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Strength and hypertrophy adaptations between low- versus high-load resistance training: A systematic review and meta-analysis

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Tags: strength, exercise, self-treatment, treatment

One article on PainSci cites Schoenfeld 2017: The Complete Guide to Trigger Points & Myofascial Pain

PainSci summary of Schoenfeld 2017: ?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.

This systematic review of studies of low-load versus high-load resistance training concluded that both work equally well for building muscle size, but high loads are clearly better for getting stronger. In other words, training with lighter loads only could work for a bodybuilder, but not a competitive lifter.

~ 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.

The purpose of this paper was to conduct a systematic review of the current body of literature and a meta-analysis to compare changes in strength and hypertrophy between low- versus high-load resistance training protocols. Searches of PubMed/MEDLINE, Cochrane Library and Scopus were conducted for studies that met the following criteria: 1) an experimental trial involving both low- (≤60% 1 RM) and high- >60% 1 RM) load training; 2) with all sets in the training protocols being performed to momentary muscular failure; 3) at least one method of estimating changes in muscle mass and/or dynamic, isometric or isokinetic strength was used; 4) the training protocol lasted for a minimum of 6 weeks; 5) the study involved participants with no known medical conditions or injuries impairing training capacity. A total of 21 studies were ultimately included for analysis. Gains in 1RM strength were significantly greater in favor of high- versus low-load training, while no significant differences were found for isometric strength between conditions. Changes in measures of muscle hypertrophy were similar between conditions. The findings indicate that maximal strength benefits are obtained from the use of heavy loads while muscle hypertrophy can be equally achieved across a spectrum of loading ranges.

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