Škarabot2020_Article_TheKnownsAndUnknownsOfNeuralAd.pdf (1.33 MB)

The knowns and unknowns of neural adaptations to resistance training

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journal contribution
posted on 07.01.2021, 10:05 by Jakob Skarabot, Callum George Brownstein, Andrea Casolo, Alessandro Del Vecchio, Paul Ansdell
The initial increases in force production with resistance training are thought to be primarily underpinned by neural adaptations. This notion is irmly supported by evidence displaying motor unit adaptations following resistance training; however, the precise locus of neural adaptation remains elusive. The purpose of this review is to clarify and critically discuss the literature concerning the site(s) of putative neural adaptations to short-term resistance training. The proliferation of studies employing non-invasive stimulation techniques to investigate evoked responses have yielded variable results, but generally support the notion that resistance training alters intracortical inhibition. Nevertheless, methodological inconsistencies and the limitations of techniques, e.g., limited relation to behavioural outcomes and the inability to measure volitional muscle activity, preclude irm conclusions. Much of the literature has focused on the corticospinal tract; however, preliminary research in non-human primates suggests reticulospinal tract is a potential substrate for neural adaptations to resistance training, though human data is lacking due to methodological constraints. Recent advances in technology have provided substantial evidence of adaptations within a large motor unit population following resistance training. However, their activity represents the transformation of aferent and eferent inputs, making it challenging to establish the source of adaptation. Whilst much has been learned about the nature of neural adaptations to resistance training, the puzzle remains to be solved. Additional analyses of motoneuron iring during diferent training regimes or coupling with other methodologies (e.g., electroencephalography) may facilitate the estimation of the site(s) of neural adaptations to resistance training in the future.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

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European Journal of Applied Physiology


Springer Verlag


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© The authors

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This is an Open Access Article. It is published by Springer under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY). Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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Dr Jakob Skarabot. Deposit date: 15 December 2020