Training load but not fatigue affects cross-education of maximal voluntary force

David Colomer-Poveda*, Salvador Romero-Arenas, Juan Farinas, Eliseo Iglesias-Soler, Tibor Hortobagyi, Gonzalo Marquez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of training load (25% vs. 75% of one repetition maximum [1RM]) and fatigue (failure vs. non-failure) during four weeks of unilateral knee extension resistance training (RT) on maximal voluntary force in the trained and the untrained knee extensors. Healthy young adults (n = 42) were randomly assigned to control (CON, n = 9, 24 +/- 4.3 years), low-load RT to failure (LLF, n = 11, 21 +/- 1.3 years, three sets to failure at 25% of 1RM), high-load RT to failure (HLF, n = 11, 21 +/- 1.4 years, three sets to failure at 75% of 1RM), and high-load RT without failure (HLNF, n = 11, 22 +/- 1.5 years, six sets of five repetitions at 75% of 1RM) groups. Before and after the four weeks of training, 1RM, maximal voluntary isometric force, and corticospinal excitability (CSE) were measured. 1RM in the trained (20%, d = 0.70, 15%, d = 0.61) and the untrained knee extensors (5%, d = 0.27, 6%, d = 0.26) increased only in the HLF and HLNF groups, respectively. MVIC force increased only in the trained leg of the HLF (5%, d = 0.35) and HLNF groups (12%, d = 0.67). CSE decreased in the VL of both legs in the HLNF group (-19%, d = 0.44) and no changes occurred in the RF. In conclusion, high- but not low-load RT improves maximal voluntary force in the trained and the untrained knee extensors and fatigue did not further enhance these adaptations. Voluntary force improvements were unrelated to CSE changes in both legs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-324
Number of pages12
JournalScandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports
Issue number2
Early online date10-Oct-2020
Publication statusPublished - Feb-2021


  • corticospinal excitability
  • interlimb transfer
  • knee extensors
  • resistance training

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