Introduction: Modulation of muscle characteristics was attempted through altering muscle stretch during resistance training. We hypothesized that stretch would enhance muscle responses.
Methods: Participants trained for 8 weeks, loading the quadriceps in a shortened (SL, 0-50° knee flexion; n=10) or lengthened (LL, 40-90°; n=11) position, followed by 4 weeks of detraining. Controls (CON; n=10) were untrained. Quadriceps strength, vastus lateralis architecture, anatomical cross-sectional area (aCSA), and serum insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) were measured at weeks 0, 8, 10, and 12.
Results: Increases in fascicle length (29±4% vs. 14±4%), distal aCSA (53±12% vs. 18±8%), strength (26±6% vs. 7±3%), and IGF-1 (31±6% vs. 7±6%) were greater in LL compared with SL muscles (P<0.05). No changes occurred in CON. Detraining decrements in strength and aCSA were greater in SL than LL muscles (P<0.05).
Conclusions: Enhanced muscle in vivo (and somewhat IGF-1) adaptations to resistance training are concurrent with muscle stretch, which warrants its inclusion within training.