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Comparison of the recovery response from high-intensity and high-volume resistance exercise in trained men



The purpose of this study was to compare the physiological responses of a high-volume (HV; 8 sets of 10 repetitions) versus high-intensity (HI; 8 sets of 3 repetitions) exercise protocol in resistance-trained men.


Twelve men (24.5 ± 4.2 years; 82.3 ± 8.4 kg; 175.2 ± 5.5 cm) with 6.3 ± 3.4 years of resistance training experience performed each protocol in a counterbalanced, randomized order. Performance [counter movement jump peak power (CMJP), isokinetic (ISOK) and isometric leg extension (MVIC), isometric mid-thigh pull (IMTP), and isometric squat (ISQ)] and muscle morphological [cross-sectional area (CSA) of vastus lateralis] assessments were performed at baseline (BL), 30-min (P-30 min), 24-h (P-24 h), 48-h (P-48 h), and 72-h (P-72 h) post-exercise for each testing session. In addition, endocrine (testosterone and cortisol), inflammatory [interleukin-6 (IL-6) and C-reactive protein (CRP)], and markers of muscle damage [creatine kinase (CK), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), and myoglobin (Mb)] were assessed at the same time points.


Significantly greater reductions in CMJP (p < 0.001), and peak torque during both ISOK (p = 0.003) and MVIC (p = 0.008) at P-30 min were detected in HV compared to HI protocol. MVIC was still impaired at P-72 h following the HV protocol, while no differences were noted following HI. Markers of muscle damage (LDH, CK, and Mb) were significantly elevated following both HV and HI (p < 0.05), while cortisol and IL-6 concentrations were significantly elevated at P-30 min following HV only (p < 0.001 and p < 0.05, respectively).


Results indicate that high-volume resistance exercise results in greater performance deficits, and a greater extent of muscle damage, than a bout of high-intensity resistance exercise.

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High volume


High intensity


One-repetition maximum


Counter movement jump peak power


Maximum voluntary isometric contraction


Isometric mid-thigh pull


Isokinetic leg extension at 60°/s


Isokinetic leg extension at 180°/s


Isometric squat


Peak rate of force development


Vastus lateralis


Muscle thickness


Cross-sectional area


Echo intensity




Lactate dehydrogenase


Creatine kinase


C-reactive protein




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Correspondence to Sandro Bartolomei.

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Communicated by Nicolas Place.

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Bartolomei, S., Sadres, E., Church, D.D. et al. Comparison of the recovery response from high-intensity and high-volume resistance exercise in trained men. Eur J Appl Physiol 117, 1287–1298 (2017).

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  • Resistance training
  • Performance
  • Testosterone
  • Cortisol
  • Inflammation
  • Muscle damage