Journal of Human Sport and Exercise

Resistance exercise load reduction and exercise-induced micro-damage

Jaqueline S. Silva, Alexander J. Koch, Joseane C. Medeiros, Michele L. Silva, Marco Machado



High volumes of resistance exercise increase muscle hypertrophy, independent of the extent of muscle damage. We compared volume load and markers of muscle damage after resistance exercise using two load reduction strategies versus a constant intensity.  Methods: Twenty-seven trained men (age = 23.4±3.5 years, body mass = 74.5±10.7 Kg, height = 174±8 cm, 10 RM = 211±40 Kg) completed one weekly bout of 4 sets of leg press exercise under three loading schemes in a randomized, counterbalanced order over a three-week period.  The loading schemes were (a) constant load for all sets (CON), (b) 5% load reduction after each set (LR5), and (c) 10% load reduction after each set (LR10).  Volume load, muscle soreness (SOR), and range of motion (ROM) at the knee were assessed after each bout.  Results: Volume load was significantly different amongst all conditions (CON = 6799±1583 Kg; LR5 = 8753±1789 Kg; 10896±2262 Kg; F= 31,731; p<0.001). ROM and SOR were significantly different among conditions, with LR5 and LR10 producing greater preservations of ROM (p =<0.001) and less SOR (p < 0.001). These data may support the use of load reductions when training for hypertrophy.


Resistance training; Exercise-Induced; Muscle-Damage; Range of motion; Muscle pain


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