STRENGTH GAINS ARE LARGELY NEURAL
Aagaard, P., Simonsen, E. B., Andersen, J. L., Magnusson, S. P., & Dyhre-Poulson, P. (2002). Neural adaptation to resistance training evidenced by changes in evoked V-wave and H reflex responses. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 34(5), Supplement abstract 653.
Hoffmann (H) reflex and V wave responses were recorded in the soleus muscle of male Ss (N = 14) before and after 14 weeks of heavy-resistance training.
All indexes of neural changes increased significantly. This indicated an enhanced motor output of spinal motoneurons during maximal voluntary muscle contraction. "Taken together, these date indicated that the training induced increase in motoneuron output may involve both supraspinal and spinal adaptation mechanisms (i.e., increased central motor drive, elevated motoneuron excitability and/or reduced presynaptic inhibition" (p. S116).
Implication. The nature of the major proportion of strength gains in athletes is likely to be neural rather than physical.
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