Time course for strength and muscle thickness changes following upper and lower body resistance training in men and women

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2000 Feb;81(3):174-80. doi: 10.1007/s004210050027.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the time course of skeletal muscle adaptations resulting from high-intensity, upper and lower body dynamic resistance training (WT). A group of 17 men and 20 women were recruited for WT, and 6 men and 7 women served as a control group. The WT group performed six dynamic resistance exercises to fatigue using 8-12 repetition maximum (RM). The subjects trained 3 days a week for 12 weeks. One-RM knee extension (KE) and chest press (CP) exercises were measured at baseline and at weeks 2, 4, 6, 8, and 12 for the WT group. Muscle thickness (MTH) was measured by ultrasound at eight anatomical sites. One-RM CP and KE strength had increased significantly at week 4 for the female WT group. For the men in the WT group, 1 RM had increased significantly at week 2 for KE and at week 6 for CP. The mean relative increases in KE and CP strength were 19% and 19% for the men and 19% and 27% for the women, respectively, after 12 weeks of WT. Resistance training elicited a significant increase in MTH of the chest and triceps muscles at week 6 in both sexes. There were non-significant trends for increases in quadriceps MTH for the WT groups. The relative increases in upper and lower body MTH were 12%-21% and 7%-9% in the men and 10%-31% and 7%-8% in the women respectively, after 12 weeks of WT. These results would suggest that increases in MTH in the upper body are greater and occur earlier compared to the lower extremity, during the first 12 weeks of a total body WT programme. The time-course and proportions of the increase in strength and MTH were similar for both the men and the women.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arm
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Body Weight
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leg
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Fatigue
  • Muscle, Skeletal / anatomy & histology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Thorax
  • Time Factors
  • Weight Lifting*