Acute and chronic effects of resistance training muscle length and contraction mode on hamstrings architecture, morphology and neuromuscular function

   Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

  Dr Gerard McMahon, Dr Rodney Kennedy  Monday, February 26, 2024  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

It is possible to improve athletic performance and reduce injury risk by targeting specific resistance training adaptations. Muscles such as the hamstrings play a pivotal role in sports performance but are also highly susceptible to hamstring strain injuries.

Previous research has shown that the length of the muscle fibres of the hamstring muscles have a particularly profound effect on hamstring muscle function and propensity to injury. Sports practitioners can target changing hamstring muscle fibre lengths via a number of resistance training strategies, including the length of the muscle during resistance training (longer vs shorter), as well as the type of contraction used during resistance training (lengthening versus shortening contraction).

Despite many research studies showing that both longer muscle length and a lengthening contraction mode can independently have beneficial effects on hamstring muscle fibre lengths, muscle size and function, no studies to date have investigated the combined effects of muscle length and contraction mode on adaptations. Therefore, this project will investigate the combination of training using shortening and lengthening muscle contractions at both shorter and longer muscle fibre lengths and their effects on muscle fibre lengths, muscle size and function.

Business & Management (5) Psychology (31) Sport & Exercise Science (33)


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Timmins, R.G., Shield, A.J., Williams, M.D., Lorenzen, C. and Opar, D.A., 2016a. Architectural adaptations of muscle to training and injury: a narrative review outlining the contributions by fascicle length, pennation angle and muscle thickness. British journal of sports medicine, 50(23), pp.1467-1472.
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Maeo, S., Huang, M., Wu, Y., Sakurai, H., Kusagawa, Y., Sugiyama, T., Kanehisa, H. and Isaka, T., 2021. Greater hamstrings muscle hypertrophy but similar damage protection after training at long versus short muscle lengths. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 53(4), p.825.
Miyazaki, T. and Fujii, N., 2022. Effects of changes in optimal muscle fibre length in the biceps femoris long head on muscle force during the late swing phase of maximal speed sprinting: a simulation study. Sports Biomechanics, pp.1-16.
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