Contrasts in muscle and myofibers of elite male and female bodybuilders

Stephen Alway, W. H. Grumbt, W. J. Gonyea, J. Stray-Gundersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

94 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Muscle cross-sectional area (CSA), fiber area, and fiber number were determined from the biceps brachii of eight elite male bodybuilders (MB) and five elite female bodybuilders (FB) who had similar training characteristics. Biceps CSA was obtained from computer tomographic scanning and corrected for non-contractile tissue. Biceps CSA was twofold greater in MB relative to FB and strongly correlated to lean body mass (R = 0.93). Biceps CSA expressed per kilogram lean body mass (LBM) or per centimeter body height (BH) was 35% greater in MB compared with FB. Most of the gender difference in muscle CSA was because of greater absolute mean fiber areas in MB (9,607 μm2) relative to FB (5,386 μm2); however, MB also had a significantly greater population of small type II fibers (<2,000 μm2) compared with FB. Type II fiber area/LBM averaged 1,6-fold greater in MB compared with FB; however, type I fiber area/LBM was similar between groups. Biceps CSA was positively correlated to fiber CSA (R = 0.75) and fiber number (R = 0.55). This suggests that adaptations to resistance training may be complex and involve fiber hypertrophy and fiber number (e.g., proliferation). Alternatively, since the muscular characteristics before training are not known, these apparent adaptations might be genetically determined attributes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-31
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Volume67
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989
Externally publishedYes

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Muscles
Body Height
Resistance Training
Hypertrophy
Population

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

Cite this

Alway, S., Grumbt, W. H., Gonyea, W. J., & Stray-Gundersen, J. (1989). Contrasts in muscle and myofibers of elite male and female bodybuilders. Journal of applied physiology, 67(1), 24-31.

Contrasts in muscle and myofibers of elite male and female bodybuilders. / Alway, Stephen; Grumbt, W. H.; Gonyea, W. J.; Stray-Gundersen, J.

In: Journal of applied physiology, Vol. 67, No. 1, 01.01.1989, p. 24-31.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Alway, S, Grumbt, WH, Gonyea, WJ & Stray-Gundersen, J 1989, 'Contrasts in muscle and myofibers of elite male and female bodybuilders', Journal of applied physiology, vol. 67, no. 1, pp. 24-31.
Alway, Stephen ; Grumbt, W. H. ; Gonyea, W. J. ; Stray-Gundersen, J. / Contrasts in muscle and myofibers of elite male and female bodybuilders. In: Journal of applied physiology. 1989 ; Vol. 67, No. 1. pp. 24-31.
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