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Training only once per week will increase lumbar extension strength

PainSci » bibliography » Graves et al 1990
Tags: exercise, self-treatment, treatment

One article on PainSci cites Graves 1990: Strength Training Frequency

PainSci commentary on Graves 1990: ?This page is one of thousands in the bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided wherever possible.

A study focusing on lumbar strength in 112 adults, and testing a wider range of frequencies: everything from 3 workouts per week to one workout every other week. Every training frequency produced results, though somewhat less at the lowest frequency. But results were basically identical for training 1, 2 or 3 times per week! “These data indicate that a training frequency as low as 1X/week provides an effective training stimulus for the development of lumbar extension strength.”

Which is actually an understatement, because the data showed that training even every 2 weeks still produced respectable results — an average 26% increase in strength when exercising one sixth as frequently as the 3X/week group who got a 40% gain.

~ Paul Ingraham

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

To investigate the effects of training frequency and specificity of trainingR on isolated lumbar extension strength, 72 men (age = 31 +/- 9 years) and 42 women (age = 28 +/- 9 years) were tested before and after 12 weeks of training. Each test involved the measurement of maximum voluntary isometric torque at 72 degrees, 60 degrees, 48 degrees, 36 degrees, 24 degrees, 12 degrees, and 0 degrees of lumbar flexion. After the pretraining tests, subjects were randomly stratified to groups that trained with variable resistance dynamic exercise every other week (1X/2 weeks, n = 19), once per week (1X/week, n = 22), twice per week (2X/week, n = 23) or three times per week (3X/week, n = 21); a group that trained isometrically once per week (n = 14); or a control group that did not train (n = 15). Analysis of covariance showed that all training groups improved their ability to generate isometric torque at each angle measured when compared with controls (P less than 0.05). There was no statistical difference in adjusted posttraining isometric torques among the groups that trained (P greater than 0.05), but dynamic training weight increased to a lesser extent (P less than 0.08) for the 1X/2 weeks group (26.6%) than for the groups that trained 1X/week, 2X/week, and 3X/week (37.2 to 41.4%). These data indicate that a training frequency as low as 1X/week provides an effective training stimulus for the development of lumbar extension strength. Improvements in strength noted after isometric training suggest that isometric exercise provides an effective alternative for developing lumbar strength.

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