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Speed Skaters and The Mystery of Their Muscle Development
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Equity

The title of this thread explains where I'm coming from.

I've never heard a reasonable explanation for why speed skaters have massive legs. Genetics at the top level for sure but I think there's more to this. I can't understand the lack of eccentric contraction for example.

Please discuss!


p.s. Merry Christmas Everyone!!!
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Nwlifter

Equity wrote:
The title of this thread explains where I'm coming from.

I've never heard a reasonable explanation for why speed skaters have massive legs. Genetics at the top level for sure but I think there's more to this. I can't understand the lack of eccentric contraction for example.

Please discuss!


p.s. Merry Christmas Everyone!!!


Eccentrics are good, but not 'required' for hypertrophy.
Speed skaters subject their legs to high tension, high volume, repetitive contractions. Massive fatigue...
Everything required for hypertrophy.

Even isometrics can induce marked hypertrophy, and there is zero eccentric or concentric, but there is tension and fatigue....

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Equity

NWLIFTER I admire you're logic on this and other issues.

However this being a HIT/Nautilus forum then the issue is controversial.

Jones and Darden stressed the importance of negatives for muscular development. If speed skaters aquire this without eccentrics then how are they that important?

HIT Controversial subject.
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Nwlifter

Equity wrote:
NWLIFTER I admire you're logic on this and other issues.

However this being a HIT/Nautilus forum then the issue is controversial.

Jones and Darden stressed the importance of negatives for muscular development. If speed skaters aquire this without eccentrics then how are they that important?

HIT Controversial subject.


Yes, negatives can have a great impact on hypertrophy, but studies show pure concentrics, pure isometric, or pure eccentric can produce similar results. The results depend more on the muscular effects rather than the means of imposing them.
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Crotalus

A girl who worked at my gym had incredible thighs ... and was also a skater when I read her credentials. Before I ever got a chance to question her about her thigh development in relation to her sport , she left the gym.

I think by now even the super hard core HIT advocate has to admit it isn't the ONLY way muscle can be built.

When I was a ' HIT is the only way ' guy , speed skater thighs bugged the hell out of me because legs like that weren't supposed to be built by other than high intensity exercise and what they did in training on a daily basis - least in HIT theory - would cause them to shrink, not grow.

I'm also anxious to read intelligent responses to this question and not the typical " they had thighs like that before the even put on a pair of skates' type explanation.
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tensionstrength

Skating seems to use a great deal of the inner thigh muscles along with the rest of the thigh?

Perhaps the intense contractions in small units of time. A lot of muscular work in a short amount of time?

The intense neural drive. Not holding back like one might be in a free weight/machine/body weight resistance exercise?

For a long time I also didn't want to acknowledge that activity outside of smooth,very controlled contractions, might produce very good, perhaps superior results. I also see the logic about having that eccentric, causing things to happen that might not happen otherwise (stimulas wise).

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sirloin

Will say this, the pump i get from the prowler is far greater than anything else ive ever done. I can only guess its because of the positive work. Moreover theres no DOMS that follow.
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hit4me

Florida, USA

speed skaters have huge legs because they are training all day long practically everyday
no different than a construction worker who swings a hammer all day, his one forearm is probably gonna be wired and huge more than the other forearm
no different than a swimmers bodies being long, lean and the lats, chest and abs are well defined
no different than when Arnold and others training for two or three hours a day six days a week to build muscle
its the all day everyday training

hit never indicated it was the only way...just the most efficient and safest way



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ron33

In an old post by CoachJeff it was said Erich Heiden weight trained 2 days wk . Doing 500lb leg press for 100 reps and squats with 205 up to 300 reps along with step ups . Says he also cycled and ran a lot...
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sonny153

Good question, I've always wondered this myself. Actually there is a strong negative component to this type of skating, right near the the completion of the movement when the leg is in front although its not anywhere near a complete movement, also since it is a "sprint" type event, the intensity is very high especially near the end and finally its a movement where the legs are being used in a very natural movement without weight passing through your back...at least this is what I came up with.
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S.M.Punisher

They wouldn't be elite speed skaters or even decent speed skaters if they didn't have exceptional thigh genetics. And muscular thighs are something you either have, or have the potential for, or you don't, more so than upper body muscles but not as much as say calves.

If you got average joes embarking upon speed skating programs (why would they?) and you noticed exceptional thigh growth, then it would be something.

Factor in that all elite athletes are on some kind of PEDs, and for me there is no mystery.
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SB2006

Velodrome cyclists' thighs:

https://www.google.com/.....0.i7-6zQXTOGQ
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Nwlifter

Here, a study specifically on muscle growth stimulation, concentric vs eccentric in trained people.

Points to note:
1) Ecc caused damage, con did not
2) Protein synthesis after though, was the same. Therefore, growth stimulation was the same even though Ecc caused more damage.

Final, neither is superior, so either or both, do the 'same thing'.


Myofibrillar disruption following acute concentric and eccentric resistance exercise in strength-trained men.

Gibala MJ, Interisano SA, Tarnopolsky MA, Roy BD, MacDonald JR, Yarasheski KE, MacDougall JD.

Department of Kinesiology (Neurology and Neurological Rehabilitation), McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada. gibalam@mcmaster.ca

We have previously quantified the extent of myofibrillar disruption which occurs following an acute bout of resistance exercise in untrained men, however the response of well-trained subjects is not known. We therefore recruited six strength-trained men, who ceased training for 5 days and then performed 8 sets of 8 uni-lateral repetitions, using a load equivalent to 80% of their concentric (Con) 1-repetition maximum. One arm performed only Con actions by lifting the weight and the other arm performed only eccentric actions (Ecc) by lowering it. Needle biopsy samples were obtained from biceps brachii of each arm approximately 21 h following exercise, and at baseline (i.e., after 5 days without training), and subsequently analyzed using electron microscopy to quantify myofibrillar disruption. A greater (P < or = 0.05) proportion of disrupted fibres was found in the Ecc arm (45 +/- 11%) compared with baseline values (4 +/- 2%), whereas fibre disruption in the Con arm (27 +/- 4%) was not different (P > 0.05) from baseline values. The proportion of disrupted fibres and the magnitude of disruption (quantified by sarcomere counting) was considerably less severe than previously observed in untrained subjects after an identical exercise bout. Mixed muscle protein synthesis, assessed from approximately 21-29 h post-exercise, was not different between the Con- and Ecc-exercised arms. We conclude that the Ecc phase of resistance exercise is most disruptive to skeletal muscle and that training attenuates the severity of this effect. Moreover, it appears that fibre disruption induced by habitual weightlifting exercise is essentially repaired after 5 days of inactivity in trained men.
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Nwlifter

this study, of pure contraction modes, con vs isometric vs ecc, found that torque/tension also was not the key.
Highest hypertrophy was isometric, next as concentric, last was ecc.
Now to note, some similar studies showed ecc superior to con, so overall, contraction mode (static, dynamic, ecc or con) does not seem to be reliably relevant, it's more about 'work', 'fatigue', etc.

Skeletal muscle hypertrophy in response to isometric, lengthening, and shortening training bouts of equivalent duration.

Adams GR, Cheng DC, Haddad F, Baldwin KM.

Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of California Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697-4560, USA. GRAdams@uci.edu

Movements generated by muscle contraction generally include periods of muscle shortening and lengthening as well as force development in the absence of external length changes (isometric). However, in the specific case of resistance exercise training, exercises are often intentionally designed to emphasize one of these modes. The purpose of the present study was to objectively evaluate the relative effectiveness of each training mode for inducing compensatory hypertrophy. With the use of a rat model with electrically stimulated (sciatic nerve) contractions, groups of rats completed 10 training sessions in 20 days. Within each training session, the duration of the stimulation was equal across the three modes. Although this protocol provided equivalent durations of duty cycle, the torque integral for the individual contractions varied markedly with training mode such that lengthening > isometric > shortening. The results indicate that the hypertrophy response did not track the torque integral with mass increases of isometric by 14%, shortening by 12%, and lengthening by 11%. All three modes of training resulted in similar increases in total muscle DNA and RNA. Isometric and shortening but not lengthening mode training resulted in increased muscle insulin-like growth factor I mRNA levels. These results indicate that relatively pure movement mode exercises result in similar levels of compensatory hypertrophy that do not necessarily track with the total amount of force generated during each contraction.
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ATP 4 Vitality

Nwlifter wrote:
but studies show pure concentrics, pure isometric, or pure eccentric can produce similar results.


Yep!

They all just stimulate the growth response!
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Equity

S.M.Punisher wrote:
They wouldn't be elite speed skaters or even decent speed skaters if they didn't have exceptional thigh genetics. And muscular thighs are something you either have, or have the potential for, or you don't, more so than upper body muscles but not as much as say calves.

If you got average joes embarking upon speed skating programs (why would they?) and you noticed exceptional thigh growth, then it would be something.

Factor in that all elite athletes are on some kind of PEDs, and for me there is no mystery.


Yes I know. But at the same time it's something they're doing that accouunts for their development.
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tensionstrength

Great conversation started here Equity.

Does it seem to anyone else that the vastus lateralis is especially developed on a lot of speed skaters?
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Equity

tensionstrength wrote:
Great conversation started here Equity.

Does it seem to anyone else that the vastus lateralis is especially developed on a lot of speed skaters?


This is getting into very specific information now. But I can see where you're coming from.

I'll look this up. Pictures of speed skaters and see if what you say rings true.


A topic of another thread perhaps. Interesting outer quad development on speed skaters.


Merry Christmas by the way!!!




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hit4me

Florida, USA

could you imagine Tom Platz as a speed skater
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tensionstrength

Equity wrote:
tensionstrength wrote:
Great conversation started here Equity.

Does it seem to anyone else that the vastus lateralis is especially developed on a lot of speed skaters?

This is getting into very specific information now. But I can see where you're coming from.

I'll look this up. Pictures of speed skaters and see if what you say rings true.


A topic of another thread perhaps. Interesting outer quad development on speed skaters.


Merry Christmas by the way!!!

Merry Christmas to you as well! I love this time if year.

Yea I love these kind of discussions. I like the bodybuilding aspect to all of this as well as the strength and being fit/capable aspect. Your topic on this thread is a great reminder of high effort/high output activity. Very motivating.

I know I'm off topic but this how my mind works. A topic can get me thinking in other directions. I won't veer off in this thread anymore.


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StuKE

I had typed and submitted a posts few days ago but it must have got lost somehow. I was saying how it might be that speed skaters' legs may not be as big as they look, when compared to their relatively small upper body, it can make them appear much bigger, much like gymnasts look big until you see them beside a 'normal' (for want of another word -sorry, gymnasts, you are abnormal hahaha)person.
Their is no question that some have great legs, very well develops with outer thigh sweep, but I'm going to stick my neck out and say I bet they don't all have amazing legs. Just as not all cyclists do - though if this picture uploads, this guy does (but again, not a huge upper body).
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StuKE

There is certainly food for thought in this thread, perhaps it would be interesting to consider incorporating various techniques into one's leg workouts - the inclusion of a significant amount of positive only exercise, or isometrics and / or negative only may reveal some answers. I would try it if I was at all consistent with my training at the moment!
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StuKE

One other point I forgot to make: If you are only training one particular muscle group with the right degree of intensity all you recovery time, all your physiological resources are directed to that muscle, meaning more resources, faster recovery and therefore you can get away with higher frequency
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Bill Sekerak

California, USA

Nwlifter wrote:
Equity wrote:
The title of this thread explains where I'm coming from.

I've never heard a reasonable explanation for why speed skaters have massive legs. Genetics at the top level for sure but I think there's more to this. I can't understand the lack of eccentric contraction for example.

Please discuss!


p.s. Merry Christmas Everyone!!!

Eccentrics are good, but not 'required' for hypertrophy.
Speed skaters subject their legs to high tension, high volume, repetitive contractions. Massive fatigue...
Everything required for hypertrophy.

Even isometrics can induce marked hypertrophy, and there is zero eccentric or concentric, but there is tension and fatigue....



I don't think high volume is necessary for hypertrophy to occur, in fact I think in most cases high volume will produce atrophy.
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Bill Sekerak

California, USA

StuKE wrote:
I had typed and submitted a posts few days ago but it must have got lost somehow. I was He saying how it might be that speed skaters' legs may not be as big as they look, when compared to their relatively small upper body, it can make them appear much bigger, much like gymnasts look big until you see them beside a 'normal' (for want of another word -sorry, gymnasts, you are abnormal hahaha)person.
Their is no question that some have great legs, very well develops with outer thigh sweep, but I'm going to stick my neck out and say I bet they don't all have amazing legs. Just as not all cyclists do - though if this picture uploads, this guy does (but again, not a huge upper body).


This guy is lifting and most probably on drugs.
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