Changes in Muscle Hypertrophy in Women with Periodized Resistance Training

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Adaptations of arm and thigh muscle hypertrophy to different long-term periodized resistance training programs and the influence of upper body resistance training were examined.


Eighty-five untrained women (mean age = 23.1 ± 3.5 yr) started in one of the following groups: total-body training [TP, N = 18 (3–8 RM training range) and TH, N = 21 (8–12 RM training range)], upper-body training [UP, N = 21 (3–8 RM training range) and UH, N = 19, (8–12 RM training range)], or a control group (CON, N = 6). Training took place on three alternating days per week for 24 wk. Assessments of body composition, muscular performance, and muscle cross-sectional area (CSA) via magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were determined pretraining (T1), and after 12 (T2) and 24 wk (T3) of training.


Arm CSA increased at T2 (∼11%) and T3 (∼6%) in all training groups and thigh CSA increased at T2 (∼3%) and T3 (∼4.5%) only in TP and TH. Squat one-repetition maximum (1 RM) increased at T2 (∼24%) and T3 (∼11.5%) only in TP and TH and all training groups increased 1 RM bench press at T2 (∼16.5%) and T3 (∼12.4%). Peak power produced during loaded jump squats increased from T1 to T3 only in TP (12%) and TH (7%). Peak power during the ballistic bench press increased at T2 only in TP and increased from T1 to T3 in all training groups.


Training specificity was supported (as sole upper-body training did not influence lower-body musculature) along with the inclusion of heavier loading ranges in a periodized resistance-training program. This may be advantageous in a total conditioning program directed at development of muscle tissue mass in young women.

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