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Describe the physiological changes that occur in muscle when it is trained for endurance - What are the most effective ways of causing these changes?

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Introduction

Mark Halford 330256 Describe the physiological changes that occur in muscle when it is trained for endurance. What are the most effective ways of causing these changes? Exercise Physiology (02 08027) Endurance is "the ability of muscle groups to perform submaximal contractions for extended periods of time" (Zachazewski, 1996). Endurance is compromised of two parts; muscular and cardiorespiritory endurance. Cardiorespiritory endurance is compromised of the cardio and respiratory systems and refers to the body as a whole, usually referred to as the aerobic system. Aerobic reactions become the main source of energy after several minutes of exercise. Muscular endurance refers to individual muscles. The physiological changes in muscle can be categorised by aerobic changes and anaerobic changes. Anaerobic endurance training induces significant increase of ATP, Phosphocreatine and glycogen stores within muscles themselves. The muscle also has an increased amount and activity of key enzymes i.e. ATPase, that control the anaerobic phase of glucose metabolism. An increase in levels of glycogen and glycoltic enzymes help generate high levels of blood lactate. Aerobically trained muscles have a greater blood supply due to an increase in the number and density of capillaries around skeletal muscle, which provides a greater surface area for increased oxygen exchange. ...read more.

Middle

Endurance training promotes an increase in glycogen storage, Gollnick et. al found an increase of 250% due to an increase in the activity of glycogen synthesis and the glycogen branching enzyme. The issue of whether fibre type changes is still controversial. Studies have shown that muscle fibres can change into slow twitch fibres in animal tests but the question of can endurance training induce such a change in humans is uncertain. Fibre hypotrophy is another field in uncertainty. For a muscle to undergo hypertrophy, it must be put under a level of tension not often found in endurance training. However a study produced by Costill et. al. (1976 in Reilley 1990) found that not only where the male elite runners fibres that he was testing more numerous, which we would expect, but that the fibres themselves were 30% larger than those of an untrained male. Again conflicting results from this study and others, make the issue of whether muscle hypertrophy occurs as a result of endurance training uncertain. Aerobic training doesn't just cause physiological changes in skeletal muscle; cardiac muscle also has physiological changes. The heart has evidence of eccentric and concentric hypertrophy as a result of endurance training. ...read more.

Conclusion

Fartlek training involves a variety of duration, intensity and uses changes in speed. Fartlek is especially good to add variation to a training program and can also be used to mirror sports with constantly changing tempo, basketball, rugby, football are all good examples. Circuit training involves various exercises being performed after one another continuously. Circuit training can involve low intensity high duration used to mainly work on the cardio-respiratory system exercises or slightly higher intensity and slightly lower duration exercise to develop local muscular endurance. A combination of the two can also be used. Interval or repetition training is also another method of improving the aerobic system. This type of training tends to focus toward the lactate threshold. This is because it usually involves work of intensity between 85-95% for duration of 2-3 minutes with a rest of approximately 30 seconds before the same exercise is repeated. Therefore keeping the performers heart beat at the maximum, just before the anaerobic energy system needs to be used. In summary, muscular endurance training is designed to increase the performers' performance at a prolonged activity. This involves enhancing blood supply and increased efficiency in the use of carbohydrates and the promotion in use of fat as a source of energy. The training that needs to be undertaken will depend on the requirements of the chosen sport. ...read more.

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