Sports Medicine

, Volume 47, Issue 5, pp 799–805 | Cite as

Frequency: The Overlooked Resistance Training Variable for Inducing Muscle Hypertrophy?

  • Scott J. Dankel
  • Kevin T. Mattocks
  • Matthew B. Jessee
  • Samuel L. Buckner
  • J. Grant Mouser
  • Brittany R. Counts
  • Gilberto C. Laurentino
  • Jeremy P. Loenneke
Current Opinion

Abstract

The principle of progressive overload must be adhered to for individuals to continually increase muscle size with resistance training. While the majority of trained individuals adhere to this principle by increasing the number of sets performed per exercise session, this does not appear to be an effective method for increasing muscle size once a given threshold is surpassed. Opposite the numerous studies examining differences in training loads and sets of exercise performed, a few studies have assessed the importance of training frequency with respect to muscle growth, none of which have tested very high frequencies of training (e.g., 7 days a week). The lack of studies examining such frequencies may be related to the American College of Sports Medicine recommendation that trained individuals use split routines allowing at least 48 h of rest between exercises that stress the same muscle groups. Given the attenuated muscle protein synthetic response to resistance exercise present in trained individuals, it can be hypothesized that increasing the training frequency would allow for more frequent elevations in muscle protein synthesis and more time spent in a positive net protein balance. We hypothesize that increasing the training frequency, as opposed to the training load or sets performed, may be a more appropriate strategy for trained individuals to progress a resistance exercise program aimed at increasing muscle size.

