For the increase in the strength it does not matter with which resistance an athlete performs his power training as long as he maintains the exercise till he cannot go on anymore. In such cases, the muscle strength in trained athletes will increase in the same degree. Also, there are no differences, at muscle fiber level and the hormone response.

Strength training is an important part of the training program of many athletes. The fact that this form of training is important for the delivery of a top performance is also described in Article 146. Much has been said and written about strength training but still it is an important topic of discussion for researchers. For example, the traditional idea that the best method to increase muscle strength and volume with heavy weight training and reps, is a point of discussion.  Researchers from Canada have examined in a comprehensive study if a work out with low resistance has a different effect on the increase of strength than training with high resistance. They also examined changes in muscle fiber level and the hormone response.


The resistance during strength training has no effect on the rate of increase in muscle strength and muscle cross section, as long as the athlete performs his exercises to failure. In practice, this means that strength training may consist of low resistance with many repetitions or high resistance and few repetitions. In either case, both the strength and the cross-digit percentages increase slightly, depending on the muscle group. This was the result of a training period of three months during which athletes trained four times a week either at low or at high resistance. They trained different muscle groups and each exercise was to exhaustion. For one group the resistance was 30-50 percent of 1RM, which equates to approximately 20-25 repetitions to failure. The other group trained at 75-90 percent of 1RM. This meant that an athlete could sustain about 8 to 12 repetitions. The athletes repeated each exercise three times.

Besides the fact that the increase in muscle strength and volume appears to be independent of the resistance, there was also no difference between the forms of training in hormone response (growth hormone and testosterone) and muscle fiber in terms of characterization. Although the volume of the muscle fibers showing  the same amount of increase, in each form of training there was no  question of a shift in muscle fiber type.

It is possible to determine the training volume. This volume can be calculated by multiplying the number of repetitions with the resistance. The workout volume was found to be significantly different in this study. The volume of the low-resistance training in twelve weeks was 38 percent lower when compared to the high resistance training.

Low resistance


High resistance



If the goal is to increase the maximum power, so it does not seem as important with which resistance a sportsman performs his strength training as long as he continues to exhaustion. Low resistance training has the advantage that the risk of injuries is likely to be lower, but it takes more time.


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