Time course of changes in muscle and tendon properties during strength training and detraining

J Strength Cond Res. 2010 Feb;24(2):322-31. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181c865e2.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the time course of changes in mechanical and morphological properties of muscle and tendon during isometric training and detraining. Eight subjects completed 3 months of isometric knee extension training and detraining for another 3 months. At beginning and on every 1 month of training and detraining periods, muscle strength, neural activation level, muscle and tendon cross-sectional areas (CSA), and tendon stiffness were measured. Training increased muscle strength and neural activation level by 29.6 and 7.3% after 2 months and by 40.5 and 8.9% after 3 months (all p's < 0.05). Muscle CSA and tendon stiffness did not change until 2 months of training period, and afterward, the increases in muscle CSA and tendon stiffness reached statistical significance at the end of training period (both p's < 0.05). During detraining period, muscle strength and neural activation level did not change, although muscle CSA and tendon stiffness decreased to pre-training level at 1 and 2 months of detraining, respectively. These results suggest that the adaptations of tendon properties and muscle morphology to resistance training are slower than those of muscle function and inversely that the adaptations of former to detraining are faster than those of latter.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Electromyography
  • Humans
  • Isometric Contraction / physiology
  • Knee Joint / physiology*
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Resistance Training / methods*
  • Tendons / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Torque
  • Young Adult