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Differences in muscle contractile characteristics among bodybuilders, endurance trainers and control subjects.

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Department of Human Movement Studies, University of Queensland, Australia.


The purpose of this investigation was to compare the myosin heavy chain (MHC) isoform expression of the triceps brachii muscle and isoinertial, isometric and isokinetic strength indices in competitive bodybuilders (CB, n = 5), recreational resistance trainers (RT, n = 5), endurance-trained rowers (ER, n = 5) and control (C, n = 5) subjects. Muscle tissue samples were analysed for MHC isoform content using 6% sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. The CB possessed significantly smaller (P < 0.05) percentage of MHC type IIb proteins [12.92 (SD 7.08)%] than RT [30.08 (SD 6.58)%] ER [31.20 (SD 2.74)%] and C [38.22 (SD 2.95)%] groups (i.e. CB < RT approximately ER < C). While the content of MHC type IIa isoforms did not differ significantly between the two resistance-trained groups [CB = 55.76 (SD 5.38)%; RT = 45.72 (SD 7.8)%], CB presented significantly more type IIa MHC isoforms than ER [42.84 (SD 2.98)%] and C [34.72 (SD 1.57)%] subjects (i.e. CB approximately RT > ER approximately C). The MHC type I protein content did not differ significantly among RT [24.20 (SD 4.89)%] ER [25.38 (SD 1.67)%] and C [27.06 (SD 1.81)%] groups. The CB [31.32 (SD 2.67)%] presented significantly more type I MHC isoforms only in comparison with RT. However, when changes in the percentage of MHC type I isoforms were converted to effect sizes (ES), it appeared that low statistical power rather than the absence of an effect accounted for the nonsignificant differences between CB and other groups (i.e. CB > RT approximately ER approximately C). Significant differences existed in isoinertial strength among the trained athletes (i.e. CB > RT > ER approximately C), while isometric and isokinetic strength were not significantly different among any of the trained groups. However, the ES transformation of data demonstrated that large differences existed between resistance-trained groups and ER for isometric and isokinetic strength (i.e. CB approximately RT > ER approximately C). A statistically significant negative correlation (P < 0.001) was found between MHC type IIb isoforms and isoinertial strength index (r = -0.68). The MHC type IIa proteins were positively related to all the strength measures considered (r = 0.51 0.61; P < 0.001). These data demonstrated different patterns of MHC isoform expression among the different groups of athletes and it is suggested that these differences on occasion may affect the expression of strength.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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