European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 111, Issue 6, pp 1063–1071 | Cite as

Progression of volume load and muscular adaptation during resistance exercise

  • Mark D. Peterson
  • Emidio Pistilli
  • G. Gregory Haff
  • Eric P. Hoffman
  • Paul M. GordonEmail author
Original Article


Volume load (VL) is suggested to influence the adaptation of muscle to resistance exercise (RE). We sought to examine the independent association between total VL and hypertrophy and strength following a progressive RE protocol of equated sets and intensity. Total VL was calculated in 83 subjects (n = 43 males, n = 40 females; age = 25.12 ± 5.5 years) who participated in unilateral arm RE for 12 weeks. Subjects were tested for biceps muscle volume (MRI of the upper arm), isometric maximal voluntary contraction (MVC), and dynamic biceps strength (1RM), at baseline and following RE. Linear regression analysis revealed that sex was a significant predictor of hypertrophy (β = 0.06; p = 0.01) and strength (β = 0.14; p = 0.04), and that males had greater increases. Total VL was independently associated with hypertrophy only among females (β = 0.12; p < 0.01). For males, only baseline strength was (inversely) related to hypertrophy (β = −0.12; p = 0.04). VL was strongly associated with changes in 1RM strength improvement for both males (β = 0.66; p < 0.01) and females (β = 0.26; p = 0.02), but only related to MVC among females (β = 0.20; p = 0.02). Findings reveal that VL was independently associated with hypertrophy only among females. For males baseline strength was independently and inversely related to changes in muscle mass. Conversely, VL was found to be strongly associated with changes in 1RM for both males and females, controlling for age, body mass, and baseline strength.


Strength training Volume load FAMuSS Muscle mass Periodization 



We acknowledge Ms. Pheobe Stapleton and Mr. Mathew Kampert for their assistance with this investigation. This research was supported by the NIH, NICHD, NCMRR Grant #5-T32-HD007422. No financial disclosures were reported by the authors of this paper. The results of the present study do not constitute endorsement by ACSM.

Supplementary material

421_2010_1735_MOESM1_ESM.doc (26 kb)
Percent change in muscle hypertrophy among males stratified by median baseline strength capacity, into low (n = 17) and high (n = 19) strength groups (DOC 26 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark D. Peterson
    • 1
  • Emidio Pistilli
    • 2
  • G. Gregory Haff
    • 3
  • Eric P. Hoffman
    • 4
  • Paul M. Gordon
    • 1
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Laboratory for Physical Activity and Exercise Intervention ResearchUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Muscle InstituteUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Human PerformanceWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA
  4. 4.Research Center for GeneticsChildren’s National Medical CenterWashingtonUSA
  5. 5.Department of Physical Medicine and RehabilitationUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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