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Endurance training-induced increase in muscle oxidative capacity without loss of muscle mass in younger and older resistance-trained men

Hendrickse, PW and Venckunas, T and Platkevicius, J and Kairaitis, R and Kamandulis, S and Snieckus, A and Stasiulis, A and Vitkiene, J and Subocius, A and Degens, H (2021) Endurance training-induced increase in muscle oxidative capacity without loss of muscle mass in younger and older resistance-trained men. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 121 (11). pp. 3161-3172. ISSN 1439-6319

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Abstract

While concurrent training is regularly used in older populations, the inverse relationship between fibre size and oxidative capacity suggests that endurance training in resistance-trained individuals may result in some loss of resistance training-induced gains in muscle mass, which may be more pronounced in older people. We investigated the impact of superimposed endurance training in younger (28.5 ± 4.8 years; n = 8) and older (67.5 ± 5.5 years; n = 7) highly resistance-trained men. Participants underwent a 10-week endurance cycling training programme consisting of five 6-min intervals at 75% max heart rate (HRmax) separated by 4-min intervals at 90% HRmax. The anatomical cross-sectional area (ACSA) of the thigh muscles, as determined with MRI, was 24% smaller in older compared to younger participants (p < 0.001). Although maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max) was also lower in the older group (p < 0.001), VO2max per kg body mass did not differ significantly between younger and older participants. Histological analyses of biopsies of the m. vastus lateralis showed that endurance training induced an increase in succinate dehydrogenase activity in both younger and older participants (p ≤ 0.043), and an increase in the number of capillaries around type I fibres (p = 0.017). The superimposed endurance training did not induce a significant decrease in thigh ACSA, fibre cross-sectional area, or knee extensor maximum voluntary isometric force. These observations indicate that adding endurance training to resistance training can lead to positive endurance-related adaptations without negative consequences for muscle size and strength in older and younger resistance-trained people.

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