Two Must-Read Research Studies for Lifters

By Eric Wagner on March 8, 2016

We here at Gravitus love it when we see research that pertains to lifting. Recently, two studies have emerged that are highly relevant to what we do, and we wanted to share those with you.

AJCN Muscle Anabolism Study

Higher compared with lower dietary protein during an energy deficit combined with intense exercise promotes greater lean mass gain and fat mass loss: a randomized trial

This study put a group of young men on a 40% caloric deficit, trained them over 4 weeks (6 days/wk of resistance and interval training), and separated them into two groups based on high vs low protein daily consumption:

  1. High protein: 2.4g/kg (1.1g/lb) bodyweight
  2. Low protein: 1.2g/kg (0.54g/lb) bodyweight

They found that the high protein group lost more fat than the low protein group and was even able to gain lean muscle mass:

  1. High protein: +1.2 kg (2.6 lbs) lean mass, -4.8 kg (10.6 lbs) fat mass
  2. Low protien: +0 kg lean mass, -3.7 kg (8.2 lbs) fat mass

Here's the catch (and you only learn this if you read the full text of the article): the study was done on overweight, untrained individuals with the only requirement being that they participate in some form of physical activity 1-2x/week.

JSCR Rest Interval Study

Longer inter-set rest periods enhance muscle strength and hypertrophy in resistance- trained men

This 8-week study takes a group of young resistance-trained men and has them perform 3 sets of 8-12 reps on each of 7 movements (bench, squat, etc), 3 days a week. They are separated into two groups:

  1. High rest: rest 3 minutes between sets
  2. Low rest: rest 1 minute between sets

What they found is that the high rest group made greater increases in muscle thickness (they measured biceps, triceps, quads, etc.) and strength (bench, squat) as compared to the low rest group. You can refer to the full text of the study for the exact numbers.

Endurance gains were not significantly different between the two groups.

The authors do a great job comparing the results of this study to those of related studies. An important takeaway from this section is that a study by Ahtianinen and others compared 2 vs 5 mins rest time and found no difference in adaptation. The author's conclusion is that perhaps increasing rest time beyond 2 minutes has little significant effect on strength / lean mass gains.

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Eric is the Co-Founder & CEO of Gravitus. His passion for design, tech and setting PRs at the gym led him to start the company and create the app that we know and love.