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ORIGINAL ARTICLE  EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGY AND BIOMECHANICS 

The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2020 June;60(6):809-13

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.20.10048-3

Copyright © 2020 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Muscle thickness and strength adaptations in dominant and non-dominant upper limbs

Leonardo CARVALHO, Renato BARROSO

Department of Sport Sciences, School of Physical Education, University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Campinas, Brazil



BACKGROUND: It is currently unknown if muscle growth and strength gain are similar in both dominant and non-dominant limbs of the same individual with the same training load. Therefore, the objective of this study was to analyze initial muscle size and strength levels in both upper limbs and compare changes in muscle size and strength between dominant and non-dominant upper limbs with a within-individual experimental design with high-load resistance training.
METHODS: Ten untrained participants performed six weeks of unilateral resistance training for upper limbs (i.e., elbow flexors) using 80% of 1 repetition maximum (1RM). Muscle thickness and 1RM were assessed before and after the training period. We used a two-way repeated measures ANOVA to compared changes between limbs, effect sizes (ES) were also calculated.
RESULTS: Muscle thickness and 1RM were not different between limbs at baseline. There was a main time effect for muscle thickness (P<0.0001; dominant: 10±4%, ES=0.83; non-dominant: 11±3%, ES=0.85) and 1RM (P<0.0001; dominant: 23±15%, ES=1.8; non-dominant: 30±17%, ES=1.9), but there was no interaction effect for muscle thickness (P=0.63) and 1RM (P=0.32). There was no difference between dominant and non-dominant limbs in volume load (ES=0.4; P=0.13).
CONCLUSIONS: Similar baseline strength level and muscle thickness, and training volume may explain similar adaptations observed. Within-individual design seems reliable to investigate training models as both limbs adapt similarly to the same stimulus.


KEY WORDS: Exercise; Hypertrophy; Resistance training; Elbow

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