Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
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©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine ( 2016 ) 15 , 715 - 722

Research article
Differential Effects of Heavy Versus Moderate Loads on Measures of Strength and Hypertrophy in Resistance-Trained Men
Brad J. Schoenfeld1, , Bret Contreras2, Andrew D. Vigotsky3, Mark Peterson4
Author Information
1 Department of Health Sciences, CUNY Lehman College, Bronx, NY, USA
2 Sport Performance Research Institute, AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand
3 Kinesiology Program, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ, USA
4 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Brad J. Schoenfeld
‚úČ Department of Health Sciences, CUNY Lehman College, Bronx, NY, USA
Email: brad@workout911.com
Publish Date
Received: 25-06-2016
Accepted: 17-11-2016
Published (online): 01-12-2016
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ABSTRACT

The purpose of the present study was to evaluate muscular adaptations between heavy- and moderate-load resistance training (RT) with all other variables controlled between conditions. Nineteen resistance-trained men were randomly assigned to either a strength-type RT routine (HEAVY) that trained in a loading range of 2-4 repetitions per set (n = 10) or a hypertrophy-type RT routine (MODERATE) that trained in a loading range of 8-12 repetitions per set (n = 9). Training was carried out 3 days a week for 8 weeks. Both groups performed 3 sets of 7 exercises for the major muscle groups of the upper and lower body. Subjects were tested pre- and post-study for: 1 repetition maximum (RM) strength in the bench press and squat, upper body muscle endurance, and muscle thickness of the elbow flexors, elbow extensors, and lateral thigh. Results showed statistically greater increases in 1RM squat strength favoring HEAVY compared to MODERATE. Alternatively, statistically greater increases in lateral thigh muscle thickness were noted for MODERATE versus HEAVY. These findings indicate that heavy load training is superior for maximal strength goals while moderate load training is more suited to hypertrophy-related goals when an equal number of sets are performed between conditions.

Key words: Loading strategies, heavy loads, repetition range, skeletal muscle hypertrophy, muscular adaptations


           Key Points
  • Heavy loads maximize muscular strength when the numbers of sets are equated.
  • Moderate loads maximize muscle hypertrophy when the number of sets are equated
  • Volume load appears to be more important to increases in muscle hypertrophy compared to absolute strength
 
 
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