Time course for arm and chest muscle thickness changes following bench press training

Interv Med Appl Sci. 2012 Dec;4(4):217-20. doi: 10.1556/IMAS.4.2012.4.7. Epub 2012 Dec 27.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the time course of hypertrophic adaptations in both the upper arm and trunk muscles following high-intensity bench press training. Seven previously untrained young men (aged 25 ± 3 years) performed free-weight bench press training 3 days (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) per week for 24 weeks. Training intensity and volume were set at 75% of one repetition maximum (1-RM) and 30 repetitions (3 sets of 10 repetitions, with 2-3 min of rest between sets), respectively. Muscle thickness (MTH) was measured using B-mode ultrasound at three sites: the biceps and triceps brachii and the pectoralis major. Measurements were taken a week prior to the start of training, before the training session on every Monday and 3 days after the final training session. Pairwise comparisons from baseline revealed that pectoralis major MTH significantly increased after week-1 (p = 0.002), triceps MTH increased after week-5 (p = 0.001) and 1-RM strength increased after week-3 (p = 0.001) while no changes were observed in the biceps MTH from baseline. Significant muscle hypertrophy was observed earlier in the chest compared to that of the triceps. Our results indicate that the time course of the muscle hypertrophic response differs between the upper arm and chest.

Keywords: B-mode ultrasound; muscle hypertrophy; muscular strength; strength training; trunk muscle thickness.