PainSci summary of 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 at the bottom of the page, as often as possible. ★★★☆☆3-star ratings are for typical studies with no more (or less) than the usual common problems. Ratings are a highly subjective opinion, and subject to revision at any time. If you think this paper has been incorrectly rated, please let me know.
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.
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.
One article on PainScience.com cites McLester 2000 as a source:
- PS Strength Training Frequency — Less is more than enough: go to the gym less frequently but still gain strength fast enough for anyone but a bodybuilder
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:
- A Bayesian model-averaged meta-analysis of the power pose effect with informed and default priors: the case of felt power. Gronau 2017 Comprehensive Results in Social Psychology.
- The neck and headaches. Bogduk 2014 Neurol Clin.
- Agreement of self-reported items and clinically assessed nerve root involvement (or sciatica) in a primary care setting. Konstantinou 2012 Eur Spine J.
- Effect of NSAIDs on Recovery From Acute Skeletal Muscle Injury: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Morelli 2017 Am J Sports Med.
- Association of Spinal Manipulative Therapy With Clinical Benefit and Harm for Acute Low Back Pain: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Paige 2017 JAMA.