Skip to main content

Advertisement

Log in

Knee extensor and plantar flexor muscle size and function following 90 days of bed rest with or without resistance exercise

  • Original Article
  • Published:
European Journal of Applied Physiology Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

Skeletal muscle atrophy and strength loss induced by short-term simulated spaceflight are offset or attenuated by resistance exercise (RE). This study compared the effects of plantar flexor and knee extensor RE on muscle size and function in 17 healthy men (aged 26–41years) subjected to 90 days 6° head-down-tilt bed rest with (BRE; n=8) or without (BR; n=9) RE. The RE program consisted of coupled maximal concentric and eccentric actions in the supine squat (4 sets of 7 repetitions) and calf press (4×14) every third day employing a gravity-independent flywheel ergometer (FW). Prior to, and following bed rest, muscle volume was assessed using magnetic resonance imaging. Similarly, muscle strength and power and surface electromyographic (EMG) activity were determined during maximal actions using FW or isokinetic dynamometry. In BR, knee extensor and plantar flexor muscle volume decreased (P<0.05) 18% and 29%, respectively. Torque or force and power decreased (P<0.05) 31–60% (knee extension) and 37–56% (plantar flexion) while knee extensor and plantar flexor EMG activity decreased 31–38% and 28–35%, respectively following BR. Muscle atrophy in BRE was prevented (P>0.05; knee extensors) or attenuated (−15%; plantar flexors). BRE maintained task-specific force, power and EMG activity. The decrease in non-task-specific torque was less (P<0.05) than in BR. The present data imply that the triceps surae and quadriceps muscles show different responsiveness to long-term bed rest with or without resistance exercise. The results also suggest that designing in-flight resistance exercise protocols for space travellers is complex and must extend beyond preserving muscle only.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Adams GR, Hather BM, Dudley GA (1994) Effect of short-term unweighting on human skeletal muscle strength and size. Aviat Space Environ Med 65:1116–1121

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Akima H, Kubo K, Kanehisa H, Suzuki Y, Gunji A, Fukunaga T (2000) Leg-press resistance training during 20 days of 6-degree head-down-tilt bed rest prevents muscle deconditioning. Eur J Appl Physiol 82:30–38

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Akima H, Kubo K, Imai M, Kanehisa H, Suzuki Y, Gunji A, Fukunaga T (2001) Inactivity and muscle: effect of resistance training during bed rest on muscle size in the lower limb. Acta Physiol Scand 172:269–278

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Akima H, Ushiyama JI, Kubo J, Tonosaki SI, Itoh M, Kawakami Y, Fukuoka H, Kanehisa H, Fukunaga T (2003) Resistance training during unweighting maintains muscle size and function in human calf. Med Sci Sports Exerc 35:655–662

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Alkner BA, Tesch PA (2004) Efficacy of a gravity-independent resistance exercise device as a countermeasure to muscle atrophy during 29-day bed rest. Acta Physiol Scand 181:345–357

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Alkner BA, Tesch PA, Berg HE (2000) Quadriceps EMG/force relationship in knee extension and leg press. Med Sci Sports Exerc 32:459–463

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Alkner BA, Berg HE, Kozlovskaya I, Sayenko D, Tesch PA (2003) Effects of strength training, using a gravity-independent exercise system, performed during 110 days of simulated space station confinement. Eur J Appl Physiol 90:44–49

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Antonutto G, Capelli C, Girardis M, Zamparo P, di Prampero PE (1999) Effects of microgravity on maximal power of lower limbs during very short efforts in humans. J Appl Physiol 86:85–92

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Bamman MM, Caruso JF (2000) Resistance exercise countermeasures for space flight: implications of training specificity. J Strength Cond Res 14:45–49

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Bamman MM, Hunter GR, Stevens BR, Guilliams ME, Greenisen MC (1997) Resistance exercise prevents plantar flexor deconditioning during bed rest. Med Sci Sports Exerc 29:1462–1468

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Bamman MM, Clarke MS, Feeback DL, Talmadge RJ, Stevens BR, Lieberman SA, Greenisen MC (1998) Impact of resistance exercise during bed rest on skeletal muscle sarcopenia and myosin isoform distribution. J Appl Physiol 84:157–163

