et al., 2013; Simão et al., 2010; Spineti et al.,
2010; Tomeleri et al., 2019), and three studies were
rated as being of good quality (Avelar et al., 2019;
Fisher et al., 2014; Saraiva et al., 2014). None of
the included studies was classified as being of fair or
poor methodological quality.
Influence of EO on muscular strength
Eight studies (Assumpção et al., 2013; Cardozo et al.,
2019;Diasetal.,2010; Nazari et al., 2016; Saraiva
et al., 2014; Simão et al., 2010; Spineti et al., 2010;
Tomeleri et al., 2019) explored the influence of EO
on muscular strength. When comparing MJ-to-SJ vs.
SJ-to-MJ orders, the study by Saraiva et al. (2014)
was not included because it investigated EOs that
Figure 1. Flow diagram of the search process.
4J.P. Nunes et al.
started either with lower-body or upper-body exer-
cises. When all performed strength tests (MJ and SJ)
were considered, there was no difference between
the EOs (gES = 0.11; 95% CI: 0.32, 0.10; p=
0.306; I² = 67.5%). There was a difference between
the MJ-to-SJ and SJ-to-MJ orders for strength gains
in the MJ exercises, which favoured starting with MJ
exercises (gES = 0.32; 95% CI: 0.02, 0.62; p=
0.034; I² = 0%). In the same way, there was a
difference between MJ-to-SJ and SJ-to-MJ orders for
strength gains in the SJ exercises, which favoured start-
ing with SJ exercises (gES = 0.58; 95% CI: 1.11,
0.05; p=0.032; I² = 0%). Finally, a significant and
positive effect was found supporting the principle of
specificity when consider all exercises (gES = 0.45;
95% CI: 0.09, 0.81; p=0.014; I² = 37.4%; Figure
2A), and when considering only machine-based exer-
cises (gES= 0.45; 95% CI: 0.09, 0.81; p=0.015; I² =
Table I. Characteristics of the included studies on resistance exercise order
Studies
Sample
Duration RT programme Exercises and EO according to groupsCharacteristics n
Assumpção et al.
(2013)
Trained young men MJ-SJ = 8
SJ-MJ = 8
6 weeks A-B2x/wk, 3 sets
of 812RM
MJ-SJ
SJ-MJ
BP, IBP, PD, MTE, TELPD,
CLPD, SR, MBC, BC
MTE, TE,BP
, IBP, PD MBC,
BC, LPD, CLPD, SR
Avelar et al. (2019) Untrained young
men
MJ-SJ = 19
SJ-MJ = 17
6 weeks 3x/wk, 3 sets of
812RM
MJ-SJ
SJ-MJ
BP, LPD, UR, SP, TE, BC, LP, KE,
LC, CR
BC, TE, SP, UR, LPD, BP, CR,
LC, KE, LP
Cardozo et al.
(2019)
Untrained older
women
MJ-SJ = 15
SJ-MJ = 15
12 weeks 2x/wk, 3 sets of
810RM
(circuit
training)
MJ-SJ
SJ-MJ
LP, LPD, KE, PD, CR,TE
TE,CR
, PD, KE, LDP,LP
Dias et al. (2010) Untrained young
men
MJ-SJ = 16
SJ-MJ = 17
8 weeks 3x/wk, 3 sets of
812RM
MJ-SJ
SJ-MJ
BP, LPD,SP
,TE
,BC
BC,TE
,SP
, LPD,BP
Fisher et al. (2014) Trained middle-age
adults
MJ-SJ = 8
SJ-MJ = 17
12 weeks 2x/wk, 1 set of
812RM
MJ-SJ
SJ-MJ
BP, LP, LPD, PD, KE, PO, ABD, LU
PD, BP, KE, LP, PO, LPD, ABD,
LU
Nazari et al.
(2016)
Untrained young
women
MJ-SJ = 8
SJ-MJ = 8
6 weeks 3x/wk, 4 sets of
315RM
(linear
periodisation)
MJ-SJ
SJ-MJ
BP, LPD,TE
,BC
BC,TE
, LPD,BP
Pina et al. (2013) Trained older men MJ-SJ = 9
SJ-MJ = 9
7 weeks 3x/wk, 2 sets of
1015RM
MJ-SJ
SJ-MJ
BP, LPD, TE, BC, KE, LC, HAB,
HAD
BC, TE, LPD, BP, HAD, HAB,
LC, KE
Saraiva et al.
