The effects of a 1 year training period on 13 elite weight-lifters were investigated by periodical tests of electromyographic, muscle fibre and force production characteristics. A statistically non-significant increase of 3.5% in maximal isometric strength of the leg extensors, from 4841±1104 to 5010±1012 N, occured over the year. Individual changes in the high force portions of the force-velocity curve correlated (p<0.05–0.01) with changes in weight-lifting performance. Training months 5–8 were characterized by the lowest average training intensity (77.1+2.0%), and this resulted in a significant (p<0.05) decrease in maximal neural activation (IEMG) of the muscles, while the last four month period, with only a slightly higher average training intensity (79.1±3.0%), led to a significant (p<0.01) increase in maximum IEMG. Individual increases in training intensity between these two training periods correlated with individual increases both in muscular strength (p<0.05) and in the weight lifted in the clean & jerk (p<0.05). A non-significant increase of 3.9% in total mean muscle fibre area occurred over the year. The present findings demonstrate the limited potential for strength development in elite strength athletes, and suggest that the magnitudes and time courses of neural and hypertrophic adaptations in the neuromuscular system during their training may differ from those reported for previously untrained subjects. The findings additionally indicate the importance of training intensity for modifying training responses in elite strength athletes.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Asmussen E, Bonde-Petersen F (1974) Storage of elastic energy in skeletal muscle in man. Acta Physiol Scand 91:385–392
Bergström J (1962) Muscle electrolytes in man. Scand J Clin Lab Invest [Suppl] 68
Bosco C, Komi PV (1979) Potentiation of the mechanical behaviour of the human skeletal muscle through prestretching. Acta Physiol. Scand 106:467–472
Durnin J, Rahaman M (1967) The assessment of the amount of fat in the human body from measurements of skinfold thickness. Br J Nutr 21:681–689
Gollnick P, Armstrong R, Saubert G, Piehl K, Saltin B (1972) Enzyme activity and fiber composition in skeletal muscle of untrained and trained men. J Appl Physiol 33:312–319
Häkkinen K (1985) Factors influencing trainability of muscular strength during short term and prolonged training. Nat Strength Cond Ass J 2:32–37
Häkkinen K, Komi PV (1981) Effect of different combined concentric and eccentric muscle work regimens on maximal strength development. J Human Mov Stud 7:33–44
Häkkinen K, Komi PV (1983) Electromyographic changes during strength training and detraining. Med Sci Sports Exerc 15:455–460
Häkkinen K, Viitasalo JT, Komi PV (1980) Die Wirkung unterschiedlich kombinierter konzentrischer und exzentrischer Muskelarbeit auf Kraft-Zeit-Merkmale der Beinstreckmuskulatur. Leistungssport 10:374–381
Häkkinen K, Komi PV, Tesch PA (1981) Effect of combined concentric and eccentric strength training and detraining on force-time, muscle fibre, and metabolic characteristics of leg extensor muscles. Scand J Sports Sci 3(2):50–58
Häkkinen K, Alén M, Komi PV (1984) Neuromuscular, anaerobic and aerobic performance characteristics of elite power athletes. Eur J Appl Physiol 53:97–105
Häkkinen K, Alén M, Komi PV (1985a) Changes in isometric force- and relaxation-time, electromyographic and muscle fibre characteristics of human skeletal muscle during strength training and detraining. Acta Physiol Scand 125:573–585
Häkkinen K, Komi PV, Alén M (1985b) Effect of explosive type strength training on isometric force- and relaxationtime, electromyographic and muscle fibre characteristics of leg extensor muscles. Acta Physiol Scand 125:587–600
