One article on PainSci cites McLester 2000: Strength Training Frequency
PainSci commentary on McLester 2000: ?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com 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.
McLester et al studied experienced recreational weight trainers, producing the only data I know of that shows that more frequent training produces better results. However, the study does show that reduced training frequency is still surprisingly effective: it produced about 60% of the strength gains as training three times more often.
The findings suggest that a higher frequency of resistance training, even when volume is held constant, produces superior gains in 1RM. However, training only 1 day per week was an effective means of increasing strength, even in experienced recreational weight trainers.
So less was less here … but not a lot less, and that is pretty important. I imagine that a great many people would happily sacrifice some of their progress in exchange for reclaiming the time spent on two workouts per week.
~ 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.
There is not a strong research basis for current views of the importance of individual training variables in strength training protocol design. This study compared 1 day versus 3 days of resistance training per week in recreational weight trainers with the training volume held constant between the treatments. Subjects were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 groups: 1 day per week of 3 sets to failure (1DAY) or 3 days per week of 1 set to failure (3DAY). Relative intensity (percent of initial 1 repetition maximum [1RM]) was varied throughout the study in both groups by using a periodized repetition range of 3-10. Volume (repetitions x mass) did not differ (p <= 0.05) between the groups over the 12 weeks. The 1RMs of various upper-and lower-body exercises were assessed at baseline and at weeks 6 and 12. The 1RMs increased (p <= 0.05) significantly for the combined groups over time. The 1DAY group achieved ~62% of the 1RM increases observed in the 3DAY group in both upper-body and lower-body lifts. Larger increases in lean body mass were apparent in the 3DAY group. The findings suggest that a higher frequency of resistance training, even when volume is held constant, produces superior gains in 1RM. However, training only 1 day per week was an effective means of increasing strength, even in experienced recreational weight trainers. From a dose-response perspective, with the total volume of exercise held constant, spreading the training frequency to 3 doses per week produced superior results.
This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights:
- Exercise and education versus saline injections for knee osteoarthritis: a randomised controlled equivalence trial. Bandak 2022 Ann Rheum Dis.
- Association of Lumbar MRI Findings with Current and Future Back Pain in a Population-based Cohort Study. Kasch 2022 Spine (Phila Pa 1976).
- A double-blinded randomised controlled study of the value of sequential intravenous and oral magnesium therapy in patients with chronic low back pain with a neuropathic component. Yousef 2013 Anaesthesia.
- Is Neck Posture Subgroup in Late Adolescence a Risk Factor for Persistent Neck Pain in Young Adults? A Prospective Study. Richards 2021 Phys Ther.
- Sudden amnesia resulting in pain relief: the relationship between memory and pain. Choi 2007 Pain.