Early-phase neuromuscular adaptations to high- and low-volume resistance training in untrained young and older women

J Sports Sci. 2010 Dec;28(14):1505-14. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2010.517544.


We compared early-phase effects between high- and low-volume moderate-intensity resistance training on lean muscle volume, maximal bilateral leg extension strength, maximal isometric torque, normalized maximal bilateral leg extension strength, normalized maximal isometric torque, and muscle recruitment of the right knee extensors in previously untrained young (23.8 ± 3.7 years, range 20-30 years; n = 16) and older women (67.6 ± 6.3 years, range 60-78 years; n = 15). Participants performed either one set or three sets of 10 repetitions for the bilateral leg extension and bilateral leg curl at an intensity of 50-75% of maximal strength 3 days per week for 10 weeks. Main effects were observed over time for all variables (P < 0.05) with increases ranging from 7.1% to 27.8% and effect sizes (Cohen's d) ranging from 0.45 to 1.38. No interactions between age and training volume over time were observed for any variable (P > 0.05). Our results provide a novel contribution to the literature demonstrating that additional neuromuscular adaptation during early-phase moderate-intensity resistance training in previously untrained young and older women may not be elicited through higher-volume training when training loads are matched provided that a minimal volume threshold is attained. These findings may have practical applications for the prescription of short-duration resistance training programmes to enhance muscle strength and achieve hypertrophic and non-hypertrophic adaptations in untrained women.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy
  • Isometric Contraction / physiology*
  • Knee
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Nervous System Physiological Phenomena
  • Physical Education and Training
  • Physical Exertion / physiology*
  • Resistance Training / methods*
  • Torque
  • Weight Lifting / physiology
  • Young Adult