(2014)
Judo male athletes UB-LB =
13
LB-UB =
13
12 weeks 3x/wk, 3 sets of
1012RM
UB-
LB
LB-
UB
BP, LPD,SP
,BC
,SQ
,LP
,
KE,LC
SQ,LP
,KE
,LC
,BP
, LPD,
SP,BC
Simão et al. (2010) Untrained young
men
MJ-SJ = 9
SJ-MJ = 9
12 weeks 2x/wk, 24 sets of
315RM
(linear
periodisation)
MJ-SJ
SJ-MJ
BP, LPD,TE
,BC
BC,TE
, LPD,BP
Spineti et al.
(2010)
Untrained young
men
MJ-SJ = 11
SJ-MJ = 10
12 weeks 2x/wk, 24 sets of
315RM
(undulating
periodisation)
MJ-SJ
SJ-MJ
BP, LPD,TE
,BC
BC,TE
, LPD,BP
Tomeleri et al.
(2019)
Untrained older
women
MJ-SJ = 14
SJ-MJ = 15
12 weeks 3x/wk, 3 sets of
1015RM
MJ-SJ
SJ-MJ
BP, SR, TE, BC, LP, KE, LC, CR
BC, TE, SR, BP, CR, LC, KE,
LP
Notes: MJ-SJ: group that performed the exercises in a multi- (MJ) to single-joint (SJ) order. SJ-MJ: group that performed the exercises in a
single- to multiple-joint order. UB-LB: group that performed the exercises in an upper- (UB) to lower-body (LB) order. LB-UB: group that
performed the exercises in an upper- to lower-body order. RM: repetition maximum. ABD: abdominal flexion. BC: biceps curl. MBC:
machine biceps curl. BP: bench press. IBP: incline bench press. CR: calf raise. HAB: hip abduction. HAD: hip adduction. KE: knee
extension. LC: leg curl. LPD: lat-pulldown. CLPD: close-grip lat-pulldown. LP: leg press. LU: lumbar extension. PD: pecdeck. PO: lat-
pullover. SP: shoulder press. SQ: squat. SR: seated row. TE: triceps extension. MTE: machine triceps extension. UR: shoulder upright row.
exercise used for strength testing (if no asterisk is noted in any of the exercises, the study did not assess changes in muscular strength).
What influence does resistance exercise order have on muscular strength gains and muscle hypertrophy? 5
33.6%) or free-weight exercises (gES = 0.50; 95% CI:
0.02, 1.00; p=0.018; I² = 58.1%).
Influence of EO on muscle hypertrophy
Seven studies (Avelar et al., 2019; Cardozo et al.,
2019; Fisher et al., 2014; Pina et al., 2013; Simão
et al., 2010; Spineti et al., 2010; Tomeleri et al.,
2019) explored the influence of EO on muscle hyper-
trophy. No significant effect of EO was observed for
muscle growth when analyzed by either site-specific
measures (gES = 0.02; 95% CI: 0.45, 0.41; p=
0.937; I² = 0%) or indirect measures (gES = 0.06;
95% CI: 0.27, 0.39; p=0.734; I² = 0%). The com-
bined analysis of both site-specific and indirect
measures also indicated no significant difference
between EOs on muscle hypertrophy (gES = 0.03;
95% CI: 0.26, 0.31; p=0.862; I² = 0%; Figure
2B). The exclusion of one study that used skinfolds
for hypertrophy assessment did not impact the
results to a meaningful degree when considering
the analysis only for indirect measures (gES = 0.07;
95% CI: 0.32, 0.45; p=0.727; I² = 0%) or com-
bined site-specific and indirect measures (gES =
0.03; 95% CI: 0.30, 0.35; p=0.871; I² = 0%). In
the sensitivity analysis where we used either ES
data for muscle thickness or lean body mass from
the Avelar et al. study, the results remained consist-
ent with the use of average ESs (gES = 0.02; 95%
CI: 0.28, 0.32; p=0.898; I² = 0%, and gES =
0.04; 95% CI: 0.6, 0.33; p=0.810; I² = 0%,
respectively).
Table II. Quality assessment using the TESTEX checklist
Study 123456a6b6c78a8b9101112Total score
Assumpção et al. (2013)11010 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 12
Avelar et al. (2019) 11011 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 11
Cardozo et al. (2019) 11010 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 12
Dias et al. (2010) 11010 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 12
Fisher et al. (2014) 01011 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 10
Nazari et al. (2016) 11010 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 12
Pina et al. (2013) 11010 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 12
Saraiva et al. (2014) 01010 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 9
Simão et al. (2010) 11010 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 12
Spineti et al. (2010) 11010 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 12
Tomeleri et al. (2019) 11011 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 13
1 = criteria met; 0 = criteria not met.
