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J Appl Physiol (1985). 1989 Aug;67(2):570-7.

Effects of a draft-loaded interval-training program on skeletal muscle in the horse.

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  • 1Department of Medicine and Surgery, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden.


Five Standardbred trotters were trained on a treadmill 3 times/wk for 12 wk by intervals of draft-loaded exercise. The draft load was 34 kp and the velocity approximately 7 m/s. Muscle biopsies were taken from the gluteus medius and longissimus muscles before training and after 2, 4, 8, and 12 wk of training and from the brachiocephalicus muscle before and after training. Both the percentage and the area of type IIa fibers increased and the percentage of type IIb fibers decreased in the gluteus medius muscle during the first 2 wk of training, and then no further significant difference was noted. The percentage of type I fibers increased in the brachiocephalicus muscle, and the area of type IIb fibers increased in the longissimus muscle. The citrate synthase activity increased in the gluteus muscle only, and the increase was seen during the first 2 wk. No significant differences were seen in 3-hydroxy-acyl-CoA dehydrogenase and lactate dehydrogenase activities in the muscles during the entire training period. Less glycogen was utilized in the gluteus muscle and less blood lactate accumulated when the horses performed an unloaded submaximal exercise test after compared with before training. It can be concluded that rapid changes are induced in the gluteus medius muscle when horses are trained pulling a light-draft resistance at a submaximal trotting speed.

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