Story at a glance
- Researchers conducted a four-week training study where three groups performed an arm resistance exercise to compare changes in muscle strength and thickness.
- The groups performed “maximal voluntary eccentric bicep contractions” on a machine that measures muscle strength in each muscle contraction.
- The group that performed six contractions five days each week showed the greatest improvement in muscle strength and thickness.
Muscle building exercises performed in small daily doses could be more effective than one long workout each week, according to a recent study.
“People think they have to do a lengthy session of resistance training in the gym, but that’s not the case,” Ken Nosaka, an Exercise and Sports Science Professor at Edith Cowan University (ECU) said in a media release.
“Just lowering a heavy dumbbell slowly once or six times a day is enough,” he added.
Researchers conducted a four-week training study where three groups performed an arm resistance exercise to compare changes in muscle strength and thickness. The groups performed “maximal voluntary eccentric bicep contractions” on a machine that measures muscle strength in each muscle contraction.
One group completed six contractions five days per week, while another group put in all 30 repetitions in one day. The final group performed six contractions one day per week — this group showed no change in muscle strength or thickness.
The group exercising six days per week experienced a 10 percent increase in strength and improved muscle thickness. The group performing all 30 repetitions once per week saw a change in muscle thickness but had no increase in strength.
Researchers said the group exercising 5 days per week gave their muscles both adequate rest and stimulation.
“We only used the bicep curl exercise in this study, but we believe this would be the case for other muscles also, at least to some extent,” Nosaka said. “Muscle strength is important to our health. This could help prevent a decrease in muscle mass and strength with ageing.”
“A decrease in muscle mass is a cause of many chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, dementia, plus musculoskeletal problems such as osteoporosis,” he concluded.
Only half of American adults are exercising enough to reduce or prevent chronic illnesses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.