Figure 2. (Panel A) Forest plot of studies on changes in muscular strength following resistance training (RT) with different exercise orders
(EO), analysing specificity-principle. Positive effects were considered when the strength gain in the tested exercise favoured the group that
trained this exercise first in the RT session (multi-joint (MJ) exercises for groups that performed MJ-to-single-joint (SJ) EO, SJ exercises
for groups that performed SJ-to-MJ EO; and for the study from Saraiva et al. (2014), upper-body (UB) exercises for the UB-to-lower-
body (LB) exercises group and LB exercises for the LB-to-UB group). The data shown are mean ± 95% confidence interval (CI). (Panel
B) Forest plot of studies comparing muscle hypertrophy following RT performed in SJ-to-MJ EO versus MJ-to-SJ EO. The data shown
are mean ± 95% CI. ES = effect size.
6J.P. Nunes et al.
Discussion
This is the first systematic review coupled with a
meta-analysis to compare the influence of EOs on
muscular strength and hypertrophy. Our main
finding is that EO influences strength gains as it
seems that strength gains are the greatest in the exer-
cises that are performed at the beginning of the exer-
cise session. However, no significant difference
between EOs was found for muscle hypertrophy.
The included studies were classified as being excel-
lent to good methodological quality, which therefore
strengthens confidence in these conclusions.
Regarding muscular strength, our findings confirm
previous reports that increases in strength follow the
Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands(SAID)
principle (Mattocks et al., 2017;Nunes,Ribeiro,
Schoenfeld, & Cyrino, 2018). We observed that EO
affected strength gains when considering the effects
of MJ-to-SJ and SJ-to-MJ exercise sequences on
strength gains in MJ and SJ exercises. In both cases,
the increase in strength was greater in the exercises
that were performed at the beginning of the exercise
session. Placing a given exercise first in an exercise
session allows the use of higher external loads in that
exercise. The use of higher loads ultimately seems to
transfer to greater strength gains in exercises that are
performed first. These findings support the previously
proposed hypothesis (Simão et al., 2012)thatEO
should be prioritised based on the desired goal of the
individual. The specificity principle for EO may have
high practical importance for individuals who aspire
to develop maximum strength, especially powerlifters
and weightlifters. When the training goal is to optimise
strength development in a given exercise, our findings
indicate that this exercise should be performed at the
beginning of the training session.
The effect of fatigue (local and/or non-local (Hal-
perin, Chapman, & Behm, 2015)) on acute exercise
performance is an important factor that also seems
to explain the influence of EO on strength gains.
Fatigue induced by an exercise performed first in a
given sequence tends to negatively affect perform-
ance in the ensuing exercises. Local muscular
fatigue induced by the first exercise may decrease per-
formance in subsequent exercises that activate the
same muscle group (Halperin et al., 2015; Simão
et al., 2012). This finding was observed in several
acute studies; for example, chest press performance
is negatively affected by a prior performance of the
triceps pulley exercise, and vice-versa (Miranda, Fig-
ueiredo, Rodrigues, Paz, & Simão, 2013; Ribeiro
et al., 2014; Simão, Farinatti, Polito, Maior, &
Fleck, 2005). Non-local muscular fatigue is related
to crossover fatigue from one exercised muscle
group to another, non-exercised muscle group (e.g.
the performance of upper-body exercise is hindered
when it is preceded with a lower-body exercise) (Hal-
perin et al., 2015). This may explain the results from
Saraiva et al. (2014), in which the group that per-
formed upper-body exercises first in the training ses-
sions gained more strength in upper-body exercises,
while the group that performed lower-body exercises
first gained more strength in lower-body exercises.
These data further highlight the importance of train-
ing specificity for strength gains.
An important caveat of the findings presented
herein is that all of the included studies explored
the effects of EO on RM-strength tests (i.e. tests
that are specific to the training programme used).
Future investigations should seek to employ strength
tests with other non-specificmethods (e.g. isoki-
netic, isometric strength tests) to explore whether
EO influences overall muscular strength when
assessed using a non-specific strength test (Buckner
et al., 2017). If EO does not impact strength gains
in other (non-specific) strength tests, this may allow
greater flexibility for EO during RT sessions depend-
ing on individual goals.
