Partial range of motion exercise is effective for facilitating muscle hypertrophy and function via sustained intramuscular hypoxia in young trained men

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The acute response to and long-term effects of partial range of motion exercise (PRE) and full range of motion exercise (FRE) of elbow extensors were compared in young trained men. The PRE was expected to increase the intramuscular hypoxic environment, which was theorized to enhance muscular hypertrophy. Forty-four resistance-trained men were divided into two training groups, PRE (n = 22) or FRE (n = 22) group, and performed the PRE or FRE acute exercise protocol. The PRE (elbow range from 45° to 90°) and FRE (from 0° to 120°) acute protocols consisted of 3 sets of 8 repetitions, with an 8-repetition maximum (RM), and an equivalent workload. After the initial testing, the training program for each group, comprised three training sessions per week for 8 weeks, was started. The acute responses of area under the oxygenated hemoglobin (Oxy-Hb) curve, blood lactate concentration, and root-mean-square of electromyography were significantly higher both before and after PRE than FRE training. Long-term effects were produced by both PRE and FRE, with significant (p < 0.05) increases in cross-sectional area (CSA) of triceps brachii and isometric strength. CSA increased significantly greater after PRE (48.7 ± 14.5%) than after FRE (28.2 ± 10.9%). Furthermore, during the PRE program, a positive correlation was detected between the percent increase in CSA and area under the Oxy-Hb curves before and after 8-week exercise training (before 8-week exercise training: r = 0.59, after 8-week exercise training: r = 0.70, p < 0.01). These results suggest that intramuscular hypoxia might facilitate muscular hypertrophy with PRE being more effective than FRE.

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