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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2002 Jun;92(6):2309-18.

Neural adaptation to resistance training: changes in evoked V-wave and H-reflex responses.

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Department of Neurophysiology, Institute of Medical Physiology, Denmark.


Combined V-wave and Hoffmann (H) reflex measurements were performed during maximal muscle contraction to examine the neural adaptation mechanisms induced by resistance training. The H-reflex can be used to assess the excitability of spinal alpha-motoneurons, while also reflecting transmission efficiency (i.e., presynaptic inhibition) in Ia afferent synapses. Furthermore, the V-wave reflects the overall magnitude of efferent motor output from the alpha-motoneuron pool because of activation from descending central pathways. Fourteen male subjects participated in 14 wk of resistance training that involved heavy weight-lifting exercises for the muscles of the leg. Evoked V-wave, H-reflex, and maximal M-wave (M(max)) responses were recorded before and after training in the soleus muscle during maximal isometric ramp contractions. Maximal isometric, concentric, and eccentric muscle strength was measured by use of isokinetic dynamometry. V-wave amplitude increased approximately 50% with training (P < 0.01) from 3.19 +/- 0.43 to 4.86 +/- 0.43 mV, or from 0.308 +/- 0.048 to 0.478 +/- 0.034 when expressed relative to M(max) (+/- SE). H-reflex amplitude increased approximately 20% (P < 0.05) from 5.37 +/- 0.41 to 6.24 +/- 0.49 mV, or from 0.514 +/- 0.032 to 0.609 +/- 0.025 when normalized to M(max). In contrast, resting H-reflex amplitude remained unchanged with training (0.503 +/- 0.059 vs. 0.499 +/- 0.063). Likewise, no change occurred in M(max) (10.78 +/- 0.86 vs. 10.21 +/- 0.66 mV). Maximal muscle strength increased 23-30% (P < 0.05). In conclusion, increases in evoked V-wave and H-reflex responses were observed during maximal muscle contraction after resistance training. Collectively, the present data suggest that the increase in motoneuronal output induced by resistance training may comprise both supraspinal and spinal adaptation mechanisms (i.e., increased central motor drive, elevated motoneuron excitability, reduced presynaptic inhibition).

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