Our findings indicate that similar muscle hypertro-
phy can be attained regardless of EO. Nonetheless,
the relatively low number of studies on the topic high-
lights a need for future research in this area. Still,
several important practical implications can be
inferred based on current evidence. It would appear
that different EOs (MJ-to-SJ or SJ-to-MJ) induce
similar effects on site-specific muscle hypertrophy.
However, one important limitation needs to be dis-
cussed here. In the studies that used B-mode ultra-
sound to assess changes in muscle size, the
measured sites were not the main targeted muscles
in the exercises investigated under different EO.
That is, muscle thickness measurements were
obtained from muscles that were primary agonists
only in SJ exercise, but synergists in MJ exercises.
For example, studies that explored the effects of EO
on biceps brachii hypertrophy used a biceps curl SJ
exercise and the lat-pull down MJ exercise (Avelar
et al., 2019; Simão et al., 2010; Spineti et al.,
2010). This can be problematic given that the
biceps brachii is the agonist in the biceps curl exercise
whereas, for the lat-pulldown, biceps brachii acts as a
synergist. The results of these three studies (Avelar
et al., 2019; Simão et al., 2010; Spineti et al., 2010)
may only indicate that the performance of an MJ
exercise (in which the measured muscle acts as a
synergist) before the SJ exercise (where the muscle
is worked as an agonist), does not affect the hyper-
trophic response. Only Avelar et al. (2019) investi-
gated the effect of exercises performed in a different
EO (starting with MJ or SJ exercises) for the same
target muscle, in the lower-body. According to the
What influence does resistance exercise order have on muscular strength gains and muscle hypertrophy? 7
results of this study, which lasted six weeks, EO also
appeared to have minimal effects on overall increases
in muscle size. In this study, performing the leg press
(MJ) or knee extension (SJ) first in the exercise
session resulted in similar effects on mid-thigh quad-
riceps femoris hypertrophy (Avelar et al., 2019).
Similar effects of EO were also observed when con-
sidering indirect measures of muscle hypertrophy, as
shown in Figure 2B (Avelar et al., 2019; Cardozo
et al., 2019; Fisher et al., 2014; Pina et al., 2013;
Tomeleri et al., 2019). These indirect methods
included DXA (Avelar et al., 2019; Tomeleri et al.,
2019), air displacement plethysmography (Fisher
et al., 2014), bioimpedance (Pina et al., 2013), and
skinfolds (Cardozo et al., 2019). Potential differences
between groups might have been diluted because
these methods have a limited capability of assessing
subtle changes in muscle hypertrophy (Haun et al.,
2019), which needs to be mentioned as a potential
limitation of the presented findings.
Some authors have suggested that the MJ-to-SJ
order may be superior for producing greater overall
increases in muscle mass (as compared to SJ-to-MJ
order) because it allows accumulation of a greater
training volume (i.e. repetitions and/or volume-
load) especially in the MJ exercises that activate
more muscle groups (Ratamess et al., 2009; Sforzo
& Touey, 1996). While this approach may have cre-
dence on a general level, a different approach may
be warranted when the goal is to focus on hyper-
trophic development of a specific muscle group
(e.g. pectoralis major). In this case, others have
speculated that it is better to perform isolated SJ exer-
cises (e.g. pecdeck) prior to the MJ exercises (e.g.
chest press) in the exercise session as a means to
provide greater stimulation for this specific muscle
group (Ribeiro, Nunes, Cunha, Aguiar, & Schoen-
feld, 2019). While our results suggest that similar
increases in muscle size are achieved regardless of
EO, future studies are needed to provide additional
insight into these nuanced aspects. Future studies
should endeavour to investigate the effect of different
EO with exercises for the same target muscles [e.g.
pecdeck (SJ) and chest press (MJ), for pectoralis
major] using site-specific measurement techniques,
and compare the hypertrophic changes of muscles
that act as agonists in both MJ and SJ exercise as
opposed to just the synergists (Ribeiro et al., 2019;
Ribeiro, Schoenfeld, & Nunes, 2017).
It is important to clarify the methodological quality
of the included studies, which were classified as being
of excellent to good quality. Indeed, most of the key
items on the TESTEX checklist (Smart et al.,
2015) were satisfied by the majority of the included
studies. That said, some limitations warrant
mention. Of the 11 included studies, three did not
report data on training adherence. Given that differ-
ences in training adherence between the groups
may have a profound impact on the overall results
of a given study, future research should ensure that
training adherence is reported for both groups.
