Effects of acute and chronic unilateral resistance training variables on ipsilateral motor cortical excitability and cross-education: A systematic review

Colomer-Poveda, D., Romero-Arenas, S., Keller, M., Hortobagyi, T. & Marquez, G., Nov-2019, In : Physical Therapy in Sport. 40, p. 143-152 10 p.

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  • Effects of acute and chronic unilateral resistance training variables on ipsilateral motor cortical excitability and cross-education

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  • D. Colomer-Poveda
  • S. Romero-Arenas
  • M. Keller
  • T. Hortobagyi
  • G. Marquez

Objective: The increase in voluntary force of an untrained limb (i.e. Cross-education) after unilateral resistance training (RT) is believed to be a consequence of cortical adaptations. However, studies measuring neurophysiological adaptations with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) found inconsistent results. One unexamined factor contributing to the conflicting data is the variation in the type and intensity of muscle contractions, fatigue, and the strategies of pacing the movement. Therefore, the purpose was to analyse how those unilateral RT variables affect the adaptations in ipsilateral M1 (iM1) and cross-education.

Methods: We performed a systematic literature review, with the following search terms with Boolean conjunctions: "Transcranial magnetic stimulation" AND "Ipsilateral cortex" AND "Resistance training".

Results: The 11 acute and 12 chronic studies included partially support the idea of increased cortical excitability and reduced intracortical inhibition in iM1, but the inconsistency between studies was high.

Conclusions: Differences in type and intensity of contraction, fatigue, and strategies of pacing the movement contributed to the inconsistencies. The tentative conclusion is that high intensity eccentric or externally paced contractions are effective to increase iM1 excitability but cross-education can occur in the absence of such changes. Thus, the mechanism of the cross-education examined with TMS remains unclear. (C) 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-152
Number of pages10
JournalPhysical Therapy in Sport
Publication statusPublished - Nov-2019


  • Unilateral resistance training, Interlimb transfer of force, Motor evoked potential, Intracortical inhibition, CORTEX EXCITABILITY, INTRACORTICAL INHIBITION, ELECTRICAL-STIMULATION, INTERMANUAL TRANSFER, MUSCLE, STRENGTH, HAND, POTENTIALS, ACTIVATION, MECHANISMS

ID: 118587782