Variable Vs. Constant Resistance

Variable Vs. Constant Resistance When the load varies with the force angle relationship, muscle fatigue is greater and the hormone response to training is elevated compared to constant resistance. A study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology examines whether these factors result in greater gains over 20 weeks of training.

Twelve subjects took part in constant resistance training while 11 were assigned to variable resistance. Compared to measurements taken before the program began, variable resistance increased reps to fatigue by 41% and volume load by 52%. Variable resistance also improved subject's resistance to fatigue more effectively than constant resistance. Maximum strength and muscle size gains were similar for both groups.

True Strength Moment: If you've been lifting constant resistance for a while, switching in some variable work using cam-operated machines or resistance bands might be a great way to change up your stale routine and push through a plateau. For a comparison of functional and traditional resistance training, read today's Performance Blog at
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