Muscle Versus Powerlifting Workouts for Size and Strength

The training program should reflect the desired outcome. Strength athletes, for example, are ill-served by doing a weight-training workout designed to build muscle mass rather than strength. Conversely, fitness-minded guys might do better with a program designed specifically to promote muscle hypertrophy. Brad Schoenfeld from Lehman College in New York City and colleagues found that trained subjects performing muscle-building or powerlifting workouts gained muscle mass equally, but that the powerlifting workouts produced superior strength gains. The muscle-building workout consisted of three sets of 10 reps for three exercises, with 90 seconds of rest between sets. The powerlifting workout consisted of seven sets of three reps, with three minutes of rest between sets. The test subjects were only moderately trained, so the results might not apply to more serious athletes. (Journal Of Strength and Conditioning Research, 28: 2909-2918, 2014)

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