Timing of Resistance Training During Ramadan Fasting and Its Effects on Muscle Strength and Hypertrophy

Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2023 Apr 17;18(6):579-589. doi: 10.1123/ijspp.2022-0268. Print 2023 Jun 1.


Purpose: During Ramadan month, Muslims often continue training to maintain their muscle performance. However, trainers should stress the importance of the time of day chosen for practicing resistance training (RT) during Ramadan fasting to avoid health and performance alteration. Thus, this study aimed to investigate the effects of the timing of RT during Ramadan intermittent fasting (RIF) on muscle strength and hypertrophy in healthy male adults.

Methods: Forty men were randomly allocated to 2 matched groups: 20 practicing whole-body RT in the late afternoon in a fasted state and 20 training in the late evening in a fed state (FED). Both groups performed 4 days per week of whole-body RT (∼75%-85% 1-repetition maximum, 12 repetitions/3-4 sets) during RIF. Anthropometric measurements and 1-repetition-maximum test for the squats, deadlift, and bench press were measured. A cross-sectional area of the quadriceps and biceps brachii was examined using ultrasound scans. All measurements were taken at 4 time points: 24 hours before the start of Ramadan, on the 15th day of Ramadan, on the 29th day of Ramadan, and 21 days after Ramadan.

Results: Post hoc tests indicated significant preimprovement to postimprovement in FED at the 29th day of Ramadan for the 1-repetition-maximum test for the squats (P = .02; effect size = 0.21) and deadlift (P = .03; effect size = 0.24) when compared to 24 hours before the start of Ramadan. No significant changes were observed in the fasted-state group or for cross-sectional area for both groups.

Conclusions: Practicing RT during RIF appears not to have adverse effects on muscle hypertrophy and strength no matter whether it is practiced in FED or fasted state. However, RT had greater effects on muscle strength when applied in FED. Our findings suggest that training sessions should be scheduled after breaking the fast during Ramadan.

Keywords: adaptation; energy-intake timing; exercise training; males.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Fasting* / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy
  • Islam
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Resistance Training*