Bigger weights may not beget bigger muscles: evidence from acute muscle protein synthetic responses after resistance exercise

Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2012 Jun;37(3):551-4. doi: 10.1139/h2012-022. Epub 2012 Apr 26.


It is often recommended that heavier training intensities (∼70%-80% of maximal strength) be lifted to maximize muscle growth. However, we have reported that intensities as low as 30% of maximum strength, when lifted to volitional fatigue, are equally effective at stimulating muscle protein synthesis rates during resistance exercise recovery. This paper discusses the idea that high-intensity contractions are not the exclusive driver of resistance exercise-induced changes in muscle protein synthesis rates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Humans
  • Muscle Proteins*
  • Muscle, Skeletal*
  • Physical Exertion*
  • Resistance Training / methods*


  • Muscle Proteins