Muscle and liver glycogen utilization during prolonged lift and carry exercise: male and female responses.

Price TB, Sanders K, et al.

Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut

Physiological reports. Feb 2017.

This study examined the use of carbohydrates by men and women during lift/carry exercise. Effects of menstrual cycle variation were examined in women. Twenty-five subjects (15 M, 10 F) were studied; age 25 ± 2y M, 26 ± 3y F, weight 85 ± 3 kg* M, 63 ± 3 kg F, and height 181 ± 2 cm* M, 161 ± 2 cm F (* P < 0.0001). During exercise subjects squatted to floor level and lifted a 30 kg box, carried it 3 m, and placed it on a shelf 132 cm high 3X/min over a 3-hour period (540 lifts) or until they could not continue. Males were studied in a single session, females were studied on separate occasions (during the luteal (L) and follicular (F) menstrual phases). The protocol was identical for both sexes and on both occasions in the female group. Glycogen utilization was tracked with natural abundance C-13 NMR of quadriceps femoris and biceps brachialis muscles, and in the liver at rest and throughout the exercise period. Males completed more of the 180 min protocol than females [166 ± 9 min M, 112 ± 16 min* F (L), 88 ± 16 min** F (F) (*P = 0.0036, **P < 0.0001)]. Quadriceps glycogen depletion was similar between sexes and within females in L/F phases [4.7 ± 0.8 mmol/L-h M, 4.5 ± 2.4 mmol/L-h F (L), 10.3 ± 3.5 mmol/L-h F (F)]. Biceps glycogen depletion was greater in females [2.7 ± 0.9 mmol/L-h M, 10.3 ± 1.3 mmol/L-h* F (L), 16.8 ± 4.8 mmol/L-h** F (F) (* P = 0.0004, ** P = 0.0122)]. Resting glycogen levels were higher in females during the follicular phase (P = 0.0077). Liver glycogen depletion increased during exercise, but was not significant. We conclude that with non-normalized lift/carry exercise: (1) Based on their smaller size, women are less capable of completing and work their upper body harder than men. (2) Women and men work their lower body at similar levels. (3) Women store more quadriceps carbohydrate during the follicular phase. (4) The liver is not significantly challenged by this protocol. Pubmed

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