Short-term effects of resistance training frequency on body composition and strength in middle-aged women

J Strength Cond Res. 2011 Nov;25(11):3142-9. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31820f505f.


Although a dose-response relationship between resistance training frequency and strength has been identified, there is limited research regarding the association between frequency and body composition. This study evaluated the effects of 3 vs. 4 d·wk(-1) of resistance training on body composition and strength in middle-aged women. Twenty-one untrained women (age 47.6 ± 1.2 years) completed 8 weeks of resistance training either 3 nonconsecutive days of the week using a traditional total-body protocol (RT3) or 4 consecutive days of the week using an alternating split-training protocol (RT4). The RT3 completed 3 sets of 8 exercises, whereas RT4 completed 3 sets of 6 upper body exercises or 6 sets of 3 lower body exercises. Both groups completed 72 sets per week of 8-12 repetitions at 50-80% 1 repetition maximum. Weekly training volume load was calculated as the total number of repetitions × load (kg) completed per week. Body composition was measured using air displacement plethysmography. At baseline and after 8 weeks of resistance training, there were no significant between-group differences. Both protocols resulted in significant increases in absolute lean mass (1.1 ± 0.3 kg; p = 0.001), body weight (1.02 ± 0.3 kg; p = 0.005), body mass index (0.3 ± 0.1 kg·m(-2); p = 0.006), strength (p < 0.001), and weekly training volume load (p < 0.001). Correlation analysis revealed that weekly training volume load was strongly and positively related to gains in lean mass (r = 0.56, p = 0.05) and strength (r = 0.60, p = 0.006). In these untrained, middle-aged women, initial short-term gains in lean mass and strength were not influenced by training frequency when the number of training sets per week was equated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Body Composition / physiology*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lower Extremity / physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Patient Compliance
  • Resistance Training*
  • Upper Extremity / physiology