European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 115, Issue 3, pp 555–563 | Cite as

Once-weekly muscle endurance and strength training prevents deterioration of muscle oxidative function and attenuates the degree of strength decline during 3-week forearm immobilization

  • Toshiyuki Homma
  • Takafumi HamaokaEmail author
  • Takuya Osada
  • Norio Murase
  • Ryotaro Kime
  • Yuko Kurosawa
  • Shiro Ichimura
  • Kazuki Esaki
  • Fumiko Nakamura
  • Toshihito Katsumura
Original Article



Muscle unloading causes muscle function deterioration, but the extent to which training frequency or volume can be reduced while preserving muscle function during muscle unloading is unknown. We examined the effects of low-volume muscle endurance and strength training on forearm muscle oxidative capacity, endurance, and strength during a 3-week immobilization.


Twenty-seven, healthy, male volunteers were divided into four groups: immobilization only (IMM); immobilization with endurance and strength training, once-weekly (IMM + EST1) or twice-weekly (IMM + EST2); and control, without immobilization or training (CNT). Endurance training involved dynamic handgrip exercise, at 30 % of maximal voluntary contraction (MVC), until exhaustion (~60 s). Strength training involved intermittent isometric handgrip exercise at 70 % MVC (40 s). Muscle oxidative capacity was evaluated after exercise using the phosphocreatine recovery time constant using 31phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Endurance performance was evaluated according to the total work during dynamic handgrip exercise at 30 % MVC at 1 Hz until exhaustion.


Muscle oxidative capacity and total work deterioration was restricted to the IMM (P < 0.05) group. MVC decreased in the IMM and IMM + EST1 (P < 0.05) groups. However, the MVC amplitude decrease in the IMM + EST1 group was smaller than that in the IMM (P < 0.05) group. MVC remained unchanged in the other groups.


During the 3-week immobilization, twice-weekly low-volume muscle endurance and strength training prevented deterioration in muscle strength, oxidative capacity, and endurance performance. Moreover, once-weekly muscle endurance and strength training prevented the deterioration of muscle oxidative capacity and endurance performance, and attenuated the degree of muscle strength decline.


Countermeasure Endurance and strength training Muscle oxidative capacity Muscle strength Muscle unloading 31Phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy 



Analysis of variance


Control, without immobilization or training group


Cross-sectional area


Free induction decay


Immobilization-only group


Immobilization with endurance and strength training, performed once-weekly group


Immobilization with endurance and strength training, performed twice-weekly group


Inorganic phosphate

\(\dot{V}{\text{O}}_{{ 2 {\text{max}}}}\)

Maximal oxygen uptake


Maximal voluntary contraction


Muscle phosphocreatine recovery time constant after exercise




31Phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy



The authors wish to acknowledge the volunteers who participated in this study. We also thank the entire staff of Tokyo Medical University’s Department of Sports Medicine for Health Promotion for their helpful advice and technical assistance. This work was supported, in part, by the National Space Development Agency of Japan and a grant-in-aid from the Japanese Ministry of Education, Science, Sports, and Culture.

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Toshiyuki Homma
    • 1
  • Takafumi Hamaoka
    • 1
    Email author
  • Takuya Osada
    • 2
  • Norio Murase
    • 2
  • Ryotaro Kime
    • 2
  • Yuko Kurosawa
    • 1
  • Shiro Ichimura
    • 3
  • Kazuki Esaki
    • 4
  • Fumiko Nakamura
    • 5
  • Toshihito Katsumura
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of Sport and Health ScienceRitsumeikan UniversityKusatsuJapan
  2. 2.Department of Sports Medicine for Health PromotionTokyo Medical UniversityTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Faculty of Science and TechnologyTokyo University of ScienceChibaJapan
  4. 4.Faculty of EconomicsTokuyama UniversityYamaguchiJapan
  5. 5.Faculty of Human DevelopmentKokugakuin UniversityYokohamaJapan

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