Today’s article by CT ( https://www.t-nation.com/training/single-best-muscle-building-method ) cites a 2012 article suggesting that equivalent hypertrophy can be achieved with a 30% or 80% load, as long as “fatigue” was achieved. CT himself was surprised at the findings, but he did give useful advice based on the assumption that the research findings are credible. However, I’m not so convinced of the underlying research. There were two points that caught my attention:
The study was conducted on men in their early 20s who “were recreationally active with no formal weightlifting experience or regular weightlifting activity over the last year.” I can think of very few breeding grounds for newbie gains which could hypothetically affect those doing low and high loads to the same extent.
I could probably make this critique about most studies of this nature, but the sample sizes are simply too small to draw any firm conclusions. 18 subjects were assigned to complete 2 of the 3 protocol, leaving me to conclude that on average, 12 subjects completed each of the 3 protocols. My experience as a PhD empirical researcher (granted in a non-health related field) suggest that anything can happen when the sample size is too low (despite low standard errors). This is why we have so many contradictory research findings in health and medical studies: each study is simply to small. When samples are this small, at the very least, researchers should not be conducting analysis with means (which are heavily influenced by outliers). Medians would be far more appropriate.
I’d like to hear other people’s opinions on this research? Is anyone here going to consider dropping loads down to 30%?