Changes in contractile properties of muscle after strength training in man

  • D. Schmidtbleicher
  • G. Haralambie


Thirty young male adults matched in two experimental groups (n=12) and a control group (n=6) were investigated before and after an 8-week strength training period. Group A trained with few repetitions and maximal loads, whereas group B had more repetitions with smaller loads. Both groups lifted the same total load during each training period, four times a week. Maximal voluntary strength (MVS) of a shot-put arm movement, muscular excitability and contractile properties (time to peak of contraction with threshold stimuli, half relaxation time) were measured in M. deltoideus and M. triceps brachii, C. longum, for two durations of stimulation. Increases of 14.8% (group A) and 12.2% (group B) in MVS were observed. Muscle excitability significantly increased in all types of training and both muscles. Significant shortening of the contraction time, dependent on the type of training, was observed in both studied muscles. It appears that the strength training in group A involved the fast fibers of both muscles, whereas in group B the training influence was less marked, and affected both fast and slow fiber types.

Key words

Strength training Muscle contraction velocity Neuromuscular excitability 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Absaljamov T, Zorin W, Koz J (1976) Kontraktionsgeschwindigkeiten von Muskeln und ihre VerÄnderung im sportlichen Training. Leistungssport 6: 58–61Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bosco C, Komi PV (1979) Mechanical characteristics and fiber composition in human leg extensor muscles. Eur J Appl Physiol 41: 275–284Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Boileau R, Massey B, Misner J (1973) Body composition changes in adult men during selected weight training and jogging programs. Res Q 44: 158–168Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bourguignon G, Humbert R (1947) Triple contraction et triple chronaxie du muscle strié normal de l'homme et des mammifères. C R Soc Biol 141: 549–555Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bourguignon G, Bourguignon A (1949) Les trois chronaxies du nerf et du point moteur. C R Soc Biol 143: 780–781Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Buchberger J, Novozamski V (1971) Motor excitability in trained and untrained children. Eur Neurol 5: 7–10Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Buchthal F, Schmalbruch H (1970) Contraction times and fibre types in intact human muscle. Acta Physiol Scand 79: 435–452Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Bührle M, Schmidtbleicher D (1977) Einflu\ von Maximalkrafttraining auf die Bewegungsschnelligkeit. Leistungssport 7: 3–10Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Burke R, Edgerton VR (1975) Motor unit properties and selective involvement in movement. Exercise Sport Sci Rev 3: 31–81Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Costill D, Coyle E, Fink W, Lesmes G, Witzmann F (1979) Adaptations in skeletal muscle following strength training. J Appl Physiol 46: 96–99Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Dons B, Bollerup K, Bonde-Petersen F, Hancke J (1979) The effect of weight-lifting exercise related to muscle fiber composition and muscle cross-sectional area in humans. Eur J Appl Physiol 40: 95–106Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Eberstein A, Goodgold J (1968) Slow and fast-twitch fibers in human skeletal muscle. Am J Physiol 215: 535–541Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Fischer E (1971) In: Licht S (ed) Electrodiagnosis and electromyography. Wawerly-Press, Baltimore, pp 66–112Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Gydikov A, Kosarov D (1973) Physiological characteristics of the tonic and phasic motor units in human muscle. In: Gydikov A, Tankov N, Kosarov D (eds) Motor Control. Plenum Press, New York, pp 75–94Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Hanson J (1974) Effects of repetitive stimulation on membrane potentials and twitch in human and rat intercostal muscle fibers. Acta Physiol Scand 92: 238–248Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Haralambie G (1970) Untersuchungen über neuromuskulÄre Erregbarkeit bei Sportlern. Electromedica 38: 271–273Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Haralambie G (1973) Neuromuscular irritability and serum creatine phosphate kinase in athletes in training. Int Z Angew Physiol 31: 279–288Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Haralambie G, Berg A (1978) Creatine kinase and hexose phosphate isomerase activity in skeletal muscles of healthy male adults. Enzyme 23: 104–107Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Holloszy JO, Booth FW (1976) Biochemical adaptations to endurance exercise in muscle. Ann Rev Physiol 38: 273–291Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Jennekens F, Tomlinson B, Walton J (1971) Data on the distribution of fibre types in five human limb muscles. An autopsy study. J Neurol Sci 14: 245–257Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Johnson MA, Polgar J, Weightman D, Appleton D (1973) Data on the distribution of fibre types in thirty-six human muscles. An autopsy study. J Neurol Sci 18: 111–129Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Komi PV (1979) Neuromuscular performance: Factors influencing force and speed production. Scand J Sports Sci 1: 2–15Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Komi PV, Viitasalo JT, Rauramaa R, Vihko V (1978) Effect of isometric strength training on mechanical, electrical, and metabolic aspects of muscle function. Eur J Appl Physiol 40: 45–55Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Oester YT, Licht S (1971) In: Licht S (ed) Electrodiagnosis and electromyography. Wawerly-Press, Baltimore, pp 201–217Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Partheniu A (1967) L'intervalle phasico-tonique de l'excitabilité neuro-musculaire. Int Z Angew Physiol 24: 333–350Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Schmalbruch H (1970) Die quergestreiften Muskelfasern des Menschen. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New YorkGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Schmidtbleicher D (1980) Maximalkraft und Bewegungsschnelligkeit. Limpert, Bad HomburgGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Sica R, McComas AJ (1971) Fast and slow twitch units in a human muscle. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatr 34: 113–120Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Thorstensson A (1976) Muscle strength, fibre types, and enzyme activities in man. Acta Physiol Scand [Suppl] 443: 45pGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Thorstensson A, Sjödin B, Karlsson J (1975) Enzyme activities and muscle strength after “sprint training” in man. Acta Physiol Scand 94: 313–318Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Thorstensson A, Hultén B, von Döbeln W, Karlsson J (1976) Effect of strength training on enzyme activities and fibre characteristics in human skeletal muscle. Acta Physiol Scand 96: 392–398Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Walthard K, Tchicaloff M (1971) In: Licht S (ed) Electrodiagnosis and electromyography. Wawerly-Press, Baltimore, pp 153–170Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Schmidtbleicher
    • 1
  • G. Haralambie
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Sport und SportwissenschaftAbteilung für Leistungs- und Sportmedizin der UniversitÄt FreiburgFreiburg i. Br.Federal Republic of Germany

Personalised recommendations