Fatigue contributes to the strength training stimulus

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1994 Sep;26(9):1160-4.


To investigate the role of fatigue in strength training, strength increases produced by a training protocol in which subjects rested between contractions were compared with those produced when subjects did not rest. Forty-two healthy subjects were randomly allocated to either a no-rest group, a rest group, or a control group. Subjects in the two training groups trained their elbow flexor muscles by lifting a 6RM weight 6-10 times on 3 d each week for 6 wk. Subjects in the no-rest group performed repeated lifts without resting, whereas subjects in the rest group rested for 30 s between lifts. Both training groups performed the same number of lifts at the same relative intensity. The control group did not train. Subjects who trained without rests experienced significantly greater mean increases in dynamic strength (56.3% +/- 6.8% (SD)) than subjects who trained with rests (41.2% +/- 6.6%), and both training groups experienced significantly greater mean increases in dynamic strength than the control group (19.7% +/- 6.6%). It was concluded that greater short-term strength increases are achieved when subjects are required to lift training weights without resting. These findings suggest that processes associated with fatigue contribute to the strength training stimulus.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Isometric Contraction*
  • Male
  • Muscle Fatigue / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Rest / physiology
  • Weight Lifting / physiology*