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Adaptations to long term exercise - Neuromuscular System

Updated on July 28, 2012

Neuromuscular system

Hypertrophy - Hypertrophy is a training adaptation and refers to the increase in length of the Sacromere of a muscle fibre and henceforth the overall size of the muscle altogether. As muscle strength is directly proportional to it cross-sectional measurement, a hypertrophied muscle is capable of exerting greater contractile strength. This is stimulated by a combination of high weight/force, low repetition/duration exercise and the hormone ‘Testosterone’.

Increased tendon strength and flexibility – Tendons connect muscle to bone and come under forces during exercise forcing them to adapt to become stronger to better deal with the forces applied, it also becomes of greater important to adapt and maintain a harmonious balance as the muscles they are attached to grow in size, results in a greater force and pull upon the bone, or improve in their ability to move in faster and more repeated bouts.

Increased storage of Myoglobin, fat and glycogen within the muscle – long term training increases the quantity of mitochondria for metabolism to take place, this in combination with a greater potential storage capacity for glycogen, fat and Myoglobin results in an increase in the output of ATP, particularly via the Aerobic pathway.

Greater tolerance to lactic acid – As a result of working anaerobically and enduring levels of lactic acid the muscles adapt in order to withstand greater levels of lactic acid in the future, this is coupled with the bodies increasingly improved ability to clear lactic acid and regulate current levels, as a result of a combination of the enhancements and adaptations of the other bodily systems to long term exercise and the body experience at clearing previous bouts of lactic acid.

Improved Neurotransmissions – As a long term adaptation to exercise the Neurotransmitters become more proficient at firing their electrical signals across the synoptic gap and a faster transit throughout the whole CNS altogether in order to enable faster more accurate signals from the brain to the working muscles for exercise. Furthermore Acetylcholinesterase quantities are increased which in co-operation with Acetylcoline facilitates firing of electrical signals, exercise demands increasing amounts of signals to be send from the brain to the muscles to fire up the muscle fibres, so this adaptation of the body will better enable exercise in the future.


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