Additionally, in three studies, it was unclear if the
training programmes were supervised. Training
supervision has been shown to impact gains in mus-
cular strength, with greater gains observed in super-
vised vs. unsupervised training programmes
(Mazzetti et al., 2000). This information needs to
be clearly reported in future studies.
Conclusions
The results of this review indicate that EO influences
gains in muscular strength. Increases in strength are
greatest in exercises that are performed at the begin-
ning of a training session. Therefore, to optimise
strength gain in a given exercise, that exercise
should be performed at the beginning of the training
session. For muscle hypertrophy, similar results
appear to be achieved regardless of EO.
Disclosure statement
No potential conflict of interest was reported by the author(s).
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What influence does resistance exercise order have on muscular strength gains and muscle hypertrophy? 9
... Subsequently, 25 duplicate records were removed, and 13 meta-analyses were excluded based on their titles and/or abstracts. Nineteen metaanalyses were read in more detail (i.e., full-text) and 14 metaanalyses were included in the umbrella review (Roig et al., 2009;Krieger, 2010;Schoenfeld et al., 2015Schoenfeld et al., , 2016aSchoenfeld et al., , 2017aSchoenfeld et al., ,b,c, 2019aSlysz et al., 2016;Grgic et al., 2017Grgic et al., , 2019Lixandrão et al., 2018;Grgic, 2020;Nunes et al., 2020). ...
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International Journal of Exercise Science 15(4): X-Y, 2022. The regular practice of resistance training (RT) has been shown to induce relevant increases in both muscle strength and size. In order to maximize these adaptations, the proper manipulation of RT variables is warranted. In this sense, the aim of the present study was to review the available literature that has examined the application of the acute training variables and their influence on strength and morphological adaptations of healthy young adults. The information presented in this study may represent a relevant approach to proper training design. Therefore, strength and conditioning coaches may acquire a fundamental understanding of RT-variables and the relevance of their practical application within exercise prescription.
... In this study, we investigated the influence of muscular strength exercise practiced prophylactically on oxidative stress and histological parameters and memory deficits caused by acute neuroinflammation in the hippocampus of rats. There is evidence that the practice of physical exercise increases muscle strength, promotes cardiorespiratory adaptations [33][34][35], influences the resolution of oxidative stress [35] and inflammatory processes [36], and presents beneficial effects on memory consolidation and retention [37]. ...
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Background The preventive role of muscular strength on diminishing neuroinflammation is yet unknown. In this study, the role of the prophylactic muscular strength exercise was investigated in order to verify whether it would diminish cognitive alterations and modify the antioxidant intracellular scenery in an animal neuroinflammatory model in of the CA1 region of the hippocampus. Methods The animals received muscular strength training (SE) three times a week for eight weeks. Subsequently, the stereotaxic surgery was performed with an intra-hippocampal infusion of either saline solution (SAL) or lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Next, we performed the behavioral tests: object recognition and social recognition. Then, the animals were euthanized, and their hippocampus and prefrontal cortex were collected. In another moment, we performed the dosage of the antioxidant activity and histological analysis. Results The results showed that the muscular strength exercises could show a beneficial prophylactic effect in the cognitive deficiencies caused by acute neuroinflammation. Regarding oxidative stress, there was an increase in catalase enzyme activity (CAT) in the group (SE + LPS) compared to the control groups (p < 0.05). As for the cognitive alterations, there were found in the (SE + LPS) group, diminishing the mnemonic hazard of the discriminative and social memories compared to the control groups (p < 0.05). Conclusion We concluded, therefore, that the exercise performed prophylactically presents a protective effect capable of minimizing such mnemonic deficits and increasing catalase enzyme activity in rats that suffered a local neuroinflammatory process in the hippocampus.
... The management of resistance training variables for adaptations is well established within academic literature. Empirical studies and subsequent systematic reviews and/or meta-analyses have considered manipulation of load [1], repetition duration [2], weekly volume [3], frequency [4], exercise order [5], and range of motion [6], among other variables, in an attempt to optimise exerciseinduced adaptations. However, in none of these reviews was training supervision (SUP) discussed as a potentially confounding variable. ...
