One question many strength coaches and athletes want answered is, what is the correct amount of training that will yield the most effective gains in strength? As strength gains lead to rapid muscle growth, bodybuilders should also want to know the answer to this question.
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How Much Weight Training Produces the Most Effective Strength Gains?
A recent study completed a meta-analyses on all the available strength training research in an effort to find out what is the optimal prescription for rapid gains in muscle strength.
Although a lot of research has examined training and strength increases, individually these studies provide little insight into the magnitude of strength that may possibly be gained considering the entire continuum of training intensities, frequencies, and volumes.
This meta-analysis research took into consideration the results from 140 studies with a total of 1433 group sizes.
Results of the analyses revealed that responses are largely based on the training status of the participants involved. It appears that untrained individuals can make effective strength gains by working with only 60% of their one repetition maximum (1RM).
Training with Heavy Weight
Whereas training with heavy weight (80% or more of the 1RM) is required for experienced weight trainers. It makes sense, to become stronger, you must lift heavy.
Regarding frequency, untrained participants can obtain effective gains by training each muscle group 3 times per week. Where as trained individuals should work a body part (both directly and indirectly) no more than twice a week for optimal strength gains.
Interestingly, this research revealed that only four working sets per muscle group elicited the most effective strength gains in both trained and untrained individuals.
It appears that a high intensity, low volume approach yields the most consistent and effective results. As a general recommendation, I’d have to say that less is definitely better than more, in regards to ensuring results from strength training. For a program that embraces all the science-based essential principles of effective training for strength and muscle mass, sign up for my list.