The purpose of the study was to investigate the relationship between muscle fiber composition and the rate of force development (RFD) in well-trained individuals with different training background. Thirty-eight young males with different training background participated: 9 endurance runners, 10 power-trained, 9 strength-trained, and 10 sedentary. They performed maximal isometric leg press for the measurement of RFD. Body composition (dual x-ray absorptiometry) and vastus lateralis fiber type composition was also evaluated. When all participants were examined as a group, moderate correlations were found between the percent of type II muscle fibers and RFD between 100-600ms (r: 0.321 - 0.497, p<0.05). The correlation coefficients were higher for the cross-sectional area (CSA) and the %CSA of type II and IIx muscle fibers (r: 0.599 - 0.847, p<0.001). For the power group, RFD up to 250ms was highly correlated with % type IIx muscle fibers and type IIx fiber CSA (r: 0.670 - 0.826, p<0.05), as well as with %CSA of type IIx fibers (r: 0.714 - 0.975, p<0.05). Significant correlations were found between the relative RFD (·kg-1 lower extremities lean mass) and CSA-%CSA of type II and IIx fibers for the power group (r: 0.676 - 0.903, p<0.05). No significant correlations were found between muscle morphology and RFD for the other groups. In conclusion, the present data suggest that there is a strong link between the type IIx muscle fibers and early RFD and relative RFD in power-trained participants. Type II fibers seem to be moderately linked with RFD in non-power-trained individuals.
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