Low-Load Resistance Training to Volitional Failure Induces Muscle Hypertrophy Similar to Volume-Matched, Velocity Fatigue

J Strength Cond Res. 2022 Jun 1;36(6):1576-1581. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003690. Epub 2020 Jul 1.


Terada, K, Kikuchi, N, Burt, D, Voisin, S, and Nakazato, K. Full title: Low-load resistance training to volitional failure induces muscle hypertrophy similar to volume-matched, velocity fatigue. J Strength Cond Res 36(6): 1576-1581, 2022-We investigated how resistance training (RT) to failure at low load affects acute responses and chronic muscle adaptations compared with low-load RT to velocity fatigue at equal work volume. Twenty-seven subjects performed 8 weeks of bench press twice weekly. Subjects were randomly assigned to one of 3 groups: low-load volitional failure (LVoF, n = 9), low-load velocity fatigue (LVeF, n = 8), and high-load (HL, n = 10). Resistance training comprised 3 sets to failure at 40% one repetition maximum (1RM) in the LVoF group, 3 sets to velocity fatigue (20% lifting velocity loss) at 40% 1RM in the LVeF group, and 3 sets of 8 repetitions at 80% 1RM in the HL group. We measured muscle strength, hypertrophy, endurance, and power at baseline and after the RT program. We also measured muscle swelling and blood lactate after each RT bout to investigate the acute response. There were no differences in total work volume between the LVoF and LVeF groups. Responses to RT were similar between LVoF and LVeF, whether looking at acute muscle swelling, increase in blood lactate, chronic hypertrophy, and strength gain. However, LVoF and LVeF RT triggered different responses to muscle function in comparison with HL training: LVoF and LVeF showed enhanced acute responses and greater chronic endurance gains, but lower chronic strength gains than HL. In conclusion, low-load RT to volitional failure induces muscle hypertrophy similar to volume-matched velocity fatigue.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Fatigue
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy
  • Lactates
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Resistance Training* / adverse effects


  • Lactates