Difference in kinematics and kinetics between high- and low-velocity resistance loading equated by volume: implications for hypertrophy training

J Strength Cond Res. 2012 Jan;26(1):269-75. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31821f48de.


Although it is generally accepted that a high load is necessary for muscle hypertrophy, it is possible that a low load with a high velocity results in greater kinematics and kinetics than does a high load with a slow velocity. The purpose of this study was to determine if 2 training loads (35 and 70% 1 repetition maximum [1RM]) equated by volume, differed in terms of their session kinematic and kinetic characteristics. Twelve subjects were recruited in this acute randomized within-subject crossover design study. Two bouts of a half-squat exercise were performed 1 week apart, one with high load-low velocity (HLLV = 3 sets of 12 reps at 70% 1RM) and the other with low-load high-velocity (LLHV = 6 sets of 12 reps at 35% 1RM). Time under tension (TUT), average force, peak force (PF), average power (AP), peak power (PP), work (TW), and total impulse (TI) were calculated and compared between loads for the eccentric and concentric phases. For average eccentric and concentric single repetition values, significantly (p < 0.05) greater (∼15-22%) PP outputs were associated with the LLHV loading, whereas significantly greater (∼7-61%) values were associated with the HLLV condition for most other variables of interest. However, in terms of total session kinematics and kinetics, the LLHV protocol resulted in significantly greater (∼16-61%) eccentric and concentric TUT, PF, AP, PP, and TW. The only variable that was significantly greater for the HLLV protocol than for the LLHV protocol was TI (∼20-24%). From these results, it seems that the LLHV protocol may offer an equal if not better training stimulus for muscular adaptation than the HLLV protocol, because of the greater time under tension, power, force, and work output when the total volume of the exercise is equated.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / physiology
  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena / physiology
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Physical Exertion / physiology
  • Resistance Training / methods*
  • Weight-Bearing / physiology