Sex Comparison of Knee Extensor Size, Strength and Fatigue Adaptation to Sprint Interval Training

Regular sprint interval training (SIT) improves whole-body aerobic capacity and muscle oxidative potential, but very little is known about knee extensor anabolic or fatigue resistance adaptations, or whether effects are similar for males and females. The purpose of this study was to compare sex-related differences in knee extensor size, torque-velocity relationship and fatigability adaptations to 12 weeks SIT.
Sixteen males and fifteen females (mean (SEM) age: 41 (±2.5) yrs) completed measurements of total body composition assessed by DXA, quadriceps muscle cross-sectional area (CSAQ) assessed by MRI, the knee extensor torque-velocity relationship (covering 0 – 240°·sec-1) and fatigue resistance, which was measured as the decline in torque from the first to the last of 60 repeated concentric knee extensions performed at 180°·sec-1. SIT consisted of 4 x 20 second sprints on a cycle ergometer set at an initial power output of 175% of power at VO2max, three times per week for 12 weeks.
CSAQ increased by 5% (p=0.023) and fatigue resistance improved 4.8% (p=0.048), with no sex differences in these adaptations (sex comparisons: p=0.140 and p=0.282, respectively). Knee extensor isometric and concentric torque was unaffected by SIT in both males and females (p>0.05 for all velocities).
12 weeks SIT, totalling 4 minutes very intense cycling per week, significantly increased fatigue resistance and CSAQ similarly in males and females, but did not significantly increase torque in males or females. These results suggest that SIT is a time-effective training modality for males and females to increase leg muscle size and fatigue resistance.
Corresponding author: Dr Liam Bagley, School of Healthcare Science, John Dalton Building, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK, M1 5GD Email: Tel: (+44) 161 247 1145
Copyright © 2019 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.

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