Study: strength training in the early morning results in as much muscle mass as training in the afternoon
If you who have the freedom to work out any time of day or night, then it might be a good idea to train at the end of the afternoon or at the beginning of the evening, and not early in the morning. That may yield just a little more muscle, according to quite a few studies. But according to the research that the Slovakian movement scientist Milan Sedliak will soon publish in Chronobiology International, it does not matter.
Sedliak had 11 untrained males in their twenties perform a a full body workout for 11 weeks twice a week between 7.30 and 8.30 in the morning. A group of 7 men did the same, but then in the afternoon between 16.00 and 17.00. A control group of 7 men did not work out.
Sedliak determined before, during and after the training period how much isometric force the subjects could develop. Isometric force is a - not always reliable - indicator of real life muscle strength. Both groups became equally stronger.
Before and after training period, Sedliak determined the size of the leg muscle quadriceps femoris using MRI scans - and discovered that the size had increased in both groups equally.
The results of Sedliak are surprising. Everything we knew about the chronobiology of exercise suggested that strength workouts should be just a little more effective at the end of the afternoon or the beginning of the evening than workouts in the mornings.
Sedliak discovered that morning workouts result in a stronger activity of the anabolic signal molecule p70S6 than sessions later in the day. This effect
is perhaps so strong that all other known factors, which would make workouts more effective later in the day, no longer play a significant role.
"In previously untrained young men, comparable gains in lower extremity muscle mass and strength can be achieved regardless of whether training is performed in the morning or in the afternoon hours", Sedliak summarizes. "This seems to hold true when the training period last from 10 to 12 weeks."
What would Sedliak have found if his experiment had lasted longer than 12 weeks?
More coming soon.
Chronobiol Int. 2017 Dec 28:1-15. doi: 10.1080/07420528.2017.1411360. [Epub ahead of print].
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