European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 117, Issue 11, pp 2211–2224 | Cite as

Effects of acute resistance training modality on corticospinal excitability, intra-cortical and neuromuscular responses

  • Christopher LatellaEmail author
  • Wei-Peng Teo
  • Dale Harris
  • Brendan Major
  • Dan VanderWesthuizen
  • Ashlee M. Hendy
Original Article



Although neural adaptations from strength training are known to occur, the acute responses associated with heavy-strength (HST) and hypertrophy training (HYT) remain unclear. Therefore, we aimed to compare the acute behaviour of corticospinal responses following a single session of HST vs HYT over a 72-h period.


Fourteen participants completed a random counterbalanced, crossover study that consisted of a single HST session [5 sets × 3 repetition maximum (RM)], a HYT session (3 sets × 12 RM) of the leg extensors and a control session (CON). Single- and paired-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) was used to measure changes in motor-evoked potential (MEP) amplitude, corticospinal silent period (CSP), intra-cortical facilitation (ICF), short-interval intra-cortical inhibition (SICI) and long-interval intra-cortical inhibition (LICI). Additionally, maximal muscle compound wave (M MAX) of the rectus femoris (RF) and maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) of the leg extensors were taken. All measures were taken at baseline, immediately post and 2, 6, 24, 48 and 72 h post-training.


A significant condition x time interaction was observed for MVIC (P = 0.001), M MAX (P = 0.003), MEP amplitude (P < 0.001) and CSP (P = 0.002). No differences were observed between HST and HYT for all neurophysiological measures. No changes in SICI, ICF and LICI were observed compared to baseline.


Our results suggest that: (1) the acute behaviour of neurophysiological measures is similar between HST and HYT; and (2) the increase in corticospinal excitability may be a compensatory response to attenuate peripheral fatigue.


Transcranial magnetic stimulation Heavy-strength Hypertrophy Neurophysiological Fatigue Recovery 



Corticospinal silent period


Heavy-strength training


Hypertrophy training


Transcranial magnetic stimulation


Intra-cortical facilitation


Long interval cortical inhibition


Motor evoked potential


Maximal voluntary isometric contraction


Maximal compound wave


Rectus femoris


Repetition maximum


Resistance training


Surface electromyography


Short interval cortical inhibition



We would like to thank all participants for their contribution to this study. CL is supported by an Australian Postgraduate Award. WPT is supported by an Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher Latella
    • 1
    Email author
  • Wei-Peng Teo
    • 1
    • 4
  • Dale Harris
    • 1
  • Brendan Major
    • 2
  • Dan VanderWesthuizen
    • 3
  • Ashlee M. Hendy
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Exercise and Nutrition SciencesDeakin UniversityBurwoodAustralia
  2. 2.Cognitive Neuroscience Unit (CNU), School of PsychologyDeakin UniversityBurwoodAustralia
  3. 3.Clinical Exercise Science and Rehabilitation, Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living (ISEAL)Victoria UniversityFootscrayAustralia
  4. 4.Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN), School of Exercise and Nutrition SciencesDeakin UniversityGeelongAustralia

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