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Background: Since many people choose to perform resistance training unsupervised, and a lack of supervision within strength training is reported to result in inadequate workout quality, we aimed to compare outcomes for resistance training with and without supervision. Methods: A systematic review and meta-analysis were performed for performance/functional outcomes and/or body composition measurements. Results: 12 studies were included in the review; 301 and 276 participants were in supervised and unsupervised groups, respectively. The main model for all performance/function effects revealed a small, standardised point estimate favouring SUP (0.28 [95%CI = 0.02 to 0.55]). For sub-grouped outcome types, there was very poor precision of robust estimates for speed, power, function, and endurance. However, for strength there was a moderate effect favouring SUP (0.40 [95%CI = 0.06 to 0.74]). The main model for all body composition effects revealed a trivial standardised point estimate favouring SUP (0.07 [95%CI = -0.01 to 0.15]). Conclusions: Supervised resistance training, compared to unsupervised training, might produce a small effect on increases in performance/function, most likely in strength, but has little impact on body composition outcomes.
... Background studies provide evidence related to the number of repetitions, planning of training cycles, sequencing of the series, treatment of rest and the magnitude of the load (Scott et al., 2016;Simão et al., 2012). Therefore, the regulation and optimal treatment of the load/stimulus with which one works in the development of strength is a key point (Grgic et al., 2018;Nunes et al., 2020;Schoenfeld et al., 2017). The analysis and study of the variability in loads or training stimuli is essential since it is modified according to the objective of the training and adapted to the circumstances (Schoenfeld et al., 2017). ...
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Background: In line with the recommendations for sustainable development, SDG 3 highlights the importance of working on health and well-being. In this respect, strength training has proven to be highly effective. Improved physical performance in most sports is associated with increased maximum dynamic strength. The existing literature on strength training methods is extensive, varied and has a certain tradition in the scientific field. Therefore, the regulation and optimal treatment of the load/stimulus with which one works in the development of strength is a key point. The analysis and study of the variability in loads or training stimuli is essential since it is modified according to the objective of the training and adapted to the circumstances. The aim of this study was to compare the differences measured in average and maximum strength, rate of force development (RFD) and the perception of effort (RPE) between two training methods (constant resistance (CR) vs. intra-repetition variable resistance (IRVR) in a bench press. Methods: Due to the methodological difficulties involved in generating an IRVR, fifteen men executed different percentages of one maximum repetition (40%, 60%, 80% and 100%) with CR and IRVR. The percentage to graduate the selected load was 20% of variable resistance. An intra-subject design was used to compare the acute differences between intra-repetition variable resistance and constant resistance. Results: The results showed significant differences in IRVR for maximum force at 1RM (p = 0.001). A significant decrease in RPE with IRVR was documented for all percentages evaluated (p = 0.011). Less accumulated load during execution with IRVR in the first phases of the range of motion (ROM), provides a greater acceleration of the external load, consequently, in the last phase of the concentric extension a faster speed is produced compared to the traditional method with CR (p = 0.036). Conclusion: IRVR method requires a lower load accumulated in the first phase of the ROM allows more acceleration of the external load and therefore overcome the sticking point with a higher velocity. The constant adaptations in the pattern of strength production during the ROM cause the muscles to stay closer to their best "length-tension" ratio in the concentric phase; therefore, they can generate higher levels of strength. In addition, the results obtained show that the IRVR method requires less perceived effort. For all these reasons, it should be considered an effective method for developing maximum dynamic force, mainly for sub-maximum and maximum loads.
... Exercise cadence was set at 2 s for the concentric, 2 s for the eccentric and was tracked with a metronome. After performing the LE, participants in both groups were given 60 s of rest before beginning LP [22,23]. ...
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Purpose: Low-intensity resistance exercise with moderate blood-flow restriction (LIRE-BFR) is a new trending form of exercises worldwide. The purpose of this study was to compare the acute effect of a single bout of traditional resistance exercise (TRE) and LIRE-BFR on arterial stiffness in older people with slow gait speeds. Methods: This was a randomized, controlled clinical study. Seventeen older adults (3 men; 14 women; 82 ± 5 years old) completed a session of TRE (n = 7) or LIRE-BFR (n = 10). At baseline and after 60 min post-exercise, participants were subject to blood pressure measurement, heart rate measurements and a determination of arterial stiffness parameters. Results: There was no significant difference between the TRE and LIRE-BFR group at baseline. Pulse-wave velocity increased in both groups (p < 0.05) post-exercise with no between-group differences. Both exercise modalities did not produce any adverse events. The increase in systolic blood pressure, pulse pressure, augmentation pressure and pulse wave velocity (all p > 0.05) were similar after both TRE and LIRE-BFR. Conclusion: TRE and LIRE-BFR had similar responses regarding hemodynamic parameters and pulse-wave velocity in older people with slow gait speed. Long-term studies should assess the cardiovascular risk and safety of LIRE-BFR training in this population.