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Berg HE, Tesch PA (1994) A gravity-independent ergometer to be used for resistance training in space. Aviat Space Environ Med 65:752–756

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Berg HE, Tesch PA (1998) Force and power characteristics of a resistive exercise device for use in space. Acta Astronaut 42:219–230

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Berg HE, Dudley GA, Häggmark T, Ohlsén H, Tesch PA (1991) Effects of lower limb unloading on skeletal muscle mass and function in humans. J Appl Physiol 70:1882–1885

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Berg HE, Tedner B, Tesch PA (1993) Changes in lower limb muscle cross-sectional area and tissue fluid volume after transition from standing to supine. Acta Physiol Scand 148:379–385

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Berg HE, Larsson L, Tesch PA (1997) Lower limb skeletal muscle function after 6 weeks of bed rest. J Appl Physiol 82:182–188

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Berry P, Berry I, Manelfe C (1993) Magnetic resonance imaging evaluation of lower limb muscles during bed rest-a microgravity simulation model. Aviat Space Environ Med 64:212–218

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Convertino VA, Doerr DF, Mathes KL, Stein SL, Buchanan P (1989) Changes in volume, muscle compartment, and compliance of the lower extremities in man following 30 days of exposure to simulated microgravity. Aviat Space Environ Med 60:653–658

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Dudley GA, Duvoisin MR, Convertino VA, Buchanan P (1989) Alterations of the in vivo torque-velocity relationship of human skeletal muscle following 30 days exposure to simulated microgravity. Aviat Space Environ Med 60:659–663

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Edgerton VR, Roy RR (1995) Neuromuscular adaptions to actual and simulated spaceflight. In: Fregly MJ, Blatteis CM (eds) Handbook of physiology: adaption to the environment, section 4, part 3. The gravitational environment. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 721–763

  • Ericson MO, Nisell R, Ekholm J (1986) Quantified electromyography of lower-limb muscles during level walking. Scand J Rehabil Med 18:159–163

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Ferri A, Scaglioni G, Pousson M, Capodaglio P, Van Hoecke J, Narici MV (2003) Strength and power changes of the human plantar flexors and knee extensors in response to resistance training in old age. Acta Physiol Scand 177:69–78

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Fitts RH, Riley DR, Widrick JJ (2000) Physiology of a microgravity environment invited review: microgravity and skeletal muscle. J Appl Physiol 89:823–839

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Germain P, Guell A, Marini JF (1995) Muscle strength during bedrest with and without muscle exercise as a countermeasure. Eur J Appl Physiol 71:342–348

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Gogia P, Schneider VS, LeBlanc AD, Krebs J, Kasson C, Pientok C (1988) Bed rest effect on extremity muscle torque in healthy men. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 69:1030–1032

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Greenleaf JE, Bernauer EM, Ertl AC, Bulbulian R, Bond M (1994) Isokinetic strength and endurance during 30-day 6-degree head-down bed rest with isotonic and isokinetic exercise training. Aviat Space Environ Med 65:45–50

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Hather BM, Adams GR, Tesch PA, Dudley GA (1992) Skeletal muscle responses to lower limb suspension in humans. J Appl Physiol 72:1493–1498

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Hayes JC, McBrine JJ, Roper ML, Stricklin MD, Siconolfi SF, Greenisen MC (1992) Effects of space flight on skeletal muscle performance. FASEB J 65:A1770

    Google Scholar 

  • Koryak Y (1998) Effect of 120 days of bedrest with and without countermeasures on the mechanical properties of the triceps surae muscle in young women. Eur J Appl Physiol 78:128–135

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Koryak Y (1999) The effects of long-term simulated microgravity on neuromuscular performance in men and women. Eur J Appl Physiol 79:168–175

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Kozlovskaya IB, Kreidich YV, Oganov VS, Koserenko OP (1981) Pathophysiology of motor functions in prolonged manned space flights. Acta Astronaut 8:1059–1072

