Hypertrophy without increased isometric strength after weight training
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Eight men (20-23 years) weight trained 3 days.week-1 for 19 weeks. Training sessions consisted of six sets of a leg press exercise (simultaneous hip and knee extension and ankle plantar flexion) on a weight machine, the last three sets with the heaviest weight that could be used for 7-20 repetitions. In comparison to a control group (n = 6) only the trained group increased (P less than 0.01) weight lifting performance (heaviest weight lifted for one repetition, 29%), and left and right knee extensor cross-sectional area (CAT scanning and computerized planimetry, 11%, P less than 0.05). In contrast, training caused no increase in maximal voluntary isometric knee extension strength, electrically evoked knee extensor peak twitch torque, and knee extensor motor unit activation (interpolated twitch method). These data indicate that a moderate but significant amount of hypertrophy induced by weight training does not necessarily increase performance in an isometric strength task different from the training task but involving the same muscle group. The failure of evoked twitch torque to increase despite hypertrophy may further indicate that moderate hypertrophy in the early stage of strength training may not necessarily cause an increase in intrinsic muscle force generating capacity.
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