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Muscle fiber types in women athletes and non-athletes

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Summary

Muscle biopsies were obtained from the vastus lateralis muscle of 5 female collegiate field hockey players and 5 untrained female students. The fibers were classified histochemically as fast-twitchoxidative-glycolytic (FOG), fast-twitch-glycolytic (FG) and slow-twitch-oxidative (SO). The fibers were found to be similar to those of males in distribution and histochemical properties, but were smaller. In the women athletes all 3 fiber types were larger than the respective fibers in the controls. Also, the athletes had a much higher percentage of oxidative fibers (SO+FOG), 83% vs. 46%. A direct relationship between fiber size and oxidative activity was observed in fasttwitch fibers, whereas the reverse was found in slowtwitch fibers.

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Prince, F.P., Hikida, R.S. & Hagerman, F.C. Muscle fiber types in women athletes and non-athletes. Pflugers Arch. 371, 161–165 (1977). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00580785

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Key words

  • Human muscle
  • Fiber types
  • Women
  • Exercise