Muscle hypertrophy following 5-week resistance training using a non-gravity-dependent exercise system

P A Tesch, A Ekberg, D M Lindquist, J T Trieschmann
Acta Physiologica Scandinavica 2004, 180 (1): 89-98

AIM: The efficacy of a mechanical, gravity-independent resistance exercise (RE) system to induce strength gains and muscle hypertrophy was validated. Designed for space crew in orbit, this technique offers resistance during coupled concentric and eccentric actions by utilizing the inertia of a rotating flywheel(s), set in motion by the trainee.

METHODS: Ten middle-aged (30-53 years) men and women performed four sets of seven maximal, unilateral (left limb) knee extensions two or three times weekly for 5 weeks. Knee extensor force and electromyographic (EMG) activity of the three superficial quadriceps muscles were measured before and after this intervention. In addition, with the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), volume of individual knee extensor and ankle plantar flexor muscles was assessed.

RESULTS: Over the 12 training sessions, the average concentric (CON) and eccentric (ECC) force generated during exercise increased by 11% (P < 0.05). Likewise, maximal isometric strength (maximal voluntary contraction, MVC) at 90 and 120 degrees knee angle increased by (P < 0.05) 11 and 12% respectively, after training. Neither individual quadriceps muscle showed a change (P > 0.05) in maximal integrated EMG (iEMG) activity. Quadriceps muscle volume increased by 6.1% (P < 0.05). Although the magnitude of response varied, all individual quadriceps muscles showed increased (P < 0.05) volume after training. As expected, ankle plantar flexor volume of the trained limb was unchanged (P > 0.05). Likewise, MVC, CON and ECC force, iEMG and knee extensor and plantar flexor muscle volume were unaltered (P > 0.05) in the right, non-trained limb.

CONCLUSION: The results of this study show that the present RE regimen produces marked muscle hypertrophy and important increases in maximal voluntary strength and appears equally effective as RE paradigms using gravity-dependent weights, in this regard.


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