European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 112, Issue 10, pp 3629–3639 | Cite as

Divergent muscle functional and architectural responses to two successive high intensity resistance exercise sessions in competitive weightlifters and resistance trained adults

  • Adam Storey
  • Samantha Wong
  • Heather K. Smith
  • Paul Marshall
Original Article


Peak force (PF), contractile rate of force development (RFD) and contractile impulse (CI) are of great importance to competitive weightlifters (WL). These athletes routinely perform successive bouts of high-intensity resistance exercise (HIRE) within the same day (double-day training) with the aim of improving muscular function and weightlifting performance. The purpose of this investigation was to determine and compare the PF, contractile RFD and CI responses to double-day training between WL and resistance trained (RT) adults (n = 16 per group). Furthermore, we sought to establish whether acute changes in muscle function were associated with acute changes in muscle architecture. Isometric front squat PF, contractile RFD, CI and the pennation angle (θp), anatomical and physiological thickness of the m. vastus lateralis (VL) were determined before and after two equivalent HIRE sessions separated by 4–6 h rest. Each session consisted of ten single repetitions of the dynamic barbell front squat interspersed with 2-min rest, using a load equivalent to 90% of the pre-session PF. Weightlifters demonstrated greater PF at all time points when compared to RT adults and exhibited no significant within or between session changes in PF, contractile RFD or CI. Conversely, RT adults demonstrated within- and between-session decreases in PF and between-session increases in contractile RFD and CI. As no correlations were found between the relative within-session changes in muscle function and the concomitant changes in muscle architecture, other factors must contribute to the divergent responses in PF, contractile RFD and CI between WL and RT adults.


Isometric Peak force Rate of force development Contractile impulse Pennation angle Muscle thickness 





Resistance trained


Peak force


Rate of force development


Contractile impulse


High-intensity resistance exercise


m. vastus lateralis


Pennation angle


Physiological cross-sectional area


Maximal voluntary contraction



Samantha Wong was supported by a Health Research Council Summer Studentship Scholarship during this investigation. We would also like to thank the Millennium Institute of Sport & Health, Netfit Training Room and the University of Auckland Clinics for use of their facilities.