References

  1. 1.
    American College of Sports Medicine. American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Progression models in resistance training for healthy adults. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009;41:687–708.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Alway SE, Grumbt WH, Stray-Gundersen J, et al. Effects of resistance training on elbow flexors of highly competitive bodybuilders. J Appl Physiol. 1985;1992(72):1512–21.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    DeFreitas JM, Beck TW, Stock MS, et al. An examination of the time course of training-induced skeletal muscle hypertrophy. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2011;111:2785–90.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Ogasawara R, Thiebaud RS, Loenneke JP, et al. Time course for arm and chest muscle thickness changes following bench press training. Interv Med Appl Sci. 2012;4:217–20.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Volek JS, Volk BM, Gómez AL, et al. Whey protein supplementation during resistance training augments lean body mass. J Am Coll Nutr. 2013;32:122–35.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Brook MS, Wilkinson DJ, Mitchell WK, et al. Skeletal muscle hypertrophy adaptations predominate in the early stages of resistance exercise training, matching deuterium oxide-derived measures of muscle protein synthesis and mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 signaling. FASEB J. 2015;29:4485–96.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Abe T, DeHoyos DV, Pollock ML, et al. Time course for strength and muscle thickness changes following upper and lower body resistance training in men and women. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2000;81:174–80.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Morton RW, McGlory C, Phillips SM. Nutritional interventions to augment resistance training-induced skeletal muscle hypertrophy. Front Physiol. 2015;245. doi:10.3389/fphys.2015.00245.
  9. 9.
    Burd NA, West DWD, Staples AW, et al. Low-load high volume resistance exercise stimulates muscle protein synthesis more than high-load low volume resistance exercise in young men. PloS One. 2010;5:e12033.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Kumar V, Selby A, Rankin D, et al. Age-related differences in the dose–response relationship of muscle protein synthesis to resistance exercise in young and old men. J Physiol. 2009;587:211–7.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Mitchell CJ, Churchward-Venne TA, West DWD, et al. Resistance exercise load does not determine training-mediated hypertrophic gains in young men. J Appl Physiol. 1985;2012(113):71–7.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Hackett DA, Johnson NA, Chow C-M. Training practices and ergogenic aids used by male bodybuilders. J Strength Cond Res. 2013;27:1609–17.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Kumar V, Atherton PJ, Selby A, et al. Muscle protein synthetic responses to exercise: effects of age, volume, and intensity. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2012;67:1170–7.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Martín-Hernández J, Marín PJ, Menéndez H, et al. Muscular adaptations after two different volumes of blood flow-restricted training. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2013;23:e114–20.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Ostrowski KJ, Wilson GJ, Weatherby R, et al. The effect of weight training volume on hormonal output and muscular size and function. J Strength Cond Res. 1997;11:148–54.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Krieger JW. Single vs. multiple sets of resistance exercise for muscle hypertrophy: a meta-analysis. J Strength Cond Res. 2010;24:1150–9.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Fisher J. Beware the meta-analysis: is mutliple set training really better than single set training for muscle hypertrophy. J Exerc Physiol Online. 2012;15:23–30.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Loenneke JP, Fahs CA, Wilson JM, et al. Blood flow restriction: the metabolite/volume threshold theory. Med Hypotheses. 2011;77:748–52.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Symons TB, Sheffield-Moore M, Wolfe RR, et al. A moderate serving of high-quality protein maximally stimulates skeletal muscle protein synthesis in young and elderly subjects. J Am Diet Assoc. 2009;109:1582–6.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Burd NA, West DWD, Moore DR, et al. Enhanced amino acid sensitivity of myofibrillar protein synthesis persists for up to 24 h after resistance exercise in young men. J Nutr. 2011;141:568–73.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    MacDougall JD, Gibala MJ, Tarnopolsky MA, et al. The time course for elevated muscle protein synthesis following heavy resistance exercise. Can J Appl Physiol. 1995;20:480–6.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Phillips SM, Tipton KD, Aarsland A, et al. Mixed muscle protein synthesis and breakdown after resistance exercise in humans. Am J Physiol. 1997;273:E99–107.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Damas F, Phillips S, Vechin FC, et al. A review of resistance training-induced changes in skeletal muscle protein synthesis and their contribution to hypertrophy. Sports Med. 2015;45:801–7.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Bohé J, Low JFA, Wolfe RR, et al. Latency and duration of stimulation of human muscle protein synthesis during continuous infusion of amino acids. J Physiol. 2001;532:575–9.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Häkkinen K, Kallinen M. Distribution of strength training volume into one or two daily sessions and neuromuscular adaptations in female athletes. Electromyogr Clin Neurophysiol. 1994;34:117–24.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Wernbom M, Augustsson J, Thomeé R. The influence of frequency, intensity, volume and mode of strength training on whole muscle cross-sectional area in humans. Sports Med. 2007;37:225–64.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Schoenfeld BJ, Ogborn D, Krieger JW. Effects of resistance training frequency on measures of muscle hypertrophy: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports Med. doi:10.1007/s40279-016-0543-8. Epub 21 Apr 2016.
  28. 28.
    Schoenfeld BJ, Ratamess NA, Peterson MD, et al. Influence of resistance training frequency on muscular adaptations in well-trained men. J Strength Cond Res. 2015;29:1821–9.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Gentil P, Fischer B, Martorelli AS, et al. Effects of equal-volume resistance training performed one or two times a week in upper body muscle size and strength of untrained young men. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2015;55:144–9.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Benton MJ, Kasper MJ, Raab SA, et al. Short-term effects of resistance training frequency on body composition and strength in middle-aged women. J Strength Cond Res. 2011;25:3142–9.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Candow DG, Burke DG. Effect of short-term equal-volume resistance training with different workout frequency on muscle mass and strength in untrained men and women. J Strength Cond Res. 2007;21:204–7.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    McLester JR, Bishop P, Guilliams M. Comparison of 1 day and 3 days per week of equal-volume resistance training in experienced subjects. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1999;31:S117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Murlasits Z, Reed J, Wells K. Effect of resistance training frequency on physiological adaptations in older adults. J Exerc Sci Fit. 2012;10:28–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Thomas MH, Burns SP. Increasing lean mass and strength: A comparison of high frequency strength training to lower frequency strength training. Int J Exerc Sci. 2016;9:159–67.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Bickel CS, Cross JM, Bamman MM. Exercise dosing to retain resistance training adaptations in young and older adults. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011;43:1177–87.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Hamilton DL, Philp A, MacKenzie MG, et al. Molecular brakes regulating mTORC1 activation in skeletal muscle following synergist ablation. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2014;307:E365–73.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Ogasawara R, Kobayashi K, Tsutaki A, et al. mTOR signaling response to resistance exercise is altered by chronic resistance training and detraining in skeletal muscle. J Appl Physiol. 1985;2013(114):934–40.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Ogasawara R, Yasuda T, Ishii N, et al. Comparison of muscle hypertrophy following 6-month of continuous and periodic strength training. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2013;113:975–85.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Mitchell CJ, Churchward-Venne TA, Parise G, et al. Acute post-exercise myofibrillar protein synthesis is not correlated with resistance training-induced muscle hypertrophy in young men. PLoS One [Internet]. 2014;9(2):e89431.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Kumar V, Atherton P, Smith K, et al. Human muscle protein synthesis and breakdown during and after exercise. J Appl Physiol. 1985;2009(106):2026–39.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Glynn EL, Fry CS, Drummond MJ, et al. Muscle protein breakdown has a minor role in the protein anabolic response to essential amino acid and carbohydrate intake following resistance exercise. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2010;299:R533–40.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Mitchell CJ, Churchward-Venne TA, Cameron-Smith D, et al. What is the relationship between the acute muscle protein synthesis response and changes in muscle mass? J Appl Physiol. 1985;2015(118):495–7.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Scott J. Dankel
    • 1
  • Kevin T. Mattocks
    • 1
  • Matthew B. Jessee
    • 1
  • Samuel L. Buckner
    • 1
  • J. Grant Mouser
    • 1
  • Brittany R. Counts
    • 1
  • Gilberto C. Laurentino
    • 1
  • Jeremy P. Loenneke
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Health, Exercise Science, and Recreation Management, Kevser Ermin Applied Physiology LaboratoryThe University of MississippiUniversityUSA

Personalised recommendations