Chronic Musculoskeletal Adaptations to Exercise
Effects of Deconditioning[edit | edit source]
Deconditioning or detraining refers to changes in the body that occur after a period of inactivity. These changes occur in the heart, lungs and muscles. The effects of detraining on body systems are summarised in Table 1.
|↓ EMG activity
↓mean muscle fibre cross-sectional area
↓ muscle strength and power
↓ muscle mass
|↓ maximal oxygen uptake
↑ mean blood pressure
↑ submaximal heart rate
↓ maximal cardiac output
↓ lactate threshold
↓ endurance performance
↓ blood volume
↓ plasma volume
↓ heart volume
↓ orthostatic tolerance
|↓ up to 2.5% in bone mineral density
↓ oxidative enzymes activity
↓ glycogen synthase activity
↓ mitochondrial ATP production
↓ tendon quality
Read more: The effect of detraining on body systems and the evidence for the effects of detraining.
Common Training Principles[edit | edit source]
- Reversibility principle:
- benefits of training are transient and reversible
- after 2 weeks of detraining there is a measurable reduction in work capacity
- Overload principle:
- a system must be exercised at a level beyond which it is presently accustomed to for a training effect to occur
- Specificity principle:
- there is variation in response to a training programme as individuals respond differently to the same training programme
Read more: Common Training Principles.
Musculoskeletal Adaptations to Exercise[edit | edit source]
Resistance Training[edit | edit source]
- Resistance training yields substantial strength gains via neuromuscular changes
- Important for overall fitness and health
- Critical for athletic training programmes
Gains in Muscular Fitness[edit | edit source]
- After 3 to 6 months of resistance training, there is:
- Strength gains result from:
- increased muscle size
- altered neural control
Mechanisms of Muscle Strength Gains[edit | edit source]
Neural Control[edit | edit source]
- Strength gains cannot occur without neural adaptations via plasticity
- Strength gains can occur without hypertrophy
Neural adaptations[edit | edit source]
- Increased central drive (from the higher centres of the brain) after resistance training is partly responsible for the increase in strength
- Increased motor unit (MU) synchronisation (i.e. several motor units firing at similar times)
- Decrease in the force threshold at which motor units are recruited
- Increased motor unit firing rate
- Decrease in the level of co-activation of antagonist muscles after training
Strength Training Model[edit | edit source]
Please refer back to the course video, Chronic Adaptations to Exercise - Musculoskeletal, for a detailed discussion of these concepts. In summary:
- neurological changes with resistance training occur predominantly in the early phases of a training programme
- strong, rapid gains in strength occur relatively quickly and consistently
- over time, improvements in strength reach a plateau
The video below provides a good explanation of neural adaptations to resistance exercise, strength and hypertrophy.
Motor Unit Recruitment[edit | edit source]
Motor unit = efferent neuron and all of the muscle fibres that it innervates.
- Normally motor units are recruited asynchronously
- Synchronous recruitment leads to strength gains:
- facilitates contraction
- may produce more forceful contraction
- improves rate of force development
- increased capability to exert steady forces
- Resistance training leads to synchronous recruitment
- Strength gains may also result from greater motor unit recruitment
- It is likely that some combination of improved motor unit synchronisation and motor unit recruitment results in strength gains
Read more: Motor Units.
Autogenic Inhibition[edit | edit source]
- Normal intrinsic inhibitory mechanisms:
- Resistance training can gradually decrease or counteract inhibitory impulses:
Muscle Hypertrophy[edit | edit source]
- Hypertrophy = increase in muscle mass and cross-sectional area
- Transient hypertrophy (after a single exercise bout) - the "pumping-up" of muscle that happens during a resistance training session
- this is due to oedema formation from plasma fluid
- it disappears within hours
- Chronic hypertrophy (long term)
- reflects actual structural change in muscle
- fibre hypertrophy, fibre hyperplasia, or both
Fibre Hypertrophy[edit | edit source]
- More myofibrils
- More actin, myosin filaments
- More sarcoplasma
- More connective tissue
- Resistance training results in an increase in protein synthesis:
- Testosterone facilitates fibre hypertrophy:
- natural anabolic steroid hormone
- synthetic anabolic steroid use results in a large increase in muscle mass
Fibre Hyperplasia[edit | edit source]
- most hypertrophy is due to fibre hypertrophy
- fibre hyperplasia may also contribute
- fibre hypertrophy versus fibre hyperplasia may depend on resistance training intensity / load
- higher intensity results in type II muscle fibre hypertrophy
- fibre hyperplasia may only occur in certain individuals under certain conditions
Whether hyperplasia occurs in adult skeletal muscle is debatable. There are concerns about the methods and measurements used in studies investigating hyperplasia. "A firm conclusion with regards to whether physiologically relevant forms of mechanical loading can induce hyperplasia remains elusive." Hyperplasia has been largely dismissed as a significant contributor to skeletal muscle hypertrophy in mammals.
Neural Activation and Hypertrophy[edit | edit source]
|Short-term increase in muscle strength||Long-term increase in muscle strength|
|Substantial increase in 1 repetition max (1RM)||Associated with significant fibre hypertrophy|
|Due to an increase in voluntary neural activation||Net increase in protein synthesis takes time to occur|
|Neural factors are critical in the first 8 to 10 weeks||Hypertrophy is the major factor after 8 -10 weeks|
Immobilisation and Muscle Strength[edit | edit source]
- Major changes occur after 6 hours of immobilisation:
- lack of muscle use leads to reduced rate of protein synthesis
- initiates process of muscle atrophy
- During the first week: strength loss of 3-4% per day
- (Reversible) effects on types I and II fibres
- cross-sectional area decreases, cell contents degenerate
- type I fibres are affected more than type II fibres
References[edit | edit source]
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