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Lambertz D, Perot C, Kaspranski R, Goubel F (2001) Effects of long-term spaceflight on mechanical properties of muscles in humans. J Appl Physiol 90:179–188

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • LeBlanc A, Gogia P, Schneider V, Krebs J, Schonfeld E, Evans H (1988) Calf muscle area and strength changes after five weeks of horizontal bed rest. Am J Sports Med 16:624–629

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • LeBlanc AD, Schneider VS, Evans HJ, Pientok C, Rowe R, Spector E (1992) Regional changes in muscle mass following 17 weeks of bed rest. J Appl Physiol 73:2172–2178

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • LeBlanc A, Lin C, Shackelford L, Sinitsyn V, Evans H, Belichenko O, Schenkman B, Kozlovskaya I, Oganov V, Bakulin A, Hedrick T, Feeback D (2000) Muscle volume, MRI relaxation times (T2), and body composition after spaceflight. J Appl Physiol 89:2158–2164

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • MacDougall JD (2003) Hypertrophy and hyperplasia. In: Komi PV (ed) Strength and power in sports. Blackwell, Oxford, pp252–264

  • Morrissey MC, Harman EA, Johnson MJ (1995) Resistance training modes: specificity and effectiveness. Med Sci Sports Exerc 27:648–660

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • NASA (2003) Critical path roadmap for muscle alterations and atrophy. http://criticalpath.jsc.nasa.gov

  • Ohira Y, Yoshinaga T, Ohara M, Nonaka I, Yoshioka T, Yamashita-Goto K, Shenkman BS, Kozlovskaya IB, Roy RR, Edgerton VR (1999) Myonuclear domain and myosin phenotype in human soleus after bed rest with or without loading. J Appl Physiol 87:1776–1785

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Ploutz-Snyder LL, Tesch PA, Crittenden DJ, Dudley GA (1995) Effect of unweighting on skeletal muscle use during exercise. J Appl Physiol 79:168–175

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Schulze K, Gallagher P, Trappe S (2002) Resistance training preserves skeletal muscle function during unloading in humans. Med Sci Sports Exerc 34:303–313

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Tesch PA, Berg HE (1997) Resistance training in space. Int J Sports Med 18: S322–324

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Tesch PA, Karlsson J (1985) Muscle fiber types and size in trained and untrained muscles of elite athletes. J Appl Physiol 59:1716–1720

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Tesch PA, Ekberg A, Lindqvist DM, Trieschmann JT (2004a) Muscle hypertrophy following five-week resistance training using a non-gravity dependent loading principle. Acta Physiol Scand 180:89–98

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Tesch PA, Trieschmann JT, Ekberg A (2004b) Hypertrophy of chronically unloaded muscle subjected to resistance exercise. J Appl Physiol 96:1451–1458

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Thomason DB, Booth FW (1990) Atrophy of the soleus muscle by hindlimb unweighting. J Appl Physiol 68:1–12

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Trappe TA, Raue U, Tesch PA (2004) Human soleus muscle protein synthesis following resistance exercise. Acta Physiol Scand (in press)

  • Weiss LW, Clark FC, Howard DG (1988) Effects of heavy-resistance triceps surae muscle training on strength and muscularity of men and women. Phys Ther 68:208–213

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Winter DA, Yack HJ (1987) EMG profiles during normal human walking: stride-to-stride and inter-subject variability. Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol 67:402–411

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

This study was supported by grants from the Swedish National Space Board (SNSB), the European Space Agency (ESA), the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA), the Centre d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) and the Swedish National Centre for Research in Sports (CIF). We thank the volunteers who endured the long-term bed rest. The technical support of Drs Marie-Pierre Bareille, Alain Maillet and Stéphane Beroud and the staff at MEDES and the Rangueil Hospital are greatly appreciated. The authors also thank Lena Norrbrand and Åsa Attling for their assistance with the image analysis.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Björn A. Alkner.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Alkner, B.A., Tesch, P.A. Knee extensor and plantar flexor muscle size and function following 90 days of bed rest with or without resistance exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol 93, 294–305 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-004-1172-8

Download citation

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-004-1172-8

Keywords

Navigation