Low-load high volume resistance exercise stimulates muscle protein synthesis more than high-load low volume resistance exercise in young men

Nicholas A. Burd, Daniel W.D. West, Aaron W. Staples, Philip J. Atherton, Jeff M. Baker, Daniel R. Moore, Andrew M. Holwerda, Gianni Parise, Michael J. Rennie, Steven K. Baker, Stuart M. Phillips

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: We aimed to determine the effect of resistance exercise intensity (% 1 repetition maximum-1RM) andvolume on muscle protein synthesis, anabolic signaling, and myogenic gene expression.Methodology/Principal Findings: Fifteen men (2161 years; BMI = 24.160.8 kg/m2) performed 4 sets of unilateral legextension exercise at different exercise loads and/or volumes: 90% of repetition maximum (1RM) until volitional failure(90FAIL), 30% 1RM work-matched to 90%FAIL (30WM), or 30% 1RM performed until volitional failure (30FAIL). Infusion of[ring-13C6] phenylalanine with biopsies was used to measure rates of mixed (MIX), myofibrillar (MYO), and sarcoplasmic(SARC) protein synthesis at rest, and 4 h and 24 h after exercise. Exercise at 30WM induced a significant increase above restin MIX (121%) and MYO (87%) protein synthesis at 4 h post-exercise and but at 24 h in the MIX only. The increase in the rateof protein synthesis in MIX and MYO at 4 h post-exercise with 90FAIL and 30FAIL was greater than 30WM, with nodifference between these conditions; however, MYO remained elevated (199%) above rest at 24 h only in 30FAIL. There wasa significant increase in AktSer473 at 24h in all conditions (P = 0.023) and mTORSer2448 phosphorylation at 4 h post-exercise(P = 0.025). Phosporylation of Erk1/2Tyr202/204, p70S6KThr389, and 4E-BP1Thr37/46 increased significantly (P,0.05) only in the30FAIL condition at 4 h post-exercise, whereas, 4E-BP1Thr37/46 phosphorylation was greater 24 h after exercise than at rest inboth 90FAIL (237%) and 30FAIL (312%) conditions. Pax7 mRNA expression increased at 24 h post-exercise (P = 0.02)regardless of condition. The mRNA expression of MyoD and myogenin were consistently elevated in the 30FAIL condition.Conclusions/Significance: These results suggest that low-load high volume resistance exercise is more effective in inducingacute muscle anabolism than high-load low volume or work matched resistance exercise modes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12033
JournalPloS one
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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