Is Training Intensity the Key to Strength & Muscle Hypertrophy?

Strength training, performed on a regular basis, is an important tool in any training toolbox especially when the goal is to increase strength and muscle hypertrophy.

Looking at the Training Intensity or Volume Question

Research from the University of Central Florida, published in Physiological Reports, tested a group of 33 active, young men, who had a strength training background, to determine the best training variable for increasing strength and muscle hypertrophy.

The purpose of the study was to compare a moderate intensity, high-volume training program using short rest intervals to a program that used high-intensity, lower volume utilizing a longer rest interval in resistance-trained male individuals. Subjects were tested at the start and finish of the 8-week study. Among the many items tested, muscle strength, hypertrophy, and endocrine response were the main outcomes that the research group wanted to explore.

“It has been suggested that high volume, moderate-to-high intensity resistance exercise programs utilizing short rest intervals primarily target muscle hypertrophy with secondary strength increases (Baechle, 2008; Ratamess, 2009). Conversely, high-intensity, low-volume programs utilizing long rest intervals primarily target muscle strength increases with secondary improvements in muscle hypertrophy (Baechle, 2008; Ratamess, 2009). However, it has been hypothesized that muscle hypertrophy may increase substantially across a larger spectrum of intensity and volume combinations (Schroeder, 2013).”

Physiological Reports (2015)

Exercise Prescription Pinpoints Training Intensity

One group followed a high volume training plan (4 x 10–12 repetitions with ~70% of one repetition maximum (1-RM) with 1-minute rest intervals). The second group followed a high-intensity plan to prep for the study (4 x 3–5 repetitions with ~90% of 1RM with 3-minute rest intervals). Subjects were randomly placed in one of two groups for a 2-week preparatory training period prior to the study.

4-Day Exercise Prescription used in the study.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

  • Back squats
  • Deadlift
  • Leg press
  • Lat pull down
  • Barbell bent-over row
  • Barbell biceps curl
  • Bench press
  • Incline bench press
  • Dumbbells fly
  • Seated shoulder press
  • Lateral dumbbell raise
  • Triceps extension
  • Barbell squat
  • Deadlift
  • Barbell lunge
  • Seated row
  • Dumbbell pull-over
  • Dumbbell bicep curl
  • Bench press
  • Incline bench press
  • Incline dumbbell fly
  • Seated shoulder press
  • Lateral dumbbell raise
  • Tricep extension

Research Study Findings

Study findings determined high-intensity (3–5 RM), low-volume strength training was the best option to stimulate strength gains and muscle hypertrophy. The high-intensity group used longer rest intervals (3-minutes) in their training sessions. Subjects, in group 2, used a moderate intensity, high-volume (10–12 RM) training program with shorter rest intervals (1-minute).

As a by-product of this research, Jefit developed a new strength training protocol called 4×5 Muscle Building (4-day) which is a great follow-up to Jefit’s 5×5 Split Routine (3-day). The emphasis should be placed on training intensity in both programs. Give this science-backed 4-day exercise prescription a try and let us know what you think. Stay Strong with Jefit.

REFERENCES

Baechle, T., R. Earle, and M. Wathen. 2008. Essentials of strength training and conditioning. 3rd ed. Human Kinetics, Champaign, IL.

Ratamess, N. A., B. A. Alvar, T. K. Evetoch, T. J. Housh, W. B. Kibler, W. J. Kraemer, et al. 2009. American college of sports medicine position stand. Progression models in resistance training for healthy adults. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 41:687.

Schroeder, E. T., M. Villanueva, D. D. West, and S. M. Phillips. 2013. Are acute post-resistance exercise increases in testosterone, growth hormone, and IGF-1 necessary to stimulate skeletal muscle anabolism and hypertrophy? Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 45:2044–2051.

Mangine, G.T., Hoffman, J.R., Townsend, J.R., et. al. The effects of training volume and intensity on improvements in muscular strength and size in resistance-trained men. Physiol Rep, 3 (8), 2015, e12472, doi: 10.14814/phy2.12472

Jefit Continues to Evolve Celebrating 10-Years of Growth

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This is a really big month for Jefit, as the company celebrates our 10-year anniversary this week. The genesis of Jefit was finding a solution to a personal problem Mr. Ying Lin, Founder & CEO, was experiencing when working out at the gym. There were not enough systems in place for him to record and track his workouts.

Since those early days, we have become one of the top digital apps used for planning & tracking individual strength training workouts. The Jefit app recently hit a big milestone when it surpassed 9 million members.

The team has continued to grow over the years and we are always looking for good team players to come on board with us.

The following screenshots depict what the website and app looked like more than a decade ago (on the left) compared to today (on the right).

What Jefit Looks Like

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Jefit to Release a Host of New Features Soon

The company has continued to improve our brand and product features for both the website and our award-winning app. New features include updates in four key areas found in the app.

New Superset Sharing Feature

Jefit members will soon have the ability to share their workouts that have supersets added as part of a workout. This functionality was not previously available.

Interval-Based Timer Option

The Jefit workout options are about to improve significantly now that the software has the ability to create interval-based workouts. When you edit a workout you will soon have five options to choose from to customize a typical strength training session. You can build a workout to match your needs by using the appropriate number of sets, repetitions, rest, interval time and supersets as seen below.

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Look for the Jefit Database to Increase to 1400 Exercises

The Jefit exercise database has increased to 1400 exercises since adding more than 60 new exercises. Explosive bodyweight exercises like a Burpee, in addition to a Hex-bar Deadlift, Kettlebell Farmer’s Carry, DB Suitcase Carry, TRX Inverted Row, Kettlebell Swing, Side Plank, Ab Wheel Rollout and Split Squats to name just a few. Four new “exercise types” were also added, increasing the total to eight categories. The new categories include dynamic warm-up, explosive, yoga, and mobility. More than 30 of the 64 newly created exercises fall under Jefits’ most popular exercise heading which is strength training.

Exercise “Equipment Needed” Updated

The Jefit equipment menu was updated bringing the total number of equipment choices to 20. New exercise equipment including the stability ball, weight plate, Hex-bar, TRX suspension, medicine ball, Bosu ball, and Ab Roller.

We look forward to continuing to support our members through periodic updates which in turn will continue to improve app functionality. Thank-you for the past ten years. We look forward to helping change the lives of Jefit members for many years to come. Stay Strong! – the Jefit Team.

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