Cross-education after high-frequency versus low-frequency volume-matched handgrip training

Muscle Nerve. 2017 Oct;56(4):689-695. doi: 10.1002/mus.25637. Epub 2017 Apr 5.


Introduction: Cross-education training programs cause interlimb asymmetry of strength and hypertrophy. We examined the cross-education effects from a high-frequency (HF) versus a low-frequency (LF) volume-matched handgrip training program on interlimb asymmetry.

Methods: Right-handed participants completed either HF (n = 10; 2 × 6 repetitions 10 times per week) or LF (n = 9; 5 × 8 repetitions 3 times per week) training. Testing occurred twice before and once after 4 weeks of right-handed isometric handgrip training totaling 120 weekly repetitions. Measures were maximal isometric handgrip and wrist flexion torque, muscle thickness, and muscle activation (electromyography; EMG).

Results: Grip strength was greater in both limbs posttraining, pooled across groups (P < 0.001). Trained limb muscle thickness increased in both groups (P < 0.05; untrained, P = 0.897). EMG and wrist flexion torque did not change (all P > 0.103).

Discussion: Both LF and HF induced cross-education of grip strength to the untrained limb, but HF did not reduce asymmetry. These findings have implications for injury rehabilitation. Muscle Nerve 56: 689-695, 2017.

Keywords: cross education; grip strength; interlimb asymmetry; neuromuscular physiology; strength rehabilitation; strength training frequency.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Electromyography / methods
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Hand Strength / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Isometric Contraction / physiology*
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Resistance Training / methods*
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult