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Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise:
BASIC SCIENCES: Original Investigations

Left ventricular morphology in junior and master resistance trained athletes


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HAYKOWSKY, M. J., H. A. QUINNEY, R. GILLIS, and C. R. THOMPSON. Left ventricular morphology in junior and master resistance trained athletes. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 32, No. 2, pp. 349–352, 2000.

Purpose: The objective of this cross-sectional investigation was to assess the effects of short (<5 yr) versus long-term (≥18 yr) resistance training (RT) on left ventricular (LV) dimensions and mass.

Methods: The subjects for this study were 20 elite male powerlifters (8 junior athletes [JA], mean ± SD, age: 21.1 ± 1.2 yr and 12 master athletes [MA], age: 46.0 ± 5.5 yr) and 19 age-matched male controls (8 young controls [YC], age: 21.8 ± 2.8 yr and 11 middle-aged controls [MAC], age: 46.8 ± 4.4 yr). Two-dimensionally guided transthoracic M-mode echocardiograms were performed at rest to quantify LV systolic and diastolic cavity dimension (LVIDs and LVIDd, respectively), ventricular septal wall thickness (VST), posterior wall thickness (PWT), LV mass (LVM), and LV systolic function as measured as fractional shortening (FS).

Results: Short- or long-term RT was not associated with a significant alteration in LVIDd (JA: 53.2 ± 4.5 mm, YC: 52.1 ± 3.7 mm, MA: 53.0 ± 5.1 mm, MAC: 51.8 ± 4.4 mm), LVIDs (JA: 33.5 ± 4.8 mm, YC: 32.9 ± 3.4 mm, MA: 33.0 ± 4.4 mm, MAC: 31.4 ± 3.7 mm), VST (JA: 9.4 ± 0.9 mm, YC: 9.4 ± 0.9 mm, MA: 9.4 ± 1.6 mm, MAC: 9.7 ± 0.9 mm), PWT (JA: 9.2 ± 0.9 mm, YC: 9.4 ± 0.9 mm, MA: 9.0 ± 1.1 mm, MAC: 9.5 ± 1.0 mm), LVM (JA: 184.6 ± 36.1 g, YC: 179.0 ± 26.5 g, MA, 183.3 ± 58.1 g, MAC: 184.1 ± 38.1 g), or FS (JA: 0.37 ± 0.1%, YC: 0.37 ± 0.05%, MA: 0.38 ± 0.1%, MAC: 0.40 ± 0.04%).

Conclusions: These findings suggest that short or long-term RT as performed by elite junior and master powerlifters does not alter LV morphology or systolic function.

Short- and long-termathletic training have been shown to be associated with left ventricular (LV) morphologic adaptations including increases in posterior wall thickness (PWT), ventricular septal wall thickness (VST), diastolic cavity size (LVIDd), and estimated LV mass (LVM) (12). The magnitude of the alteration in LV morphology has been shown to be related to the length of training exposure as master athletes had larger LV dimensions and mass compared with “sport-matched” junior athletes (13,14). However, a limitation of the studies assessing the “athletes heart” in junior and master athletes has been the primary focus on athletes performing endurance disciplines.

Previous studies have found that short-term resistance training (RT) was associated with increases in LV wall thickness, relative wall thickness, and estimated LVM in younger individuals (2,3). Moreover, increased age has also been shown to induce LV morphologic changes similar to that found secondary to RT (9). Therefore, it is possible that the combination of aging and RT may be a potent stimulus to induce LV hypertrophy. However, the effects of short- versus long-term RT on LV morphology have not been well studied. Accordingly, the purpose of this cross-sectional echocardiographic study was to assess the effects of short-term (<5 yr) versus long-term RT (≥18 yr) as performed by junior and master athletes on LV dimensions, mass, and systolic function.

©2000The American College of Sports Medicine


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