A Retrospective Analysis to Determine Whether Training-Induced Changes in Muscle Thickness Mediate Changes in Muscle Strength

Matthew B. Jessee, Scott J. Dankel, John P. Bentley, Jeremy P. Loenneke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: To investigate the role of muscle thickness changes on changes in strength following 6 weeks of unaccustomed resistance training, via retrospective analysis. Methods: 151 participants completed 6 weeks of no intervention (CONTROL), one-repetition maximum training (1RM-TRAIN), or traditional resistance training (TRAD-TRAIN). Groups were assigned by covariate adaptive randomization. 1RM-TRAIN and TRAD-TRAIN performed elbow flexion exercise on the dominant arm 3 times/week. One-repetition maximum strength and muscle thickness (B-mode ultrasound at 50, 60, and 70% of the anterior upper arm) were assessed pre- and post-training. Direct and indirect effects on strength via each training modality were quantified relative to CONTROL using indicator-coded, change-score mediation analyses for each muscle thickness site. Values are presented as regression coefficients (95% CI). Results: The effect of 1RM-TRAIN on muscle thickness was greater than CONTROL for 60% [0.09 (0.01, 0.17) cm] and 70% [0.09 (0.01,0.18) cm] models. All muscle thickness changes for TRAD-TRAIN were greater than CONTROL: 50% [0.24 (0.16, 0.33) cm], 60% [0.25 (0.17, 0.33) cm], 70% [0.23 (0.14, 0.32) cm]. All direct effects on strength were greater for 1RM-TRAIN versus CONTROL: 50% [1.90 (1.21, 2.58) kg], 60% [1.89 (1.19, 2.58) kg], 70% [1.81 (1.12, 2.51) kg]; and TRAD-TRAIN versus CONTROL: 50% [2.04 (1.29, 2.80) kg], 60% [1.98 (1.22, 2.75) kg], 70% [1.79 (1.05, 2.53) kg]. Compared to CONTROL, there was no indication of an effect of 1RM-TRAIN on strength through muscle thickness (i.e., indirect effect) for 50% [− 0.03 (− 0.17, 0.10)], 60% [− 0.01 (− 0.17, 0.17)], or 70% [0.07 (− 0.09, 0.28)] sites, nor of TRAD-TRAIN for 50% [− 0.11 (− 0.48,0.29)], 60% [− 0.04 (− 0.42, 0.40)], and 70% sites [0.17 (− 0.23,0.58)]. Conclusion: Training-induced changes in muscle thickness do not appear to appreciably mediate training-induced changes in the strength of untrained individuals during the first 6 weeks of training.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSports Medicine
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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