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  1. #1
    The Purple People Eater The Viking's Avatar
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    Do tendons (and other connective tissue) get stronger?

    I feel some slight pain in my elbows when extending it directly against heavy resistance. That means stuff like Skull Crushers now cause some slight discomfort (Around 60% of 1RM causes a bit of strainful feeling). Benching doesn't though, as I am extending my arm indirectly against the weight...

    I believe that is because of my triceps tendon not catching up with my increase in strength. However, will it eventually get stronger? Do tendons and ligaments strengthen as well with the muscles? (I have read on some medical sites, and most have told me they don't really get stronger. Then again, I don't trust online medical stuff too much)

    Lastly, what about articular cartilage? I have heard from many people that these never get stronger, ever. If they sustain microtears; which I've heard they almost never do, they never regenerate. Anyone have any ideas on this?

    Thanks in advance!
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  2. #2
    Geezer in Training Danimal's Avatar
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    I think tendons can get stronger but it takes a long time. This is why beginners should lift higher reps and lighter weight for a good period of time. If you lift heavy, you WILL have tendinitus issues at some point, so you learn to live with it and treat it with ice, rest, and anti-inflammatories. Also, avoid lifts that aggravate it. If skull crushers hurt, don't do them, there are plenty of lifts to help your tricep strength, and a lot of them are better suited to building bench strength than skull crushers are.
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  3. #3
    Contra-Banned bxa121's Avatar
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    taking anabolic steroids weakens your tendons.
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    I think for any single jointed exercise like skull crushers or bicep curls it is better to use a higher rep range. I'd leave the heavy, low rep for compound, multiple joint movements.
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    Registered User Heisman2's Avatar
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    Tendons/ligaments can definitely get stronger, and it does take longer for them to get stronger than muscles.
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    on recharge AJ010's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by bxa121
    taking anabolic steroids weakens your tendons.
    Do they weaken the tendons, or do they cause the muscles to grow stronger too fast for the tendons to keep up?
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  7. #7
    Your little trauma sponge ZachG85's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by UnlimitedSteel
    Do they weaken the tendons, or do they cause the muscles to grow stronger too fast for the tendons to keep up?
    ^^ which is why the idea of a natural base is heavily stressed, so your tendons and ligaments have time to strengthen before making the muscles grow like crazy.

    HGH, though, does strengthen the tendons a fair deal.
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    on recharge AJ010's Avatar
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    Good point.

    What do you guys think about somewhat heavy partials to develop connective tissue strength?
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  9. #9
    Olympic Lifter raffiki's Avatar
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    Viking - Why do you keep asking the same questions? Are you hoping to get different answers or something? I've already posted how to strengthen connective tissue. Your tendons are about 300% stronger than your muscles to begin with anyway. If you are this paranoid, you need to switch to aerobics or pilates.

    The solution to your problem is simple, don't do skull crushers. I don't remember anyone ever giving credit to this exercise who has an amazing bench press.
    "However, the strength of the hamstring muscles is crucial to fully exploit the strength potential of the quads and ultimately the vertical force that the athlete is able to impart to the barbell." - Andrew Charniga, Jr.
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  10. #10
    The Purple People Eater The Viking's Avatar
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    Thanks all for the comments, thoughts, and replies.

    Originally Posted by raffiki
    Viking - Why do you keep asking the same questions? Are you hoping to get different answers or something?
    I believe I have only posted a thread about connective tissue once. Hoping to get different answers? No, hoping to get the same, from a different group of people.

    I've already posted how to strengthen connective tissue. Your tendons are about 300% stronger than your muscles to begin with anyway. If you are this paranoid, you need to switch to aerobics or pilates.
    After a bit of searching through my own threads, I only see one post you made. Something about doing extremely low reps, or extremely high reps. From what I have heard (and said by Krollmonster), doing such high weight is actually harmful for connective tissue on single jointed exercises.

    Paranoid? No. Only asking this again because some medical websites out there state differently than from most athletes and weightlifters.

    The solution to your problem is simple, don't do skull crushers. I don't remember anyone ever giving credit to this exercise who has an amazing bench press.
    Problem? My problem is not the skull crushers. Instead the tendon of my triceps. The solution to this problem, is obviously not, to stop doing skull crushers. Besides, if you read my topic, I only used skull crushers as an example, out of many. ( I feel some slight pain in my elbows when extending it directly against heavy resistance. ) So to conclude, don't focus the replies on skull crushers, as they were only an example, and just that. My questions were regarding all tendons and ligaments, not just for one exercise.

    I don't mean to sound rude, but just clearing some stuff up.

    ---

    And with that said and done; anyone have any ideas on the last part of the topic? The stuff regarding articular cartilage. Thanks again.
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  11. #11
    Far Beyond Driven P0W3RLIFT3R87's Avatar
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    Raffiki is right about not doing the movements that agrivate it, such as the skullcrushers, or most likely other types of extensions I think you are refering to. None of these are extremely beneficial to your bench in a way that doing more benching itself or other exercises could not do the same or better improvements in strength.

    As far as articular cartilage, it is possible for it to regenerate, but over a much longer period of time than other tissues. Sometimes it does not regenerate, and reduces the mobility and full function of joints. I believe this also can be a cause of arthritis, not absolutely sure, but the symptoms are similar. This, however, is some of the strongest tissues in the body, and you are more likely to tear a muscle than injure it, except for such factors as older age and severe accidents. There are ways to restore articular cartilage if it were injured through grafting techniques, where a small amount of cartilage is taken from a non-weight bearing part of the knee, for example, and the cells are multiplied and then placed into the part that is injured and the injured cells removed. Conclusion: It is not really something to worry about while lifting.
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  12. #12
    Olympic Lifter raffiki's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by The Viking
    After a bit of searching through my own threads, I only see one post you made. Something about doing extremely low reps, or extremely high reps. From what I have heard (and said by Krollmonster), doing such high weight is actually harmful for connective tissue on single jointed exercises.
    So you found it. Did you know that weightlifting is "harmfull" to your muscles? But if you let them recover, then they get stronger. That's how it works for most of the body.

