What Is The Optimal Exercise Prescription For Muscle Strength and Hypertrophy?
After daily aerobic exercise, strength training may be the most important exercise you perform each week. Strength training has been shown to improve metabolism and mood, functional and athletic capacity, as well as, reduce your risk of injury and slow the effects of aging. Individuals should select exercises targeting large muscle groups performed over multiple joints for optimal effects. A review of the available research reported on the optimal dosing for strength and hypertrophy (muscle growth).
Schoenfeld and collegues reviewed the available literature on exercise prescriptions to improve either strength or muscle hypertrophy (J Strength Cond Res. 2018). In particular, authors wanted to determine the impact of either low (exercise performed at < 60% of your 1 rep max) or high (exercise performed at > 60% of your 1 rep max) load. The authors reviewed 21 studies and found gains in 1 rep maximum strength were highest in the high load groups. Interestingly, no differences in muscle hypertrophy were noted between either low or high load groups. They concluded "maximal strength benefits are obtained from the use of heavy loads while muscle hypertrophy can be equally achieved across a spectrum of loading ranges".