Long-Term Time-Course of Strength Adaptation to Minimal Dose Resistance Training Through Retrospective Longitudinal Growth Modeling

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Abstract

Public health guidelines for resistance training emphasize a minimal effective dose intending for individuals to engage in these behaviors long term. However, few studies have adequately examined the longitudinal time-course of strength adaptations to resistance training. Purpose: The aim of this study was to examine the time-course of strength development from minimal-dose resistance training in a large sample through retrospective training records from a private international exercise company. Methods: Data were available for analysis from 14,690 participants (60% female; aged 48 ± 11 years) having undergone minimal-dose resistance training (1x/week, single sets to momentary failure of six exercises) up to 352 weeks (~6.8 years) in length. Linear-log growth models examined strength development over time allowing random intercepts and slopes by participant. Results: All models demonstrated a robust linear-log relationship with the first derivatives (i.e., changes in strength with time) trending asymptotically such that by ~1-2 years strength had practically reached a “plateau.” Sex, bodyweight, and age had minimal interaction effects. However, substantial strength gains were apparent; approximately ~30–50% gains over the first year reaching ~50–60% of baseline 6 years later. Conclusion: It is unclear if the “plateau” can be overcome through alternative approaches, or whether over the long-term strength gains differ. Considering this, our results support public health recommendations for minimal-dose resistance training for strength adaptations in adults.

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Steele, J., Fisher, J. P., Giessing, J., Androulakis-Korakakis, P., Wolf, M., Kroeske, B., & Reuters, R. (2022). Long-Term Time-Course of Strength Adaptation to Minimal Dose Resistance Training Through Retrospective Longitudinal Growth Modeling. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport. https://doi.org/10.1080/02701367.2022.2070592

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