    You can choose not to believe me, but your only other alternative is bodybuilding style workouts as others have recommend. Problem is, that kind of lifting causes more tendon and muscle injuries, due to pushing yourself while fatigued.
    "However, the strength of the hamstring muscles is crucial to fully exploit the strength potential of the quads and ultimately the vertical force that the athlete is able to impart to the barbell." - Andrew Charniga, Jr.
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  13. #13
    on recharge AJ010's Avatar
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    Would you guys recommend some heavy partials once every 3 weeks or so just to load the connective tissue?
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  14. #14
    Geezer in Training Danimal's Avatar
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    I wouldn't add anything to my routine to overload connective tissue. You can't make it stronger any faster. Just stick with your plan and if you start to get tendinitus or anything like that, treat the symptoms and eliminate the lifts that cause it to flare up. Some of you guys are making this far too complicated! Believe me, when you get to be 42 years old, something is always sore, you just have to learn to work around it or just give up and become a couch potato.
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    The Purple People Eater The Viking's Avatar
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    Alright, I understand what ya'll are saying. Thanks for the replies everyone.
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    Originally Posted by bxa121
    taking anabolic steroids weakens your tendons.
    You are an idiot. Steroids don't weken your tendons...they enable you to lift more and pack on muscle very quickly , which can in turn put stress on your tendons and cause tendonitis. Tendons don't get stronger easily...but they do break down over time with stress and age. The only way to "cheat" and increase tendon strength is to inject HGH over a long period of time. Go for it! But make sure you take before and after pic's so we can see your Gorilla arms scraping off the floor when you walk...that and your distended inards should really get you some quality ass!
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    Originally Posted by Strongerthanall
    You are an idiot. Steroids don't weken your tendons...
    If I remember correctly AS actively decrease collagen synthesis.


    [edit]
    I located the following studies. First on animals though, but that shouldn't matter in this case. PMID: 2722701, 3693150
    The overall picture and the architecture of the tendons provide tentative evidence that anabolic steroid hormones may induce tendon injuries, depending on the duration of treatment. The direct effect of anabolic steroids on tendons has to be taken into account when considering the clinical disorders of tendons and ligaments which occur in high-class athletes. (3610410)


    Human study: 9856839.
    Stanozolol ... enhanced collagen synthesis (p < 0.01) in a dose-dependent manner [...] There was no stimulation of collagen synthesis by testosterone.
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  18. #18
    Registered User Strongerthanall's Avatar
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    As expected, the studies of AS impact on connective tissue is conflicting due to many factors: methodology, lack of dependable information submitted by human subjects, poor control of variables (diet, training, other drug use, etc), and subjective bias. The most reliable information is studies on animal models; however, extrapolation to humans is limited for obvious reasons. Haupt comprehensively reviews the literature on athletic steroid use and connective tissue as well as some of the animal studies (25). He rightly comments; "Extrapolating from current research provides some insight, but whether anabolic steroid use is beneficial or not remains unclear."

    Much of the literature focusing on athletic AS use case studies reporting increased injury rate, especially with concomitant use of corticosteroids. Few mention the dosage levels used by many of these athletes, which are generally supra-physiological and for long durations. Although AS have a reputation within the athletic arena as promoting recovery from injuries, there are no human studies to support accelerated healing of connective tissue. Some of the animal studies suggest that short-term low-dose AS administration may increase the collagen fibril diameter and thus strength of new collagen (2930,30). Inhofe et al. demonstrated that a 6-week course of AS (at doses comparable to the typical athlete’s administration) produced a stiffer tendon in exercised rats that failed with less elongation and energy than in control groups (26). The ultrastructural changes in tendon morphology of the AS+exercise subjects varied with an insignificant trend towards larger fibril diameters. These results contrast those reported by other authors (27,28) who observed changes in collagen fibril crimp angle and fibril length.

    Inhofe et al. also examined the biomechanical and ultrastructural changes at 6 weeks after cessation of AS administration. Since the observed differences in the AS+exercise group were eliminated at 12 weeks, apparently effects induced by AS are reversible with drug withdrawal. Based on these results, AS use may have accelerated the same changes in mechanical properties that ultimately occurred in the control groups. However, this has limited extrapolation to repairing connective tissues in humans.

    Thus far, we have seen how caloric intake, macro- and micronutrients, and several pharmaceuticals can influence metabolism of connective tissue. The import of this information is ultimately on maintaining the integrity of our joints, ligaments and tendons through life and injury. As we have learned, normal repair and remodeling of injured tissue requires a symphony of numerous processes and nutritive constituents. The last part of this series will examine the most recent non-conventional and non-drug protection and treatment for connective tissue: glycosaminoglycans.
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  19. #19
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    Adding to what was said, you also have to realize the amount of torque in joints that is produced when doing single joint movements as opposed to mutli joint movements. Whenever a movement is done in single joint motion and the further away the weight gets from the body, the more torque is produced in that joint. For instance, a side lateral done with arms straight as opposed to arms bent at a 90 degree angle. It's the same between a bench press and a skull crusher, the amount of torque is tremendous caompared between the two.
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