BACKGROUND: A paucity of research exits concerning physiological factors influencing heart structure and function in strength athletes. This pilot study investigated whether body composition and muscle performance is associated with indices of cardiac structure and function in experienced resistance trainers.
METHODS: A cross-sectional study designed was employed to address the study aim. Seventeen males (median age 33.0 years) and eight females (median age 32.5 years) with backgrounds in bodybuilding and powerlifting participated in this study. Muscle performance, body composition and echocardiographic measures were performed. Mann-Whitney U tests were used to examine differences between males and females. Spearman's Rho partial correlation analyses (adjusting for sex) were conducted to examine relationships between physical and echocardiogram parameters.
RESULTS: Moderate to strong positive correlations were found between fat-free mass and aortic root, right ventricular internal dimension, interventricular septum thickness, left ventricular posterior wall thickness, left atrium area, left ventricular end-diastolic volume, and left ventricular end-systolic volume (r = 0.43-0.76, p = ≤0.03). Moderate to strong positive correlations were found between leg press 1RM and aortic root, left ventricular internal dimension diastole, eft atrium area, left ventricular end-diastolic volume, and left ventricular end-systolic volume (r = 0.49-0.67, p ≤0.02).
CONCLUSIONS: Resistance trainers with greater fat-free mass and lower body strength appear to have larger cardiac structures. Changes in heart size and function are likely to result from long-term strenuous resistance training. Due to the suspected prevalence of performance enhancing drug use among powerlifters and bodybuilders, care is required to rule out pathological conditions.
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness|
|Early online date||3 Dec 2020|
|Publication status||Published - Sep 2021|