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International Journal of Exercise Science 15(2): 760-770, 2022. The present study aimed to compare the exercise order of an acute bout of resistance exercise (RT) on acute thyroid hormonal responses. Eight (n = 8) healthy men were randomly separated into two experimental groups: A) the order from multi-to single-joint exercises (MJ-SJ) and B) the order from single-to multijoint exercises (SJ-MJ). For all exercises in both orders, the subjects were submitted to 3 sets of 10 repetitions, with rest intervals of 2 minutes between sets and 3 minutes between exercises. Blood samples were collected at rest and 0, 15, 30, 60 and 120 min after the end of the exercise session. In thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), differences between groups (MJ-SJ < SJ-MJ) were observed within 15 minutes after the session. In 3,5,3'-triiodothyronine (T3), differences between groups were observed between 30 (MJ-SJ > SJ-MJ) and 120 minutes (MJ-SJ < SJ-MJ) after the session. In 3,5,3',5'-tetraiodothyronine (T4), differences between groups (MJ-SJ > SJ-MJ) were observed within 15 minutes after the RT session. The order of RT exercises significantly changes the hormonal responses of TSH, T3 and T4. In addition, the exercise order should be chosen according to the individual's objectives.
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The aim of this study was to compare the acute effects of four resistance-training (RT) exercise orders on rate of perceived exertion (RPE) and RT variables with exercise load properly adjusted according to its position within the sequence in older women. That is, the load was adjusted so that it was possible that the sets were performed within the repetition-zone established. Fifteen trained older women (67.4 ± 5.3 years) participated in a crossover-design, combining single-joint (SJ) and multi-joint (MJ) exercises for upper-(UB) and lower-body (LB) in the following exercise orders: SEQA = UBMJ-UBSJ-LBMJ-LBMJ; SEQB = UBSJ-UBMJ-LBSJ-LBMJ; SEQC = LBMJ-LBSJ-UBMJ-UBSJ; SEQD = LBSJ-LBMJ-UBSJ-UBMJ. Each session was comprised of eight exercises with 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions. RPE was analyzed by a sequence (4) x sets (3) two-way ANOVA. Repetitions, time under tension, load, volume-load, and the average RPE of the session were analyzed by one-way ANOVA comparing the four sequences. No significant difference was identified between conditions for total repetitions, time under tension, training load, and volume-load. Lower average RPE of the session was obtained when LB exercises were performed earlier (SEQA: 7.2 ± 1.2, SEQB: 7.1 ± 1.0, SEQC: 6.7 ± 0.9, SEQD: 6.3 ± 1.1). We conclude that when lower body exercises are performed first in a training session, a lower RPE is noted throughout all the session.
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International Journal of Exercise Science 12(4): 657-665, 2019. The purpose of this study was to analyze the effect of different orders of exercises in circuit training on strength and functional fitness in older women over a 12-week period. After 10 repetition maximum (10-RM) and functional fitness baseline testing, thirty older women were randomly assigned into two groups. The exercise order for Group 1 was leg press, wide-grip lat pulldown, knee extension, pec deck fly, plantar flexion and triceps extension; Group 2 performed the same exercises, but in the opposite order: triceps extension, plantar flexion, pec deck fly, knee extension, wide-grip lat pulldown and leg press. Both groups performed the circuit three times with a load that permitted 8 to 10 repetitions per exercise set. Both groups exhibited gains in 10-RM strength and functional fitness test performance (p ≤ 0.05). In Comparing groups, the G1 presented greater strength gains for the wide-grip lat pulldown, while G2 showed higher values for the plantar flexion and triceps extension exercises (p ≤ 0.05). Both circuit exercise orders were effective and could be applied to promote strength and functional fitness gains. However, based on the results for the wide-grip lat pulldown, plantar flexion and triceps extension, it seems that exercise order should be considered when specific muscle weaknesses are a priority, so that these muscles are trained first within a circuit.