  1. Aagaard P, Andersen JL, Dyhre-Poulsen P, Leffers AM, Wagner A, Magnusson SP, Halkjær-Kristensen J, Simonsen EB (2001) A mechanism for increased contractile strength of human pennate muscle in response to strength training: changes in muscle architecture. J Physiol 534(2):613–623PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aagaard P, Simonsen EB, Andersen JL, Magnusson P, Dyhre-Poulsen P (2002) Increased rate of force development and neural drive of human skeletal muscle following resistance training. J Appl Physiol 93(4):1318–1326PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Andersen L, Aagaard P (2006) Influence of maximal muscle strength and intrinsic muscle contractile properties on contractile rate of force development. Eur J Appl Physiol 96(1):46–52PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bagni M, Colombini B, Geiger P, Berlinguer Palmini R, Cecchi G (2004) Non-cross-bridge calcium-dependent stiffness in frog muscle fibers. Am J Physiol 286(6):1353–1357CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Baker D, Wilson G, Carlyon B (1994) Generality versus specificity: a comparison of dynamic and isometric measures of strength and speed-strength. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol 68(4):350–355PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Behm DG, Power KE, Drinkwater EJ (2003) Muscle activation is enhanced with multi-and uni-articular bilateral versus unilateral contractions. Can J Appl Physiol 28(1):38–52PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Blazevich AJ (2006) Effects of physical training and detraining, immobilisation, growth and aging on human fascicle geometry. Sports Med 36(12):1003–1017PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Blazevich AJ, Gill ND, Deans N, Zhou S (2007) Lack of human muscle architectural adaptation after short-term strength training. Muscle Nerve 35(1):78–86PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Blazevich AJ, Horne S, Cannavan D, Coleman DR, Aagaard P (2008) Effect of contraction mode of slow speed resistance training on the maximum rate of force development in the human quadriceps. Muscle Nerve 38(3):1133–1146PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Blazevich AJ, Cannavan D, Horne S, Coleman DR, Aagaard P (2009) Changes in muscle force–length properties affect the early rise of force in vivo. Muscle Nerve 39(4):512–520PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bojsen-Møller J, Magnusson SP, Rasmussen LR, Kjaer M, Aagaard P (2005) Muscle performance during maximal isometric and dynamic contractions is influenced by the stiffness of the tendinous structures. J Appl Physiol 99(3):986–994PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Brancaccio P, Limongelli FM, D’Aponte A, Narici M, Maffulli N (2008) Changes in skeletal muscle architecture following a cycloergometer test to exhaustion in athletes. J Sci Med Sport 11(6):538–541PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Campos J, Poletaev P, Cuesta A, Pablos C, Carratalá V (2006) Kinematical analysis of the snatch in elite male junior weightlifters of different weight categories. J Strength Cond Res 20(4):843–850PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Chiu LZF, Fry AC, Schilling BK, Johnson EJ, Weiss LW (2004) Neuromuscular fatigue and potentiation following two successive high intensity resistance exercise sessions. Eur J Appl Physiol 92(4):385–392PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cohen J (1992) A power primer. Psychol Bull 112(1):155–159PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cormie P, McGuigan MR, Newton RU (2011) Developing maximal neuromuscular power: part 1 biological basis of maximal power production. Sports Med 41(1):17–38PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Csapo R, Alegre LM, Baron R (2011) Time kinetics of acute changes in muscle architecture in response to resistance exercise. J Sci Med Sport 14(3):270–274PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fukunaga T, Kawakami Y, Kuno S, Funato K, Fukashiro S (1997) Muscle architecture and function in humans. J Biomech 30(5):457–463PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gans C, Gaunt AS (1991) Muscle architecture in relation to function. J Biomech 24(Suppl 1):53–65PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Garhammer J (1980) Power production by Olympic weightlifters. Med Sci Sports Exerc 12(1):54–60PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Garhammer J (1985) Biomechanical profiles of olympic weightlifters. Int J Sport Biomech 1:122–130Google Scholar
  22. Garhammer J (1991) A comparison of maximal power outputs between elite male and female weightlifters in competition. Int J Sport Biomech 7:3–11Google Scholar
  23. Garhammer J (1993) A review of power output studies of olympic and powerlifting: methodology, performance prediction, and evaluation tests. J Strength Cond Res 7(2):76–89Google Scholar
  24. Garhammer J, Gregor R (1992) Propulsion forces as a function of intensity for weightlifting and vertical jumping. J Appl Sports Sci Res 6(3):129–134Google Scholar
  25. Garhammer J, Takano B (2003) Training for weightlifting In: Komi PV (ed) Strength and power in sport. Second edn, vol 3, Blackwell Science, Oxford pp 502–515 Google Scholar
  26. Gauthier A, Davenne D, Martin A, Cometti G, Hoecke JV (1996) Diurnal rhythm of the muscular performance of elbow flexors during isometric contractions. Chronobiol Int 13(2):135–146PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Gourgoulis V, Aggelousis N, Mavromatis G, Garas A (2000) Three-dimensional kinematic analysis of the snatch of elite Greek weightlifters. J Sports Sci 18(8):643–652PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gourgoulis V, Aggeloussis N, Garas A, Mavromatis G (2009) Unsuccessful vs. successful performance in snatch lifts: a kinematic approach. J Strength Cond Res 23(2):486–494PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Haff GG, Stone M, O’Bryant HS, Harman E, Dinan C, Johnson R, Han KH (1997) Force-time dependent characteristics of dynamic and isometric muscle actions. J Strength Cond Res 11(4):269–272Google Scholar
