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Title: Changes in agonist neural drive, hypertrophy and pre-training strength all contribute to the individual strength gains after resistance training
Authors: Balshaw, Thomas G.
Massey, Garry J.
Maden-Wilkinson, Thomas M.
Morales-Artacho, Antonio J.
McKeown, Alexandra
Appleby, Clare L.
Folland, Jonathan P.
Keywords: Strength training
Neural drive
Muscle volume
Muscle architecture
Between-individual variability
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: © The Authors. Published by Springer.
Citation: BALSHAW, T.G. ...et al., 2017. Changes in agonist neural drive, hypertrophy and pre-training strength all contribute to the individual strength gains after resistance training. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 117 (4), pp. 631–640.
Abstract: © 2017 The Author(s)Purpose: Whilst neural and morphological adaptations following resistance training (RT) have been investigated extensively at a group level, relatively little is known about the contribution of specific physiological mechanisms, or pre-training strength, to the individual changes in strength following training. This study investigated the contribution of multiple underpinning neural [agonist EMG (QEMGMVT), antagonist EMG (HEMGANTAG)] and morphological variables [total quadriceps volume (QUADSVOL), and muscle fascicle pennation angle (QUADSθp)], as well as pre-training strength, to the individual changes in strength after 12 weeks of knee extensor RT. Methods: Twenty-eight healthy young men completed 12 weeks of isometric knee extensor RT (3/week). Isometric maximum voluntary torque (MVT) was assessed pre- and post-RT, as were simultaneous neural drive to the agonist (QEMGMVT) and antagonist (HEMGANTAG). In addition QUADSVOL was determined with MRI and QUADSθp with B-mode ultrasound. Results: Percentage changes (∆) in MVT were correlated to ∆QEMGMVT (r = 0.576, P = 0.001), ∆QUADSVOL (r = 0.461, P = 0.014), and pre-training MVT (r = −0.429, P = 0.023), but not ∆HEMGANTAG (r = 0.298, P = 0.123) or ∆QUADSθp (r = −0.207, P = 0.291). Multiple regression analysis revealed 59.9% of the total variance in ∆MVT after RT to be explained by ∆QEMGMVT (30.6%), ∆QUADSVOL (18.7%), and pre-training MVT (10.6%). Conclusions: Changes in agonist neural drive, quadriceps muscle volume and pre-training strength combined to explain the majority of the variance in strength changes after knee extensor RT (~60%) and adaptations in agonist neural drive were the most important single predictor during this short-term intervention.
Description: This is an Open Access Article. It is published by Springer under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported Licence (CC BY). Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Sponsor: This study was supported financially by the Arthritis Research UK Centre for Sport, Exercise, and Osteoarthritis (Grant reference 20194).
Version: Published
DOI: 10.1007/s00421-017-3560-x
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/24502
Publisher Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00421-017-3560-x
ISSN: 1439-6319
Appears in Collections:Published Articles (Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences)

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