In a new study, researchers found that during strength training, endurance muscle fiber number is decreased.
This means strength training may come at the expense of endurance muscles.
The research was conducted by a team from the University of Basel.
More and more people are striving to build up and strengthen their muscles. But what exactly happens in the muscle during training was unknown.
Generally, there are two types of muscle, depending on the type of fibers they are made of:
There are slow-twitch fibers for endurance muscles, which are formed mainly during endurance sports. Marathon runners primarily exercise this type of muscle.
The second form of muscle consisting of fast-twitch fibers. These strength muscles gain in volume during strength training and provide substantial muscular power.
In the study, the team closely examined strength muscles and the myokine brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which plays an important role in the formation of the strength muscle fibers.
They found that BDNF not only causes the strength muscles to develop but at the same time leads to endurance muscle fiber number decline.
During strength training, BDNF becomes active and the body developing more strength muscle fibers. Meanwhile, the endurance muscle fiber number is reduced.
The finding provides a possible explanation for the decrease in endurance musculature seen as a result of strength training.
It also provides new insights into age-related muscle atrophy and may help develop a new treatment for the condition.
The lead author of the study is Prof. Christoph Handschin’s at the Biozentrum, University of Basel.
The study is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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