Loading Recommendations for Muscle Strength, Hypertrophy, and Local Endurance: A Re-Examination of the Repetition Continuum

Sports (Basel). 2021 Feb 22;9(2):32. doi: 10.3390/sports9020032.


Loading recommendations for resistance training are typically prescribed along what has come to be known as the "repetition continuum", which proposes that the number of repetitions performed at a given magnitude of load will result in specific adaptations. Specifically, the theory postulates that heavy load training optimizes increases maximal strength, moderate load training optimizes increases muscle hypertrophy, and low-load training optimizes increases local muscular endurance. However, despite the widespread acceptance of this theory, current research fails to support some of its underlying presumptions. Based on the emerging evidence, we propose a new paradigm whereby muscular adaptations can be obtained, and in some cases optimized, across a wide spectrum of loading zones. The nuances and implications of this paradigm are discussed herein.

Keywords: high-load; hypertrophy; low-load; muscular endurance; strength.

Publication types

  • Review