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Short strength training may offer as much benefit as longer workout session
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Every gym amateur would say that one-hour training session per week isn't enough to build an impressive physique.
However, contrary to popular belief "The more you train - the more you gain" researchers from a team of American and British strength-training experts proved that strength training could be adequately performed in less than one hour per week.
At the same time, aerobic exercise requires extended longevity of being on a treadmill.
The study "Neither Repetition Duration nor Number of Muscle Actions Affect Strength Increases" published in the August edition of Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, was to discover if short strength sessions with varied lifting techniques would improve muscle gains.
The participants (62 middle-age, male) were divided among three 10-week-long training protocols.
Once a week, all participants performed two strength sessions that included chest presses, leg presses, and pulldowns. However, the researchers controlled for speed.
The first group performed all lifts with two seconds of concentric muscle contraction (raising) and four seconds of eccentric contraction (lowering). The second group did so with 10 seconds of concentric and eccentric muscle contraction, and the third group did so with 30 seconds, respectively.
According to the scientists, all reps were performed to "momentary failure".
In this way, the first group managed to perform at approximately 12 reps, four reps with the second group and one rep with the third group. Moreover, each participant, regardless of group, experienced about 90 seconds of muscle contraction.
As a result, all the participants experienced significant gains over ten weeks, admitting that no one gained more than others.
“Our paper showed that you don’t need to spend two hours in the gym five times a week, as many people think,” James Fisher, the study's lead author, and a professor at Southampton Solent University in Hampshire, England, told The Washington Post.
“Even trained individuals continue to make gains with less than an hour a week. My own workouts take less than 20 minutes, twice a week.”
Here is also what the study's abstract offers us: "Repetition duration does not affect the increases in strength in trained participants where exercise is performed to momentary failure. Since time constraints and perceived difficulty are often cited barriers to exercise, it is important to recognise that the low-volume (single-set), the machine-based protocol employed herein produced worthwhile strength increases in trained participants."