Effects of High-Volume Versus High-Load Resistance Training on Skeletal Muscle Growth and Molecular Adaptations.


We evaluated the effects of higher-load (HL) versus (lower-load) higher-volume (HV) resistance training on skeletal muscle hypertrophy, strength, and muscle-level molecular adaptations. Trained men (n = 15, age: 23 ± 3 years; training experience: 7 ± 3 years) performed unilateral lower-body training for 6 weeks (3× weekly), where single legs were randomly assigned to HV and HL paradigms. Vastus lateralis (VL) biopsies were obtained prior to study initiation (PRE) as well as 3 days (POST) and 10 days following the last training bout (POSTPR). Body composition and strength tests were performed at each testing session, and biochemical assays were performed on muscle tissue after study completion. Two-way within-subject repeated measures ANOVAs were performed on most dependent variables, and tracer data were compared using dependent samples t-tests. A significant interaction existed for VL muscle cross-sectional area (assessed via magnetic resonance imaging; interaction p = 0.046), where HV increased this metric from PRE to POST (+3.2%, p = 0.018) whereas HL training did not (-0.1%, p = 0.475). Additionally, HL increased leg extensor strength more so than HV training (interaction p = 0.032; HV < HL at POST and POSTPR, p < 0.025 for each). Six-week integrated non-myofibrillar protein synthesis (iNon-MyoPS) rates were also higher in the HV versus HL condition, while no difference between conditions existed for iMyoPS rates. No interactions existed for other strength, VL morphology variables, or the relative abundances of major muscle proteins. Compared to HL training, 6 weeks of HV training in previously trained men optimizes VL hypertrophy in lieu of enhanced iNon-MyoPS rates, and this warrants future research.





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Publication Info

Vann, Christopher G, Casey L Sexton, Shelby C Osburn, Morgan A Smith, Cody T Haun, Melissa N Rumbley, Petey W Mumford, Nathan T Montgomery, et al. (2022). Effects of High-Volume Versus High-Load Resistance Training on Skeletal Muscle Growth and Molecular Adaptations. Frontiers in physiology, 13. p. 857555. 10.3389/fphys.2022.857555 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/29751.

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Christopher Vann

Postdoctoral Scholar

Dr. Vann is an exercise physiologist with a research focus centered in skeletal muscle physiology. His research focuses on elucidating mechanisms of tissue-to-tissue crosstalk and understanding how exercise-induced changes in epigenetic, genetic, and protein-level factors relate to health and performance outcomes across the age span. As rates of obesity, cardiometabolic disease, and sarcopenia increase in the U.S., Dr. Vann's research is centered on understanding the role of exercise in improved health outcomes at the molecular level and applying this knowledge to develop precise evidence based exercise interventions.

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