  30. Haff G, Carlock J, Hartman M, Kilgore J, Kawamori N, Jackson J, Morris R, Sands W, Stone M (2005) Force-time curve characteristics of dynamic and isometric muscle actions of elite women olympic weightlifters. J Strength Cond Res 19(4):741–748PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Häkkinen K (1992) Neuromuscular responses in male and female athletes to two successive strength training sessions in one day. J Sports Med Phys Fitness 32(3):234–242PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Häkkinen K, Kallinen M (1994) Distribution of strength training volume into one or two daily sessions and neuromuscular adaptations in female athletes. Electromyogr Clin Neurophysiol 34(2):117–124PubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Hakkinen K, Komi PV, Kauhanen H (1986) Electromyographic and force production characteristics of leg extensor muscles of elite weight lifters during isometric, concentric, and various stretch-shortening cycle exercises. Int J Sports Med 7(3):144–151PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Häkkinen K, Pakarinen A, Alén M, Kauhanen H, Komi PV (1988) Neuromuscular and hormonal responses in elite athletes to two successive strength training sessions in one day. Eur J Appl Physiol 57(2):133–139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hartman MJ, Clark B, Bembens DA, Kilgore JL, Bemben MG (2007) Comparisons between twice-daily and once-daily training sessions in male weight lifters. Int J Sports Physiol Perform 2(2):159–169PubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Joumaa V, Rassier DE, Leonard TR, Herzog W (2008) The origin of passive force enhancement in skeletal muscle. Am J Physiol 294(1):74–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Kawakami Y, Abe T, Fukunaga T (1993) Muscle-fiber pennation angles are greater in hypertrophied than in normal muscles. J Appl Physiol 74(6):2740–2744PubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Kawakami Y, Abe T, Kuno S, Fukunaga T (1995) Training-induced changes in muscle architecture and specific tension. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol 72(1):37–43PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kraemer W, Duncan N, Volek J (1998) Resistance training and elite athletes: adaptations and program considerations. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 28(2):110–119PubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Kubo K, Kanehisa H, Kawakami Y, Fukunaga T (2001) Effects of repeated muscle contractions on the tendon structures in humans. Eur J Appl Physiol 84(1):162–166PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Kumagai K, Abe T, Brechue WF, Ryushi T, Takano S, Mizuno M (2000) Sprint performance is related to muscle fascicle length in male 100-m sprinters. J Appl Physiol 88(3):811–816PubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Loram ID, Maganaris CN, Lakie M (2006) Use of ultrasound to make noninvasive in vivo measurement of continuous changes in human muscle contractile length. J Appl Physiol 100(4):1311–1323PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Mahlfeld K, Franke J, Awiszus F (2004) Postcontraction changes of muscle architecture in human quadriceps muscle. Muscle Nerve 29(4):597–600PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Martin A, Carpentier A, Guissard N, Van Hoecke J, Duchateau J (1999) Effect of time of day on force variation in a human muscle. Muscle Nerve 22(10):1380–1387PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Mellor R, Hodges P (2005) Motor unit synchronization between medial and lateral vasti muscles. Clin Neurophysiol 116(7):1585–1595PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Milner-Brown H, Lee R (1975) Synchronization of human motor units: possible roles of exercise and supraspinal reflexes. Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol 38(3):245–254PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Narici M (1999) Human skeletal muscle architecture studied in vivo by non-invasive imaging techniques: functional significance and applications. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 9(2):97–103PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Pearson SJ, Onambele GNL (2005) Acute changes in knee extensors torque, fiber pennation, and tendon characteristics. Chronobiol Int 22(6):1013–1027PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Pillen S, Verrips A, Van Alfen N, Arts I, Sie L, Zwarts M (2007) Quantitative skeletal muscle ultrasound: diagnostic value in childhood neuromuscular disease. Neuromuscul Disord 17(7):509–516PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Rassier DE, Herzog W (2002) Force enhancement following an active stretch in skeletal muscle. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 12(6):471–477PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Schilling BK, Falvo MJ, Chiu LZF (2008) Force-velocity, impulse-momentum relationships: Implications for efficacy of purposefully slow resistance training. J Sports Sci Med 7:299–304Google Scholar
  52. Semmler JG (2002) Motor unit synchronization and neuromuscular performance. Exerc Sport Sci Rev 30(1):8–14PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Stone MH, Sanborn K, O’Bryant HS, Hartman M, Stone ME, Proulx C, Ward B, Hruby J (2003) Maximum strength–power-performance relationships in collegiate throwers. J Strength Cond Res 17(4):739–745PubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. Stone MH, Sands WA, Pierce KC, Carlock JON, Cardinale M, Newton RU (2005) Relationship of maximum strength to weightlifting performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc 37(6):1037–1043PubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. Stone MH, Pierce KC, Sands WA, Stone ME (2006) Weightlifting: program design. Strength Cond J 28(2):10–17Google Scholar
  56. Tamm AS, Lagerquist O, Ley AL, Collins DF (2009) Chronotype influences diurnal variations in the excitability of the human motor cortex and the ability to generate torque during a maximum voluntary contraction. J Biol Rhythms 24(3):211–224PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Thorlund JB, Michalsik LB, Madsen K, Aagaard P (2008) Acute fatigue-induced changes in muscle mechanical properties and neuromuscular activity in elite handball players following a handball match. Scand J Med Sci Sports 18(4):462–472PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Thorstensson A, Karlsson J, Viitasalo JHT, Luhtanen P, Komi PV (1976) Effect of strength training on EMG of human skeletal muscle. Acta Physiol Scand 98(2):232–236PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Tillin NA, Bishop D (2009) Factors modulating post-activation potentiation and its effect on performance of subsequent explosive activities. Sports Med 39(2):147–166PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Walker FO, Cartwright MS, Wiesler ER, Caress J (2004) Ultrasound of nerve and muscle. Clin Neurophysiol 115(3):495–507PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Wilson G, Murphy A (1996) The use of isometric tests of muscular function in athletic assessment. Sports Med 22(1):19–37PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Zatsiorsky VM (1995) Science and practice of strength training, human kinetics, campaign IL IllinoisGoogle Scholar
  63. Zatsiorsky VM (2003) Biomechanics of strength and strength training. In: Komi PV (ed) Strength and power in sport. 2nd edn, vol 3, Blackwell Science, Oxford, pp 439–487Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adam Storey
    • 1
    • 3
  • Samantha Wong
    • 1
  • Heather K. Smith
    • 1
  • Paul Marshall
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Sport and Exercise ScienceUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.School of Biomedical and Health ScienceUniversity of Western SydneyNew South WalesAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Sport and Exercise Science, Auckland Mail CentreUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations