Costameres, Desmin and More
It has always been speculated that when someone begins an exercise program and there is no initial growth of the tissue that the strength gains are neural gains. That is, the initial strength gains are due to learning how to do the exercise and the coordination of successively summating levers to move the load. Though partially true much much more is occurring at the subcellular level that was previously known.
It is tough to move around without a complete funtioning skeleton, break a small bone in your foot and you will quickly see. The cytoskeleton is the cells scaffolding or skeleton, providing it with structure and shape. The structure acts as both a muscle and skeleton and is responsible for cell movement and stability.
The cytoarchitectural subcellular network is located to transmit forces from the intracellular contractile system to the extracellular intramuscular connective tissues. What this means is that the generation of forces in the muscle, as a response to resistance training, occurs as the subcellular skeleton is strengthened.
This strengthening is occurring at a rapid rate when we begin a weight lifting program and contributes to the early strength gains without any appreciable growth that we visibly see. It also occurs throughout our years of training and contributes greatly to our ability to transfer force from contraction to tendon. As we age our bones and subcellular system begin to weaken and of course so sadly, do we.
To fully comprehend how forces are transmitted from individual cross bridges within a muscle tendon unit, it is necessary to understand the interactions of all of the components of the muscle–tendon complex from the molecular to the multicellular level.
Costameres, Desmin, Basement membrane and Cell adhesion molecules are terms that grace exercise physiolgy to describe what happens during training.
The consensus among scientists is that the connective tissue is where we should be looking to discover muscle power. Meaning force development is not as ‘twitchy’ as we once thought. The bottom line……Get Strong!