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Eur J Appl Physiol. 2000 May;82(1-2):30-8.

Leg-press resistance training during 20 days of 6 degrees head-down-tilt bed rest prevents muscle deconditioning.

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Department of Life Sciences (Sports Sciences), Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokyo, Japan.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of resistance training on the morphological and functional properties of human lower limb muscles during 20 days of 6 degrees head-down-tilt bed rest. Nine men were randomly assigned to the resistance training group (BR-Tr, n = 5) or the non-training, control group (BR-Cont, n = 4). Isometric leg-press exercises were performed: 3 s x 30 repetitions (30 s rest between repetitions) daily for 20 days during the bed-rest period. Serial axial magnetic resonance images were taken from the right thigh and leg muscles, and muscle volume, muscle length, and fibre length were estimated. The physiological cross-sectional areas (PCSAs) of the knee extensor, knee flexor, ankle plantarflexor, and ankle dorsiflexor (tibialis anterior) muscle groups were determined as muscle volume multiplied by the cosine of the angle of fibre pennation divided by fibre length. Maximum voluntary contraction (MVC) during knee extension was measured. No significant changes were observed in the PCSA of the knee extensor muscles in BR-Tr group, whereas the PCSA in the BR-Cont group decreased by 7.8%. The PCSA of the knee flexor and plantarflexor muscles in the BR-Tr group and BR-Cont group significantly decreased after bed rest (knee flexors, 10.2% and 11.5%; plantarflexors, 13.0% and 12.8%, respectively). However, in both groups bed rest had no effect on the muscle volume and PCSA of the tibialis anterior. MVC was maintained by resistance training in the BR-Tr group (decreased by 1%). In contrast, a decline of strength was observed in the BR-Cont group (-16%), but this result was not statistically significant. These results suggest that isometric leg-press training prevents the deconditioning (i.e. atrophy and decline of strength) of the knee extensor muscle group.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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