In addition to its musculoskeletal benefits, high-intensity strength training also results in a net growth of the involved connective tissues.
Exercise of low- to moderate-intensity does not significantly change the collagen content of connective tissue. Collagen is the main structural protein found in all connective tissues in the musculoskeletal system.
The 3 types of connective tissue are:
- Tendon – a flexible but inelastic cord of strong fibrous collagen tissue attaching a muscle to a bone
- Ligament – a short band of tough, flexible, fibrous connective tissue that connects two bones or cartilages or holds together a joint
- Cartilage – a firm tissue, softer and much more flexible than bone; it is found in many areas of the body including joints between bones (e.g. the elbows, knees, and ankles); the “cushion” between bones
Connective tissues adapt to high-intensity musculoskeletal stimulation by growing and strengthening.
Weight-bearing exercise, with movement through a complete range-of-motion, seems to be vital to maintaining connective tissue development.
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