The effects of adding single-joint exercises to a multi-joint exercise resistance training program on upper body muscle strength and size in trained men

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Henrique Silvestre de França, Paulo Alexandre Nordeste Branco, Dilmar Pinto Guedes Junior, Paulo Gentil, James Steele, Cauê Vazquez La Scala Teixeira. Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, v. 40, p. 822-826, 2015.

Abstract: The aim of this study was compare changes in upper body muscle strength and size in trained men performing resistance training (RT) programs involving multi-joint plus single-joint (MJ+SJ) or only multi-joint (MJ) exercises. Twenty young men with at least 2 years of experience in RT were randomized in 2 groups: MJ+SJ (n = 10; age, 27.7 ± 6.6 years) and MJ (n = 10; age, 29.4 ± 4.6 years). Both groups trained for 8 weeks following a linear periodization model. Measures of elbow flexors and extensors 1-repetition maximum (1RM), flexed arm circumference (FAC), and arm muscle circumference (AMC) were taken pre- and post-training period. Both groups significantly increased 1RM for elbow flexion (4.99% and 6.42% for MJ and MJ+SJ, respectively), extension (10.60% vs 9.79%, for MJ and MJ+SJ, respectively), FAC (1.72% vs 1.45%, for MJ and MJ+SJ, respectively), and AMC (1.33% vs 3.17% for MJ and MJ+SJ, respectively). Comparison between groups revealed no significant difference in any variable. In conclusion, 8 weeks of RT involving MJ or MJ+SJ resulted in similar alterations in muscle strength and size in trained participants. Therefore, the addition of SJ exercises to a RT program involving MJ exercises does not seem to promote additional benefits to trained men, suggesting MJ-only RT to be a time-efficient approach.