Deakin University

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Enhanced skeletal muscle contractile function and corticospinal excitability precede strength and architectural adaptations during lower-limb resistance training

journal contribution
posted on 2023-09-14, 06:31 authored by MT Wilson, AM Hunter, M Fairweather, S Kerr, Lee HamiltonLee Hamilton, LJ Macgregor
Purpose: Evolving investigative techniques are providing greater understanding about the early neuromuscular responses to resistance training among novice exercisers. The aim of this study was to investigate the time-course of changes in muscle contractile mechanics, architecture, neuromuscular, and strength adaptation during the first 6-weeks of lower-limb resistance training. Methods: Forty participants: 22 intervention (10 males/12 females; 173.48 ± 5.20 cm; 74.01 ± 13.13 kg) completed 6-week resistance training, and 18 control (10 males/8 females; 175.52 ± 7.64 cm; 70.92 ± 12.73 kg) performed no resistance training and maintained their habitual activity. Radial muscle displacement (Dm) assessed via tensiomyography, knee extension maximal voluntary contraction (MVC), voluntary activation (VA), corticospinal excitability and inhibition via transcranial magnetic stimulation, motor unit (MU) firing rate, and muscle thickness and pennation angle via ultrasonography were assessed before and after 2, 4, and 6-weeks of dynamic lower-limb resistance training or control. Results: After 2-weeks training, Dm reduced by 19–25% in the intervention group; this was before any changes in neural or morphological measures. After 4-weeks training, MVC increased by 15% along with corticospinal excitability by 16%; however, there was no change in VA, corticospinal inhibition, or MU firing rate. After 6-weeks training there was further MVC increase by 6% along with muscle thickness by 13–16% and pennation angle by 13–14%. Conclusion: Enhanced contractile properties and corticospinal excitability occurred before any muscle architecture, neural, and strength adaptation. Later increases in muscular strength can be accounted for by architectural adaptation.