Moderate resistance training volume produces more favorable strength gains than high or low volumes during a short-term training cycle

J Strength Cond Res. 2005 Aug;19(3):689-97. doi: 10.1519/R-15574.1.


The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of 3 resistance training volumes on maximal strength in the snatch (Sn), clean & jerk (C&J), and squat (Sq) exercises during a 10-week training period. Fifty-one experienced (>3 years), trained junior lifters were randomly assigned to one of 3 groups: a low-volume group (LVG, n = 16), a moderate-volume group (MVG, n = 17), and a high-volume group (HVG, n = 18). All subjects trained 4-5 days a week with a periodized routine using the same exercises and relative intensities but a different total number of sets and repetitions at each relative load: LVG (1,923 repetitions), MVG (2,481 repetitions), and HVG (3,030 repetitions). The training was periodized from moderate intensity (60- 80% of 1 repetition maximum [1RM]) and high number of repetitions per set (2-6) to high intensity (90-100% of 1RM) and low number of repetitions per set (1-3). During the training period, the MVG showed a significant increase for the Sn, C&J, and Sq exercises (6.1, 3.7, and 4.2%, respectively, p < 0.01), whereas in the LVG and HVG, the increase took place only with the C&J exercise (3.7 and 3%, respectively, p < 0.05) and the Sq exercise (4.6%, p < 0.05, and 4.8%, p < 0.01, respectively). The increase in the Sn exercise for the MVG was significantly higher than in the LVG (p = 0.015). Calculation of effect sizes showed higher strength gains in the MVG than in the HVG or LVG. There were no significant differences between the LVG and HVG training volume-induced strength gains. The present results indicate that junior experienced lifters can optimize performance by exercising with only 85% or less of the maximal volume that they can tolerate. These observations may have important practical relevance for the optimal design of strength training programs for resistance-trained athletes, since we have shown that performing at a moderate volume is more effective and efficient than performing at a higher volume.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Physical Education and Training / methods*
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Weight Lifting / physiology*