Contractile Responses of the Rat Gastrocnemius and Soleus Muscles to Isotonic Resistance Exercise
Journal of Applied Physiology
Male rats were divided into control and weight-trained (WT) groups. WT rats performed squattype exercises twice daily, 5 days/wk, for 14 wk. They averaged 36 lifts/day, with an average weight of 555 g. Muscle-to-body weight ratio (mg/g) of the soleus (Sol) was not different from control, but it increased 11 and 6% in the gastrocnemius (Gast) and plantaris, respectively (P < 0.05). The normalized twitch tension of the in situ Sol was elevated by 21%, whereas single-skinned type I fibers from the Sol showed an increased rate constant of tension redevelopment (Ktr) but no other contractile adaptations to WT. In contrast, the Gast type I fibers showed an increase (P < 0.05) in maximal velocity of shortening (25%), peak power (15%), Ktr (18%), and normalized tension (7%). The Ktr and normalized tension of the Gast type IIa fibers increased by 24% (P < 0.05) and 12% (P < 0.05), respectively, whereas velocity and power showed a tendency to increase. Fiber size, determined by myosin ATPase histochemistry, was not different for any fiber type from the Gast or Sol. These results indicate that isotonic resistance exercise of the calf targets the Gast (type I and type IIa fibers) and has little effect on the Sol.