Resistance training with different repetition duration to failure: effect on hypertrophy, strength and muscle activation

PeerJ. 2021 Feb 25:9:e10909. doi: 10.7717/peerj.10909. eCollection 2021.


Background: This study investigated the effects of two 14-week resistance training protocols with different repetition duration (RD) performed to muscle failure (MF) on gains in strength and muscle hypertrophy as well as on normalized electromyographic (EMG) amplitude and force-angle relationships.

Methods: The left and right legs of ten untrained males were assigned to either one of the two protocols (2-s or 6-s RD) incorporating unilateral knee extension exercise. Both protocols were performed with 3-4 sets, 50-60% of the one-repetition maximum (1RM), and 3 min rest. Rectus femoris and vastus lateralis cross-sectional areas (CSA), maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) at 30o and 90o of knee flexion and 1RM performance were assessed before and after the training period. In addition, normalized EMG amplitude-angle and force-angle relationships were assessed in the 6th and 39th experimental sessions.

Results: The 6-s RD protocol induced larger gains in MVIC at 30o of knee angle measurement than the 2-s RD protocol. Increases in MVIC at 90o of knee angle, 1RM, rectus femoris and vastus lateralis CSA were not significant between the 2-s and 6-s RD protocols. Moreover, different normalized EMG amplitude-angle and force-angle values were detected between protocols over most of the angles analyzed.

Conclusion: Performing longer RD could be a more appropriate strategy to provide greater gains in isometric maximal muscle strength at shortened knee positions. However, similar maximum dynamic strength and muscle hypertrophy gains would be provided by protocols with different RD.

Keywords: Electromyography; Muscle cross-sectional area; Muscle failure; Repetition duration; Strength performance; Time-under-tension; Training volume.

Grants and funding

This work was supported by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES), the Fundação de Amparo a Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais (FAPEMIG) and the Pró-Reitoria de Pesquisa (PRPq) da Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.