Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

Micro-Dose of Resistance-Exercise: Effects of Sub-Maximal Thumb Exertion on Leukocyte Redistribution and Fatigue in Trained Male Weightlifters

Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

Micro-Dose of Resistance-Exercise: Effects of Sub-Maximal Thumb Exertion on Leukocyte Redistribution and Fatigue in Trained Male Weightlifters

Article excerpt


In sports such as Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting and Strongman, resistance-exercise is the primary mode of training. The mechanical stress imposed on weightlifting athletes during resistance-exercise induces skeletal-muscle sarcomere damage with subsequent alterations in biochemical serum profiles (Brancaccio, Lippi, & Maffulli, 2010). Additionally, weightlifting athletes undergo an altered psychological, physiological, biochemical and molecular status (Brancaccio et al., 2010; Hedelin, Bjerle, & Henriksson-Larsén, 2001; Robson-Ansley & Lakier Smith, 2006; Twist & Eston, 2005). In order to promote adaptive extensive metabolic and molecular remodelling within the skeletal muscle (Clarkson, Nosaka, & Braun, 1992; Egan & Zierath, 2013; Sonnet et al., 2005), characterisation of different dose-responses must be undertaken including low-dose resistance-exercise protocols.

Acute and chronic intervention studies have demonstrated profound leukocyte responses to exercise with demonstrated relevance to athlete health, tissue repair, regeneration and coordination of further recovery responses (Gleeson, 2007; Walsh et al., 2011). Neutrophils for example are chemo-attracted to muscle sites through myokines released from skeletal muscle to aid macrophages with phagocytosis and oxidative burst activity (Tidball & Villalta, 2010). Macrophages perform tissue phagocytosis, indirectly recruit further monocytes and stimulate satellite cell proliferation, all of which is required for recovery and adaptation from resistance-exercise (Chazaud et al., 2003; Mosser & Edwards, 2008; Sonnet et al., 2006; Stupka et al., 2000). A caveat for resistance-exercise science is that exercise immunology research to date has largely focused on endurance exercise (Freidenreich & Volek, 2012; Walsh et al., 2011). The limited literature which has examined resistance-exercise focussed on leukocyte redistribution post high-dose dynamic exercise, often combining multiple muscle groups (Bermon, Philip, Candito, Ferrari, & Dolisi, 2001; Freidenreich & Volek, 2012). As exercise intensity and duration positively regulate the leukocyte responses to resistance-exercise (Bush et al., 1999; Kraemer et al., 1999), low-dose protocols should be studied to determine leukocyte sensitivity and the recovery implications associated with small muscle-group exertion. Knowledge of this cellular sensitivity is relevant to weightlifting athletes who recruit small muscle groups for gripping and pinch manoeuvres such as isometrically gripping a barbell and thus recruiting the intrinsic thumb muscles (Towles, Hentz, & Murray, 2008). Moreover, weightlifting technique sessions with minimal external load are often incorporated into recovery days or as an additional session due to the notion that gripping unloaded barbells is rest. Recovery research employing hand or thumb resistance-exercise in weightlifters would therefore be pragmatic whilst exploring the sensitivity of leukocytes to this exercise mode. Failure to characterise these cellular responses in the hand and thumb musculature could have adverse implications for tissue remodelling, pinch or grip ability and thus weightlifting performance.

Also, as pinch-strength and reported fatigued can affect athletic performance and are influenced by exercise intensity and duration (Chen et al., 2011), these adjunct performance-indicators should be studied simultaneously with leukocyte changes in low-dose and micro-dose resistance-exercise studies.

In this study, the following hypotheses were made: A micro-dose of thumb resistance-exercise is sufficiently stressful to affect circulating leukocyte counts; Thumb maximum voluntary contraction would decay and perception of thumb fatigue would increase post-exercise; Magnitude of change for all measures would be greatest in the weightlifting experimental group.



All participants in this study provided written informed-consent. …

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