Cycle training is widely performed as a major part of any exercise program seeking to improve aerobic capacity and cardiovascular health. However, the effect of cycle training on muscle size and strength gain still requires further insight, even though it is known that professional cyclists display larger muscle size compared to controls. Therefore, the purpose of this review is to discuss the effects of cycle training on muscle size and strength of the lower extremity and the possible mechanisms for increasing muscle size with cycle training. It is plausible that cycle training requires a longer period to significantly increase muscle size compared to typical resistance training due to a much slower hypertrophy rate. Cycle training induces muscle hypertrophy similarly between young and older age groups, while strength gain seems to favor older adults, which suggests that the probability for improving in muscle quality appears to be higher in older adults compared to young adults. For young adults, higher-intensity intermittent cycling may be required to achieve strength gains. It also appears that muscle hypertrophy induced by cycle training results from the positive changes in muscle protein net balance.
It was unknown whether ultrasound-measured forearm muscle thickness was impacted by pronation of the forearm. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of forearm pronation on two forearm muscle thicknesses (MT-ulna and MT-radius).
Participants and Methods
Fourteen healthy children and adolescents sat on a chair with their right arm comfortably on a table, and their hands were fixed to the board with elastic bands. The probe was placed perpendicularly over the forearm, and the angle of the board was then pronated in 5° increments from −10° to 30°. The average value of the two measures at each angle was used.
There was evidence that MT-ulna differed across measurement sites (F = 51.086, P < 0.001). For example, the values of the MT-ulna were 2.58 (SD 0.40) cm in standard position (0°), 2.56 (SD 0.41) in −10°, 2.62 (SD 0.41) in 10°, 2.65 (SD 0.42) in 20°, and 2.71 (SD 0.43) in 30°. Follow-up tests found that all sites differed from each other except for −10° and −5° (P = 0.155) and 10° and 15° (P = 0.075). There was also evidence that the MT-radius differed across measurement sites (F = 22.07, P < 0.001). Follow-up tests found that many but not all sites differed from each other.
Our results suggest that MT-ulna increases and MT-radius decreases due to forearm pronation from the standard position (0°). When determining the forearm position using the 95% limits of agreement, we recommend the forearm position within ±5° of the standard forearm position when measuring forearm MT.
Grip strength is a marker of future health conditions and is mainly generated by the extrinsic flexor muscles of the fingers. Therefore, whether or not there is a relationship between grip strength and forearm muscle size is vital in considering strategies for grip strength development during growth. Thus, this study aimed to examine the association between changes in grip strength and forearm muscle thickness in young children.
Two hundred eighteen young children (104 boys and 114 girls) performed maximum voluntary grip strength and ultrasound-measured muscle thickness measurements in the right hand. Two muscle thicknesses were measured as the perpendicular distance between the adipose tissue-muscle interface and muscle-bone interface of the radius (MT-radius) and ulna (MT-ulna). All participants completed the first measurement and underwent a second measurement one year after the first one.
There were significant (P < 0.001) within-subject correlations between MT-ulna and grip strength [r = 0.50 (0.40, 0.60)] and MT-radius and grip strength [r = 0.59 (0.49, 0.67)]. There was no significant between-subject correlation between MT-ulna and grip strength [r = 0.07 (−0.05, 0.20)], but there was a statistically significant (P < 0.001) between-subject relationship between MT-radius and grip strength [r = 0.27 (0.14, 0.39)].
Although we cannot infer causation from the present study, our findings suggest that as muscle size increases within a child, so does muscle strength. Our between-subject analysis, however, suggests that those who observed the greatest change in muscle size did not necessarily get the strongest.