Training-induced changes in muscle architecture and specific tension

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Abstract

Five men underwent unilateral resistance training of elbow extensor (triceps brachii) muscles for 16 weeks. Before and after training, muscle layer thickness and fascicle angles of the long head of the triceps muscle were measured in vivo using B-mode ultrasound, and fascicle lengths were estimated. Series anatomical cross-sectional areas (ACSA) of the triceps brachii muscle were measured by magnetic resonance imaging, from which muscle volume (Vm) was determined and physiological cross-sectional area (PCSA) was calculated. Elbow extension strength (isometric; concentric and eccentric at 30, 90 and 180°·s−1) was measured using an isokinetic dynamometer to determine specific tension. Muscle volumes, ACSA, PCSA, muscle layer thickness and fascicle angles increased after training and their relative changes were similar, while muscle and fascicle length did not change. Muscle strength increased at all velocities; however, specific tension decreased after training. Increase in fascicle angles, which would be the result of increasedV m and PCSA, would seem to imply the occurrence of changes in muscle architecture. This might have given a negative effect on the force-generating properties of the muscles.