|Is it worth to replete vitamin D, but not to train super-slow, right?|
Before I go ahead, though, I would like to point out that the long-term implications of some of the results are not totally obvious - a fact I will therefore (re-)address in the bottom line.
- (Super-)slow training and its inferior effects on early-phase satellite cell and myonuclear domain adaptation (Herman-Montemayor. 2015) -- The purpose of one of the latest studies from the Rocky Vista University was to identify adaptations in satellite cell (SC) content and myonuclear domain (MND) after 6-week slow-speed vs. “normal-speed” resistance training programs.
To this ends, thirty-four untrained women were divided into slow speed (SS), traditional strength (TS), traditional muscular endurance (TE), and nontraining control (C) groups. The ladies performed a leg work consisting of three sets of each of the following exercises twice per week in the first and thrice per week in the fifth week: Leg press, squat, and knee extensions. To investigate how the way these workouts were performed would affect the adaptive response, the scientists randomly assigned their subjects to four different groups:
- The Super-Slow (SS) group performed 6– 10 repetition maximum (6–10RM) for each set with 10-second concentric (con) and 4-second eccentric (ecc) contractions for each repetition.
- The Traditional Strength (TS) group and the Traditional Muscular Endurance (TE) group who performed 6–10RM and 20–30RM, respectively, at “normal” speed (1–2 seconds per con and ecc contractions).
- The sedentary control group (C) which did not work out at all.
What do the changes in fiber type satellite cell increases actually tell us? Unfortunately, the answer to this question is by no means straight forward. In conjunction with the overall increase in domain sizes, cross sectional fiber size and myonuclear domain numbers (see Figure 1) the increased satellite cell recruitement in the traditional training group does yet support its superiority over super-slow training (learn more about satellite cells).
- I know that this is not ideal, but there's no way you do 6-10 reps with a time-under-tension (TUT) of 10-0-4 with the same weight you'd do 6-10 reps at a normal TUT of 1-0-1 or 2-0-2, accordingly, the results the scientists' analysis of the pretraining and posttraining muscle biopsies the authors analyzed for fiber cross-sectional area, fiber type, SC content, myonuclear number, and MND still have practical relevance.
learn more in the "Muscle Hypertrophy 101").
The fact that myonuclear domain increases of type I, IIAX, and IIX fibers occurred exclusively in the TS, yet not in the SS group, where only the domains of the type IIA fibers increased, does still appear to confirm the common prejudice that - for the average trainee - training at higher times under tension (TUTs) does not offer benefits that suggest faster or more robust size gains. Compared to strength-endurance training, however, super-slow training is still the better option. On a "per load basis" it is thus more effective to do fewer reps slower vs. more reps at a normal speed if your goal is to "grow" muscle.
- Vitamin D affects muscle recovery directly (Owen. 2015) -- We already know that vitamin D figures in one way or another in (a) the adaptive response to exercise and (b) the recovery process after strenuous workouts. Unfortunately our "knowledge" is based mostly on correlations and associations and can thus hardly be considered reliable evidence. That's something researchers from the Liverpool John Moores University, the Charité in Berlin, the Norwich Medical School and other European labs weren't happy with, either. Accordingly, they designed a randomised, placebo-controlled trial that involved twenty males with low serum 25[OH]D (45 ± 25 nmol.L-1) who performed 20×10 damaging eccentric contractions of the knee extensors with peak torque measured over the following 7 days of recovery prior to and following 6-weeks of supplemental Vitamin D3 (4,000 IU.day-1) or placebo (50 mg cellulose).
To complement the results of this human trial, the authors conducted a parallel experimentation using isolated human skeletal muscle derived myoblast cells from biopsies of 14 males with insufficient serum 25[OH]D (37 ± 11 nmol.L-1) that were subjected to mechanical wound injury. Thus, the scientists tried to emulate the process of muscle repair, regeneration and hypertrophy in the presence and absence of 10 nmol or 100 nmol 1α,25[OH]2D3 in the petri dish.
- Herman-Montemayor, Jennifer R., et al. "Early-phase satellite cell and myonuclear domain adaptations to slow-speed versus traditional resistance training programs." Journal of strength and conditioning research/National Strength & Conditioning Association (2015).
- Owens, Daniel J., et al. "A Systems Based Investigation into Vitamin D and Skeletal Muscle Repair, Regeneration and Hypertrophy." American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism (2015): ajpendo-00375.