The role of muscle mass in sports performance
The role of muscle mass varies according to the sport and the kinetic profile. In general, the lean mass has a significant impact on performance, especially at sports that include the throwing of an object such as handball, basketball and athletic throws, or jumps (horizontally but mainly vertical), such as volleyball and basketball.
Recent research by the Laboratory of Classical Sports and Neurosomy Physiology showed that the lean mass of the trunk and the lower limbs was related with the performance in sputtering, hammering and disc. This means that the greater the lean mass was (in total, the torso and the lower limbs) of these athletes, the higher their performance was.
However, this depends on the trainee’s kinetic profile. The greater their speed is at the time of throwing, the smaller effect on their performance the lean mass has. Contrary to the throwing events, runners’ performance is significantly limited by the size of their muscle mass. The athletes who have bigger lean / muscle mass achieved worse times at 60 m than those with less muscle mass (Methenitis and Associates, 2012).
This finding has led to the conclusion that there is a limit until which hypertrophy can help runners, but also all the athletes who perform sprints (footballers, basketball players, tennis players, etc.) because above this point are required to carry additional weight throughout their effort, which leads them to reduced athletic performance. For this reason, muscle hypertrophy should not be extensive for athletes but for the majority of ordinary trainees because this makes them non-functional.
Negative correlations between total lean mass and lean mass of the legs with speed performance (Methenitis et al., 2012).
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