Short‐term aerobic conditioning prior to resistance training augments muscle hypertrophy and satellite cell content in healthy young men and women
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Factors influencing inter-individual variability of responses to resistance training (RT) remain to be fully elucidated. We have proposed the importance of capillarization in skeletal muscle for the satellite cell (SC) response to RT-induced muscle hypertrophy, and hypothesized that aerobic conditioning (AC) would augment RT-induced adaptations. Fourteen healthy young (22 ± 2 years) men and women underwent AC via 6 weeks of unilateral cycling followed by 10 weeks of bilateral RT to investigate how AC alters SC content, activity, and muscle hypertrophy following RT. Muscle biopsies were taken at baseline (unilateral), post AC (bilateral), and post RT (bilateral) in the aerobically conditioned (AC + RT) and unconditioned (RT) legs. Immunofluorescence was used to determine muscle capillarization, fiber size, SC content, and activity. Type I and type II fiber cross-sectional area (CSA) increased following RT, and when legs were analyzed independently, AC + RT increased type I, type II, and mixed-fiber CSA, where the RT leg tended to increase type II (p = .05), but not type I or mixed-fiber CSA. SC content, activation, and differentiation increased with RT, where type I total and quiescent SC content was greater in AC + RT compared to the RT leg. Those with the greatest capillary-to-fiber perimeter exchange index before RT had the greatest change in CSA following RT and a significant relationship was observed between type II fiber capillarization and the change in type II-fiber CSA with RT (r = 0.35). This study demonstrates that AC prior to RT can augment RT-induced muscle adaptions and that these differences are associated with increases in capillarization.