Preprint / Version 1

Long-term time-course of strength adaptation to minimal dose resistance training

Retrospective longitudinal growth modelling of a large cohort through training records


  • James Steele
  • James Fisher
  • Jürgen Giessing
  • Patroklos Androulakis-Korakakis
  • Milo Wolf
  • Bram Kroeske
  • Rob Reuters



age, growth, longitudinal, sex, strength training


Objective: Public health guidelines for resistance training typically emphasize a minimal effective dose approach. The intention for such guidelines is that individuals engage in these behaviors over the long-term. However, relatively few studies have examined the longitudinal time-course of strength adaptations to resistance training and those which have typically utilize small samples and/or athletic populations. Further, no studies have employed approaches to incorporate participant level random factors into modelling. Thus, the aim of this study was to examine the time-course of strength development resulting from continued participation in minimal dose resistance training in a large sample through retrospective training records. Methods: Data was available for analysis from 14,690 participants who had undergone minimal dose resistance training (1x/week, single sets to momentary failure of six exercises) with records ranging up to 352 weeks (~6.8 years) in length. Linear-log growth models examining the development of strength over time were fit allowing random intercepts and slopes by participant. In addition, the interaction of sex and age were examined as fixed effects. Results: All models demonstrated a robust linear-log relationship which on the untransformed time scale clearly demonstrated the presence of a plateau in strength development around ~1 year into training after which strength was essentially maintained with minimal growth. Sex and age had minimal interaction effects. Conclusions: Substantial strength gains are possible with the use of a minimal dose resistance training approach. Though, these begin to plateau after ~1 year of training with little impact from sex or age on the emergence of this plateau. It is unclear if this plateau can be overcome through alternative approaches. Considering this, our results support public health recommendations for minimal dose resistance training to induce and maintain strength adaptations in adults.