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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2003 Apr;35(4):655-62.

Resistance training during unweighting maintains muscle size and function in human calf.

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1
Department of Life Science, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokyo, Japan. akima@htc.nagoya-u.ac.jp

Abstract

PURPOSE:

A 20-d 6 degrees head-down tilt bed rest project was conducted to evaluate the effect of dynamic leg press and plantar flexion resistance training on muscle size and function in human plantar flexors (PF) throughout the prolonged bed rest.

METHODS:

Twelve healthy men participated in this study and were divided two groups: resistance training (BR-Tr group: N = 6, age: 23 +/- 2 yr, height: 170 +/- 3 cm, weight: 66 +/- 7 kg) and nontraining (BR-Cont group: N = 6, age: 23 +/- 1 yr, height: 170 +/- 3 cm, weight: 67 +/- 6 kg) during the bed rest. Physiological cross-sectional area (PCSA) and peak torque of the PF muscle group was determined. Spin-spin relaxation times (T2) of the medial (MG) and lateral gastrocnemius (LG) and soleus (Sol) muscle was measured at rest and immediately after unilateral calf-raising exercise (5 sets of 10 reps).

RESULTS:

PCSA of the PF muscle group did not show any significant change in BR-Tr group; however, for the BR-Cont group, PCSA decreased by 13% after bed rest (P < 0.05). There was no significant change in exercise-induced T2 change of the MG, LG, or Sol muscles between before and after the bed rest in BR-Tr group; however, in the BR-Cont group, significant increases in T2 were found in these three muscles after the bed rest (P < 0.05 to 0.01).

CONCLUSION:

We conclude that dynamic leg press and plantar flexion resistance training during bed rest maintains muscle size and function (torque and T2), and that this training could be useful for prevention of progressive muscle deconditioning during spaceflight.

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