The Benefits Of Strength Training Essay

1892 words - 8 pages

The benefits of strength training not only include increased physical strength, but the ability to negate or control certain disease's while improving conditions associated with aging.
Studies have shown that initial increases in strength seen in the beginning stages of strength training programs are largely due to neural factors, even though, the process responsible for muscle growth is evident in early weeks of training. Research shows that different types of neural adaptations like enhanced coordination and increased voluntary activation of major muscles are responsible for these early increases in strength (Sale, 1988, p. S142). Muscle strength is measured by the maximum amount of torque a muscle can produce during a maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) (Duchateau, Semmler & Enoka, 2006, p. 1768). Since humans cannot completely activate a muscle voluntarily, strength training can help increase the amount of muscle a person can activate voluntarily (Gabriel, Kamen & Frost, 2006, p. 135). Some data suggest that the pattern of motor unit activation and the number of motor units activated are equally as important the frequency of activation in producing increased strength (Gabriel, Kamen & Frost, 2006, p. 136). When an individual performs specific exercises repeatedly the motor units that control the activated muscles learn to activate in a simultaneous pattern, increasing strength. This can lead to intermuscular coordination allowing muscles to distribute motor unit activation among the muscles involved in particular exercises. Changes in the capability to distribute muscle activation may be due to the ability to voluntarily activate the muscles needed for specific task (Duchateau, Semmler & Enoka, 2006, p. 1769). Explosive power can be developed by repeatedly performing contracting movements. The tasked motor units will learn to fire at a higher rate, therefore, increased frequency will result in improved rate of force development (Sale, 1988, p. S141). Strength training helps desensitize inhibitory neural feedback which keeps a muscle from tearing under increased force. Decreased inhibition will allow a muscle to recruit more of the already present motor units in untrained muscle and amass more strength (Andrews, 2003, p. 1, 2). Changes in muscle structure due to hypertrophy usually become visible after eight weeks of strength training (Gabriel, Kamen & Frost, 2006, p. 135). Hypertrophy causes muscles to grow and increases maximal strength and endurance by increasing the size or amount of muscle fibers (Butt, 2007, p. 1, 2). Muscle growth is stimulated by process known as sarcomere hypertrophy. Sarcomere hypertrophy is accomplished when muscle cell filaments are damaged under higher intensity than they can support. The damaged muscle cells now have a weaker cell wall which allows chemical elements to enter activating enzymes that identify and discard the damaged filaments. The damaged cell is the invaded by white blood cells which turn into...

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