European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 117, Issue 2, pp 359–369

Crescent pyramid and drop-set systems do not promote greater strength gains, muscle hypertrophy, and changes on muscle architecture compared with traditional resistance training in well-trained men

  • Vitor Angleri
  • Carlos Ugrinowitsch
  • Cleiton Augusto Libardi
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00421-016-3529-1

Cite this article as:
Angleri, V., Ugrinowitsch, C. & Libardi, C.A. Eur J Appl Physiol (2017) 117: 359. doi:10.1007/s00421-016-3529-1

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this study was to compare the effects of crescent pyramid (CP) and drop-set (DS) systems with traditional resistance training (TRAD) with equalized total training volume (TTV) on maximum dynamic strength (1-RM), muscle cross-sectional area (CSA), pennation angle (PA), and fascicle length (FL).

Methods

Thirty-two volunteers had their legs randomized in a within-subject design in TRAD (3–5 sets of 6–12 repetitions at 75% 1-RM), CP (3–5 sets of 6–15 repetitions at 65–85% 1-RM), and DS (3–5 sets of ~50–75% 1-RM to muscle failure) protocols. Each leg was trained for 12 weeks. Participants had one leg fixed in the TRAD while the contralateral leg performed either CP or DS to allow for TTV equalization.

Results

The CSA increased significantly and similarly for all protocols (TRAD: 7.6%; CP: 7.5%; DS: 7.8%). All protocols showed significant and similar increases in leg press (TRAD = 25.9%; CP = 25.9%; DS = 24.9%) and leg extension 1-RM loads (TRAD = 16.6%; CP = 16.4%; DS = 17.1%). All protocols increased PA (TRAD = 10.6%; CP = 11.0%; DS = 10.3%) and FL (TRAD = 8.9%; CP = 8.9%; DS = 9.1%) similarly.

Conclusion

CP and DS systems do not promote greater gains in strength, muscle hypertrophy and changes in muscle architecture compared to traditional resistance training.

Keywords

Resistance training Total training volume Muscle cross-sectional area Muscle strength Pennation angle Fascicle length 

Abbreviations

1-RM

One-repetition maximum

CP

Crescent pyramid

CSA

Muscle cross-sectional area

DS

Drop-set

FL

Fascicle length

PA

Pennation angle

PI

Principal investigator

RT

Resistance training

TRAD

Traditional resistance training

TTV

Total training volume

US

Ultrasound

VL

Vastus lateralis

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vitor Angleri
    • 1
  • Carlos Ugrinowitsch
    • 2
  • Cleiton Augusto Libardi
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Neuromuscular Adaptations to Resistance Training, Department of Physical EducationFederal University of São Carlos-UFSCarSão CarlosBrazil
  2. 2.School of Physical Education and SportUniversity of São Paulo-USPSão PauloBrazil