January 15, 2021

Does Varying Repetition Tempo in a Single-Joint Lower Body Exercise Augment Muscle Size and Strength in Resistance-Trained Men?

Research by:

Pearson J., Wadhi T., Barakat C., Aube D., Schoenfeld B., Andersen JC.,  Barroso R., Ugrinowitsch C., De Souza E.

This study compared the effects of FAST and SLOW eccentric repetition tempo in a single exercise volume-matched intervention on muscle thickness (MT) and strength in resistance-trained men.

Using a within-subject design, 13 subjects had each leg randomly assigned to SLOW (1-0-3) or FAST (1-0-1) repetition tempo. Subjects underwent an 8-week strength-training (ST) intervention performed twice weekly. Unilateral leg-extension one repetition-maximum (1RM) and anterior thigh MT at the proximal (MTP) and distal (MTD) portions were assessed via ultrasound imaging at baseline and after 8 weeks of RT.

Rating of perceived exertion (RPE) assessments of the training sessions (i.e., 16 per leg) were averaged for further analysis.

Both legs similarly increased MTP (estimated differences: FAST: 0.24 cm, 3.6%; SLOW: 0.20 cm, 3.1%). However, for MTD, analysis of covariance analysis showed a leg effect (p 5 0.02) in which absolute pre-to-post change was greater in FAST compared with SLOW (estimated differences: FAST 0.23 cm, 5.5%; SLOW: 0.13 cm, 2.2%). For 1RM, both legs similarly increased maximum strength (estimated differences: FAST: 9.1 kg, 17.0%; SLOW: 10.4 kg, 22.1%, p # 0.0001). The SLOW group had a higher RPE than FAST (8.59 vs. 7.98, p 5 0.002).

Despite differences in RPE, our results indicate that both repetition tempos produced similar muscular adaptations. However, they also suggest that the FAST tempo may provide a small hypertrophic advantage at the distal quadriceps. From a practical standpoint, strength and conditioning professionals may implement a FAST tempo at least in one single-joint exercise during an 8-week training period to enhance regional hypertrophic adaptations in trained individuals.

Read Full Article On: Research Gate

By: Chris Barakat, MS, ATC, CISSN