|Strength, size and conditioning, you want them all, this article has it all.|
The first one is Brad Schoenfelds 3x1-day full body vs. 3-day split training comparison in well-trained athletes with interesting, but not mind-blowing results. The second one is a study in which scientists from the San José State University prove that Kettlebell training can be an effective aerobic training even in trained rather endurance-oriented athletes like female collegiate division I soccer players.
- Influence of Resistance Training Frequency on Muscular Adaptations in Well-Trained Men (Schoenfeld. 2015) - In essence, Schoenfeld's study was designed to answer the often-asked question, whether SPLIT training is superior to TOTAL body training.
One of the many strengths of the study is that Schoenfeld et al. recruited well-trained subjects, who had been resistance training a minimum of 3 days-per-week for at least 1 year, with a mean lifting experience of 4.5 ± 3.1 years. In addition, the subjects were not just randomly assigned to the two study groups, but initially pair matched according to baseline strength and then randomly assigned to 1 of the 2 experimental groups:
Table 1: Overview of the training protocols (Schoenfeld. 2015) Figure 1: A brief glimpse should suffice to tell that the biceps, triceps and vastus lateralis (from left to right) gains didn't differ between the SPLIT and the TOTAL group (Schoenfeld. 2015). Figure 2: Changes in 1-RM bench (left) and squat (right) performance (Schoenfeld. 2015) - Again, the workout routines worked their magic, but there's no statistically significant difference for these values.
"[t]he findings suggest a potentially superior hypertrophic benefit to higher weekly resistance training frequencies" (Schoenfeld. 2015)is correct and using a split workout to train each muscle once a week is minimally inferior to full body training twice a week. The difference, however, is less significant than many of you may have suspected. One thing to keep in mind here is that the results may have been skewed by the novelty factor of changing programs. As Schoenfeld et al. highlight in the paper, 16 of the 19 subjects reported training with a split routine on a regular basis, in the pre-interview. As they rightly point out, the topic is not well studied, but
"[...] there is some evidence to indicate that muscular adaptations are enhanced when program variables are altered outside of traditional norms. Thus, it is conceivable that those in TOTAL benefited from the unaccustomed stimulus of training more frequently" (Schoenfeld. 2015).If that's the case, this is just another argument in favor or training periodization, i.e. mixing split and full-body routines, high volume, lower intensity with high intensity, lower volume training up in regular cycles, to keep a certain degree of novelty over a long(er) time frame.
- Effects of Kettlebell Training on Aerobic Capacity (Falatic. 2015) - In the past decade, kettlebell (KB) training has gained popularity in the United States and become a viable option for strength training and conditioning. Kettlebells are an ideal tool for ballistic full-body exercises using high muscle forces, making them potentially useful for improving muscular strength and cardiorespiratory fitness. Even I have written about it before, although, I personally don't like doing it ;-)
In a recent study, researchers from the San José State University tested the effect of kettlebell training on seventeen female National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I soccer players (age: 19.7 ± 1.0 years, height: 166.1 ± 6.4 cm, weight: 64.2 ± 8.2 kg).
- Both groups trained 3 days a week for 4 weeks in addition to their off-season strength and conditioning program. All workouts lasted 20 minutes.
- The KB group performed the 15:15 MVO2 protocol (20 minutes of kettlebell snatching with 15 seconds of work and rest intervals; they were instructed to perform their snatches as fast as possible.
- The CWT group performed multiple free-weight and dynamic body-weight exercises as part of a continuous circuit program for 20 minutes.
Figure 3: Changes in body weight (n.s.) and VO2max (significant only for KB | Falatic. 2015).
- Falatic et al. "Effects of Kettlebell Training on Aerobic Capacity." Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 29(7): 1943–1947.
- Schoenfeld et al. "Influence of Resistance Training Frequency on Muscular Adaptations in Well-Trained Men." Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 29(7): 1821–1829.