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:
- Photobiomodulation therapy is not better than placebo in patients with chronic nonspecific low back pain: a randomised placebo-controlled trial. Guimarães 2021 Pain.
- No effect of creatine monohydrate supplementation on inflammatory and cartilage degradation biomarkers in individuals with knee osteoarthritis. Cornish 2018 Nutr Res.
- The CANBACK trial: a randomised, controlled clinical trial of oral cannabidiol for people presenting to the emergency department with acute low back pain. Bebee 2021 Med J Aust.
- Relationships Between Sleep Quality and Pain-Related Factors for People with Chronic Low Back Pain: Tests of Reciprocal and Time of Day Effects. Gerhart 2017 Ann Behav Med.
- Modulation in the elastic properties of gastrocnemius muscle heads in individuals with plantar fasciitis and its relationship with pain. Zhou 2020 Sci Rep.