Häkkinen K, Alén M, Kauhanen H, Komi PV (1986) Comparison of neuromuscular performance capacities between weightlifters, powerlifters and bodybuilders. Int Olympic Lifter 5:24–26
Houston M, Froese E, Valeriote St. Green H, Ranney D (1983) Muscle performance, morphology and metabolic capacity during strength training and detraining: A one leg model. Eur J Appl Physiol 51:25–35
Ikai M (1970) Training of muscle strength and power in athletes. Presented at the FIMS Congress, Oxford
Komi PV (1973) A new electromechanical ergometer. In: Hauser G, Mellerowicz H (eds) 3. Internationales Seminar für Ergometrie. Ergon-Verlag, Berlin, pp 173–176
Komi PV (1986) Training of muscle strength and power: Interaction of neuromotoric, hypertrophic, and mechanical factors. Int J Sports Med [Suppl] 7:10–15
Komi PV, Buskirk ER (1972) Effect of eccentric and concentric muscle conditioning on tension and electrical activity of human muscle. Ergonomics 15:417–434
Komi PV, Bosco C (1978) Utilization of stored elastic energy in leg extensor muscles by men and women. Med Sci Sports 10:261–265
Komi PV, Luhtanen P, Viljamaa K (1974) Measurement of instantaneous contact forces on the force-platform. Research Reports from the Department of Biology of Physical Activity No 5. University of Jyväskylä. Jyväskylä, Finland
Komi PV, Viitasalo J, Rauramaa R, Vihko V (1978) Effect of isometric strength training on mechanical, electrical and metabolic aspects of muscle function. Eur J Appl Physiol 40:45–55
Komi PV, Karsson J, Tesch P, Suominen H, Heikkinen E (1982) Effects of heavy resistance and explosive type strength training methods on mechanical, functional and metabolic aspects of performance. In: Komi PV (ed) Exercise and sport biology. Human Kinetics Publishers, Champaign. Ill, pp 90–102
MacDougall J, Elder G, Sale D, Moroz J, Sutton J (1977) Skeletal muscle hypertrophy and atrophy with respect to fibre type in humans. Can J Appl Spt Sci 2:229 (Abstract)
MacDougall J, Sale D, Elder G, Sutton J (1982) Muscle ultrastructural characteristics of elite powerlifters and bodybuilders. Eur J Appl Physiol 48:117–126
Moritani T, DeVries H (1979) Neural factors versus hypertrophy in the time course of muscle strength gain. Am J Phys Med 58:115–130
Oleshko V (1979) Determining control norms in assistant exercises for qualified weightlifters. Tvazhelava Atletika 51-53. In: Soviet Sports Rev 15:133–136. 1980
Padykula H, Herman E (1955) The specificity of the histochemical method of adenosine triphosphatase. J Histochem Cytochem 3:170–195
Sukop J, Nelson R (1974) Effect of isometric training on the force-time characteristics of muscle contraction. In: Nelson R, Morehouse C (eds) Biomechanics IV. University Park Press, Baltimore, pp 440–447
Tesch P, Larsson L (1982) Muscle hypertrophy in bodybuilders. Eur J Appl Physiol 49:301–306
Viitasalo JT (1985) Measurement of force-velocity characteristics for sportsmen in field conditions. In: Winter D, Norman R, Wells R, Haves K, Patla A (eds) Biomechanics IX-A. Human Kinetics Publishers, Champaign, Ill, pp 96–101
Viitasalo J, Komi PV (1978) Force-time characteristics and fiber composition in human leg extensor muscles. Eur J Appl Physiol 40:7–15
Viitasalo J, Mäkinen P (1980) Comparison of five different methods for determination of muscle fibre areas. Presented at the Fifth Puijo Symposium, Kuopio. Finland, August 6–8 (Poster)
Viitasalo J, Saukkonen S, Komi PV (1980) Reproducibility of measurements of selected neuromuscular performance variables in man. Electromyogr Clin Neurophysiol 20:487–501
About this article
Cite this article
Häkkinen, K., Komi, P.V., Alén, M. et al. EMG, muscle fibre and force production characteristics during a 1 year training period in elite weight-lifters. Europ. J. Appl. Physiol. 56, 419–427 (1987). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00417769
- Neural activation
- Training intensity
- Strength training