Title

Is repetition failure critical for the development of muscle hypertrophy and strength?

RIS ID

99282

Publication Details

Sampson, J. A. & Groeller, H. (2016). Is repetition failure critical for the development of muscle hypertrophy and strength?. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, 26 (4), 375-383.

Abstract

This investigation sought to determine the effect of resistance training to failure on functional, structural and neural elbow flexor muscle adaptation. Twenty-eight males completed a 4-week familiarization period and were then counterbalanced on the basis of responsiveness across; non-failure rapid shortening (RS; rapid concentric, 2 s eccentric), non-failure stretch-shortening (SSC; rapid concentric, rapid eccentric), and failure control (C, 2 s concentric, 2 s eccentric), for a 12-week unilateral elbow flexor resistance training regimen, 3 x week using 85% of one repetition maximum (1RM). 1RM, maximal voluntary contraction (MVC), muscle cross-sectional area (CSA), and muscle activation (EMGRMS) of the agonist, antagonist, and stabilizer muscles were assessed before and after the 12-week training period. The average number of repetitions per set was significantly lower in RS 4.2 [confidence interval (CI): 4.2, 4.3] and SSC 4.2 (CI: 4.2, 4.3) compared with C 6.1 (CI: 5.8, 6.4). A significant increase in 1RM (30.5%), MVC (13.3%), CSA (11.4%), and agonist EMGRMS (22.1%) was observed; however, no between-group differences were detected. In contrast, antagonist EMGRMS increased significantly in SSC (40.5%) and C (23.3%), but decreased in RS (13.5%). Similar adaptations across the three resistance training regimen suggest repetition failure is not critical to elicit significant neural and structural changes to skeletal muscle.

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Link to publisher version (DOI)

http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/sms.12445