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Researchers investigate interindividual variation in training volume and strength gains in isometric knee extension and hip flexion – ScienceDaily


Exercise plays a significant role in learning, rehabilitation and healthy living. These activities require different regimens based on the desired results. For example, unlike the elderly, an athlete can perform complex exercises. Therefore, an appropriate training program should be based on the identification and analysis of factors that influence individual learning.

Previous research has shown that high-intensity isometric training results in greater strength gains compared to low-intensity isometric training. However, recent research has shown that strength gains depend primarily on total training volume. Training volume is defined as the product of the percentage of maximal voluntary contraction (MVC), the duration of contraction per set, and the number of sets per session. Notably, the above conclusion is based on the mean response of the group. However, interindividual variables such as temporal changes in strength and resistance to fatigue also affect the actual training volume. Therefore, it should be equal to the total impulse given by the areas under the exercise force-time curves.

In this vein, researchers from Japan, including Professor Ryota Akagi of Shibaura Institute of Technology (SIT) and Dr. Ryoichi Emo of Shizuoka Sangyo University, in a recent study examined the relationship between individual variability in strength changes and training volume. . “In our study, we compared the strength gains of muscle groups with different joint actions to eliminate inconsistencies in the existing research literature,” explains Professor Akagi. Their work was published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology on September 26, 2022.

As part of the study, 26 untrained healthy young men underwent four weeks of isometric training involving either knee extension (KE) or hip flexion (HF). The workouts, performed three times a week, consisted of four sets of ten three-second contractions, one every 20 seconds. Participants were forced to exert maximum force as fast and as hard as possible. Their efforts in each session ie. training volumes were estimated by calculating the area under the time-torque curve of 40 contractions. In addition, researchers assessed changes in maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) torque (the peak value of each contraction) during KE and HF for the participants.

They found that torque increased significantly in the KE and HF groups. Moreover, the corresponding changes in MVC torque, exercise volume, and changes in total impulse over time were similar for both groups.

The researchers then further analyzed the collected data, dividing the participants in each group into high and low responders based on the magnitude of the magnitude of the MVC torque changes. Low responders had significantly higher baseline torque and training volume. They also had a faster and higher increase in the latter parameter. Moreover, total volume was positively correlated with changes in MVC torque, indicating strength gains in their case. Among good responders, this correlation was observed only during the first week.

Finally, respondents did not show a significant relationship between baseline strength and strength gain. Baseline determined only the participant’s learning response (above or below average) in the learning group.

The study therefore establishes a relationship between total training volume and magnitude of strength gains in poor responders. This suggests that training volume may a priori determine the individual adaptation of participants with a relatively high strength-to-weight ratio. The results obtained are applicable to athletes so that coaches can evaluate their response to training by examining the strength-to-weight ratio at the beginning and the increase in training volume from the first session to the middle of training. The presented isometric resistance regimen can improve MVC strength by approximately 20% regardless of joint action.

“Improving muscle strength is important for maintaining good health and enjoying exercise. In this regard, our work will contribute to the development of effective and individualized training regimens for everyone,” concludes Professor Akagi, speaking of the future implications of the work.

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Materials is provided Shibaur Institute of Technology. Note: Content can be edited for style and length.

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