The common perception is that the more you train the more you gain. This perception is now being challenged after an American and British research term found that strength training could be adequately accomplished with just 60 minutes a week. Published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism their study, titled “Neither Repetition Duration nor Number of Muscle Actions Affect Strength Increases”, followed 62 middle aged males who were split into 3 forms of lifting techniques of varying speeds for 10 weeks. The first group conducted their strength training by lifting for two seconds and lowering for four seconds, for an average of twelve reps. The second group conducted their strength training by lifting and lowering for 10 seconds each, for an average of four reps. The third group conducted their strength training by lifting and lowering for 30 seconds each, for an average of just one rep.
All reps were conducting to the point of “momentary failure” for each workout, and regardless of their grouping each participant in the study saw roughly 90 seconds of muscle contraction. At the end of the 10-week study all participants had achieved significant, worthwhile gains in muscle mass, and agreed that no group experienced gains more significant than the others. The study’s abstract states that “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 recognize that the low-volume (single-set), the machine-based protocol employed herein produced worthwhile strength increases in trained participants.”