Int J Sports Med 1988; 09(5): 316-319
DOI: 10.1055/s-2007-1025031
© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

Effect of Reduced Training Frequency on Muscular Strength*

J. E. Graves, M. L. Pollock, S. H. Leggett, R. W. Braith, D. M. Carpenter, L. E. Bishop
  • Center for Exercise Science, College of Medicine and College of Health and Human Performance, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611
* Supported in part by grants from Nautilus Sports/Medical Industries, Deland, FL, and Med X Corporation, Ocala, FL
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Publication History

Publication Date:
14 March 2008 (online)


Twenty-four men and 26 women (25±5 years) participating in 10 weeks (n = 27) and 18 weeks (n = 23) of variable resistance strength training programs were recruited to complete 12 weeks of reduced training. Training consisted of one set of 7-10 bilateral knee extensions performed to volitional failure. Prior to the reduced training phase of the project, the subjects were training either 2 days·week-1 (n = 23) or 3 days·week-1 (n = 18). The subjects who trained 3 days·week-1 reduced training frequency to 2 days·week-1 (n = 9), 1 day·week-1 (n = 7), or 0 days·week-1 (n = 2). The subjects who trained 2 days·week-1 reduced training frequency to 1 day·week-1 (n = 12) or 0 days·week-1 (n = 11). Nine subjects served as controls and did not train. Isometric knee extension strength was assessed at 9, 20, 35, 50, 65, 80, 95, and 110 degrees of knee flexion on two separate occasions prior to and immediately post-training and following reduced training. After training, mean relative increases in peak isometric knee extension strength and dynamic training weight were 21.4%±17.5% (P < 0.01) and 49.5%±14.7% (P < 0.01), respectively. The subjects who stopped training (0 days·week-1) lost 68% (P < 0.01) of the isometric strength gained during training. Strength values for subjects who reduced training to 2 and 1 days·week-1 were not significantly different (P > 0.05) from post-training strength values. These data suggest that muscular strength can be maintained for up to 12 weeks with reduced training frequency.