While powerlifters tend to display higher fast-twitch fiber content, it is unknown if this content predicts competitive performance via Wilks coefficient. Purpose: to 1) compare the myosin heavy chain (MHC) fiber type (FT) profiles between powerlifters and sedentary controls of both sexes, and 2) determine if fast-twitch fiber content predicts Wilks coefficient. Methods: Twelve actively competing powerlifters (PL; n=6M/6F; age=21±1.0y; 3.0±1.8y competing; 7.3±6.6 meets attended) and ten sedentary controls (CON; n=5M/5F; age=19.4±2.0y) underwent vastus lateralis muscle biopsies, with samples analyzed for MHC isoform content via mixed homogenate SDS-PAGE. Individual MHC isoform differences between group and sex were analyzed using a 3x2x2 (FT [MHC I, IIa, & IIx] x group [PL & CON] x sex [male & female]) ANOVA and MHC IIa content was compared to Wilks coefficient using Pearson correlation coefficient at pResults: Male PL MHC isoform distribution was 50±6% I, 45±6% IIa, and 5±11% IIx, vs 46±6% I, 53±6 IIa, and 0% IIx in PL females. Conversely, male CON MHC distribution was 33±5% I, 38±7% IIa, and 30±8% IIx, vs 35±9% I, 44±8% IIa, and 21±17% IIx in CON females. Analysis revealed a significant FT main effect (pConclusions:These results illustrate powerlifters have higher MHC I and IIa proportions, as well as lower MHC IIx content compared to sedentary controls. While overall limited by sample size, MHC IIa content does not appear to be a significant predictor of powerlifting Wilks coefficient, suggesting this characteristic alone does not define powerlifter skill variations.
Machek, Steven B.; Willoughby, Darryn PhD; Bagley, James R.; and Galpin, Andrew J.
"Fiber Type Profile and its Relation to Wilks Coefficient in Both Male and Female Powerlifters,"
International Journal of Exercise Science: Conference Proceedings: Vol. 2
, Article 34.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijesab/vol2/iss12/34