Influence of full range of motion vs. equalized partial range of motion training on muscle architecture and mechanical properties
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The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of a 15-week partial range of motion (ROM) resistance training program on the vastus lateralis (VL) architecture and mechanical properties, when the time under tension (TUT) was equalized.
Nineteen untrained male subjects were randomly assigned to a control (Control; n = 8) or training (TG; n = 11) group. In the TG, the dominant and nondominant legs were randomly selected to be trained with a full ROM (FULL) or a partial ROM (PART) in an isokinetic dynamometer. Training volume was equalized based on the TUT by manipulating sets and repetitions. The VL muscle architecture was assessed by B-mode ultrasonography at rest and during maximal isometric knee extension contractions (MVCs) at ten knee angles. The VL fascicle force and specific tension were calculated from the MVCs with superimposed stimuli, accounting for the moment arm length, muscle architecture, and antagonist coactivation.
The FULL training induced changes in fascicle length (FL) (4.9 ± 2.0%, P < 0.001) and specific tension (25.8 ± 18.7%, P < 0.001). There was a moderate effect of PART training on the physiological cross-sectional area (PCSA) (7.8 ± 4.0%, P < 0.001, dav = 0.6) and torque–angle adaptations (average increase 17.7 ± 3.9%, P < 0.05).
These results provide evidence that crucial architectural and mechanical muscle adaptations are dependent on the ROM used in strength training. It seems that muscle FL and specific tension can be increased by pure concentric training if greater ROM is used. Conversely, restricting the ROM to shorter muscle lengths promotes a greater PCSA and angle-specific strength adaptations.
KeywordsMuscle architecture Muscle size Regional hypertrophy Range of motion (ROM) Vastus lateralis Resistance training
One repetition maximum
Anatomical cross-sectional area
Analysis of variance
Patellar tendon moment arm
Full range of motion
Intra-class correlation coefficients
Minimal detectable change
Magnetic resonance imaging
Maximal isometric knee extension contraction
Maximal isometric knee extension contractions
Partial range of motion
Physiological cross-sectional area
Relative joint maximal torque
Range of motion
Standard error of the mean
Surface EMG for non-invasive assessment of muscles
Time under tension
The first author gratefully acknowledges the “Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia, Portugal” (“The Foundation for Science and Technology, Portugal”). The authors also gratefully acknowledge all students who participated in this study, especially those who always trained as hard as possible.
MJV, APV and PM-H conceived and designed research. MJV, FT and RMS conducted experiments. MJV and PM-H analyzed data. MJV wrote the manuscript. All authors read and approved the manuscript.
This study was partially funded by the “Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia, Portugal” (“The Foundation for Science and Technology, Portugal”) (Grant Number SFRH/BD/60882/2009).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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