Resistance training protocols promote strength increase without morphological changes

Andressa Prata Leite Damiani, Leonardo Carvalho Caldas, Alexandre Barroso Melo, Catarina Denise Entringer Contreiro, Wagner Muller Estevam, Breno Valentim Nogueira, Lucas Guimarães Ferreira, André Soares Leopoldo, Ana Paula Lima Leopoldo

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Introduction: Resistance training (RT) has been related to increased protein synthesis, and in the myocar-dium it triggers morphological adaptations that result in improved cardiac contractility. In skeletal muscle, RT promotes an improvement in functional capacity and in sarcopenia caused by aging. However, the efficacy of this training method in the cardiac and skeletal systems has not yet been clarified. Objective: To investigate the effect of different vertical ladder RT protocols on cardiac and skeletal structure and morphology. Materials and Methods: Wistar rats (n = 28) were randomized into four groups: sedentary (C); RT protocol with 4 to 9 climbs, 3 sessions/week, 120 second interval and intensity of 50% to 100% of the maximum load (ML) with progressive addition of 30 g (RT1); RT protocol with 4 to 5 climbs, 3 sessions/week, 60 second interval and intensity of 50% to 100% of the ML, where a 30 g overload was added in the 5th climb (RT2); RT protocol with 4 to 5 climbs, 5 sessions/week, 60 second interval and intensity of 50% to 100% of the ML; the animals that completed the 4th climb underwent the 5th climb with 100% ML plus 30 g (RT3). RT protocols were performed for 9 weeks with a duration of 30 to 45 minutes/day. The nutritional profile and cardiac/skeletal muscle morphology were evaluated along with the cross sectional area and collagen fraction. Results: RT did not promote adaptations in cardiac and musculoskeletal structure and morphology, nor was it able to reduce body weight and body fat deposits. However, RT brought about an increase in absolute and relative strength. Conclusion: Vertical ladder RT protocols, regardless of weekly frequency, lead to increased muscle strength without cardiac and skeletal structural adaptations. Level of evidence I, Therapeutic studies-Investigating treatment results.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-257
Number of pages5
JournalRevista Brasileira de Medicina do Esporte
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020

Bibliographical note

Open Access under a Creative Commons license - CC BY-NC


Funding Information:
We are grateful to the UFES Ultrastructure Cellular Carlos Alberto Redins Laboratory and Immunohistochemistry Laboratory for their partnership and to the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa e Inovação do Espírito Santo (Foundation for Support to Research and Innovation of the State of Espírito Santo) for their financial support (process: 72505028).


  • Heart
  • Resistance training
  • Skeletal muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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