Peak Force and Maximal Shortening Velocity of Soleus Fibers after Non-Weight-bearing and Resistance Exercise

Document Type




Format of Original

7 p.

Publication Date



American Physiological Society

Source Publication

Journal of Applied Physiology

Source ISSN



Widrick, Jeffrey J., and Robert H. Fitts. Peak force and maximal shortening velocity of soleus fibers after non-weight-bearing and resistance exercise. J. Appl. Physiol. 82(1): 189–195, 1997.—This study examined the effectiveness of resistance exercise as a countermeasure to non-weight-bearing-induced alterations in the absolute peak force, normalized peak force (force/fiber cross-sectional area), peak stiffness, and maximal shortening velocity (V o) of single permeabilized type I soleus muscle fibers. Adult rats were subjected to one of the following treatments: normal weight bearing (WB), non-weight bearing (NWB), or NWB with exercise treatments (NWB+Ex). The hindlimbs of the NWB and NWB+Ex rats were suspended for 14 days via tail harnesses. Four times each day, the NWB+Ex rats were removed from suspension and performed 10 climbs (∼15 cm each) up a steep grid with a 500-g mass (∼1.5 times body mass) attached to their tail harness. NWB was associated with significant reductions in type I fiber diameter, absolute force, normalized force, and stiffness. Exercise treatments during NWB attenuated the decline in fiber diameter and absolute force by almost 60% while maintaining normalized force and stiffness at WB levels. Type I fiberV oincreased by 33% with NWB and remained at this elevated level despite the exercise treatments. We conclude that in comparison to intermittent weight bearing only (J. J. Widrick, J. J. Bangart, M. Karhanek, and R. H. Fitts. J. Appl. Physiol. 80: 981–987, 1996), resistance exercise was more effective in attenuating alterations in type I soleus fiber absolute force, normalized force, and stiffness but was less effective in restoring type I fiberV oto WB levels.


Journal of Applied Physiology, Vol. 81, No. 1 (January 1997): 189-195. Permalink.