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Skeletal muscle is highly adaptable and has consistently been shown to morphologically respond to exercise training. Skeletal muscle growth during periods of resistance training has traditionally been referred to as skeletal muscle hypertrophy, and this manifests as increases in muscle mass, muscle thickness, muscle area, muscle volume, and muscle fiber cross-sectional area (fCSA). Delicate electron microscopy and biochemical techniques have also been used to demonstrate that resistance exercise promotes ultrastructural adaptations within muscle fibers. Decades of research in this area of exercise physiology have promulgated a widespread hypothetical model of training-induced skeletal muscle hypertrophy; specifically, fCSA increases are accompanied by proportional increases in myofibrillar protein, leading to an expansion in the number of sarcomeres in parallel and/or an increase in myofibril number. However, there is ample evidence to suggest that myofibrillar protein concentration may be diluted through sarcoplasmic expansion as fCSA increases occur. Furthermore, and perhaps more problematic, are numerous investigations reporting that pre-to-post training change scores in macroscopic, microscopic, and molecular variables supporting this model are often poorly associated with one another. The current review first provides a brief description of skeletal muscle composition and structure. We then provide a historical overview of muscle hypertrophy assessment. Next, current-day methods commonly used to assess skeletal muscle hypertrophy at the biochemical, ultramicroscopic, microscopic, macroscopic, and whole-body levels in response to training are examined. Data from our laboratory, and others, demonstrating correlations (or the lack thereof) between these variables are also presented, and reasons for comparative discrepancies are discussed with particular attention directed to studies reporting ultrastructural and muscle protein concentration alterations. Finally, we critically evaluate the biological construct of skeletal muscle hypertrophy, propose potential operational definitions, and provide suggestions for consideration in hopes of guiding future research in this area.
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The purpose of the present study was to analyze the effects of resistance-training (RT) exercise order on muscle strength, hypertrophy, and anabolic hormones in older women. Forty-four older women were randomly assigned to one of three groups: a non-exercise control group (CON, n=15) and two RT groups that performed a 12-weeks RT program in a multi-joint to single-joint order (MJ-SJ, n=14), or in a single-joint to multi-joint order (SJ-MJ, n=15). The RT protocol (3x/week) encompassed eight exercises, with three sets of 10-15 repetitions performed per exercise. 1RM tests were used to evaluate muscle strength; DXA was used to estimate lean soft tissue. Both training groups showed significant and similar increases in muscle strength (MJ-SJ=16.4%; SJ-MJ=12.7%) and mass (MJ-SJ=7.5%; SJ-MJ=6.1%), whereas there were no significant changes in testosterone and IGF-1. The results suggest that both approaches are similarly effective in eliciting morphofunctional improvements in older women.
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The purpose of the present study was to analyze the effects of the order of resistance training (RT) exercises on hypertrophy in young adult men. Thirty-six young adult men (21.9 ± 2.5 years, 72.6 ± 12.1 kg, 176.9 ± 7.4 cm, 23.1 ± 3.3 kg/m²) were randomly assigned to one of two training groups that performed a 6-week RT program in either a traditional approach starting with multi-joint exercises (MJ) following to single-joint exercises (SJ) order (MJ-SJ, n = 19) or an inverse order (SJ-MJ, n = 17). Muscle thickness of the biceps brachii and mid-thigh were assessed by ultrasound. Lean soft tissue (LST) was assessed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Both groups similarly increased (P < 0.05) biceps brachii thickness (MJ-SJ = +14.2%, SJ-MJ = +13.8%). Alternatively, only the MJ-SJ group presented an increase in mid-thigh thickness from pre- to post-training (MJ-SJ = +7.2%, SJ-MJ = +3.9%). Upper limbs LST (MJ-SJ = +5.2%, SJ-MJ = +7.5%) was statistically similar between conditions, and a trend for significance (P = 0.07) was found for trunk LST (MJ-SJ = +7.2%, SJ-MJ = +1.7%). Non-significant pre- to post-training changes were observed for lower limb LST (MJ-SJ = +0.7%, SJ-MJ = +1.8%). Our data suggest that both sequences are effective for increasing muscle hypertrophy over a short-term RT period; there may be a potentially beneficial hypertrophic effect for the mid-thigh to performing exercises in a manner that progresses from MJ to SJ exercises.
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The pre-exhaustion (PE) system in resistance training is largely used by athletes and practitioners with the goal of enhancing muscular adaptations. PE consists of performing a single-joint exercise prior to a multiple-joint exercise in an effort to increase the overload (muscle activation and/or training volume) in a given muscle. Different PE approaches have been investigated in research; this review discusses the relevant literature regarding the efficacy of PE for potentiating overload and muscle hypertrophy. In general, PE does not alter the neuromuscular activity of the target muscle in multi-joint exercise, but it does allow for a greater training volume.
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Are the additional strength gain observed in periodized vs non-periodized resistance training due to the principle of variation or to the specificity of training?