W.O.W. 11/02/12-Myokines! A New Benefit of Strength Exercise

I went down to UE this past Friday and worked out with Ed and Sherry.  After I finished with their workouts, I was dealt the following payback:

Lumbar Extension on SS Pulldown

MedX Leg Press

TSC Leg Extension (used bottom bar of the 4 bar linkage on the Leg Press and yoga blocks for padding)

TSC Leg Curl (done by scooting to the front of the seat on the Nautilus Pullover and hooking ankles over the foot bar-with yoga blocks for padding) Oh, seat belt required

SuperSlow Systems Neck Flexion/Extension.

The TSC (timed static contractions) were really tough.  I started at 50% effort, then ramped to 75% and finally 100% effort.  Each stage was 20 seconds long.  I have found that 30 seconds is too long, by the time I get to the 100% stage I am too weak to even stay in contact with the movement arm.  I was sore and tired for 3 days, I suspect due to the addition of TSC leg extension and leg curl.  I will limit the volume next go ’round.

I want to give a hat tip to Brandon Schultz, D.C. for his post last week drawing our attention to the topic of “myokines”.  We have always viewed the topic of hormonal signaling and skeletal muscle as one of hormones that act upon muscle tissue.  I think we have always had a sense that the signals also go in the other direction (i.e. how organ mass seems to track along with muscle mass) but science is just now starting to identify the exact mechanism and players.  The new paradigm is one of skeletal muscle as an active secretory organ that has endocrine effects on the other organ systems of the body.  If you go to PubMed (www.nlm.nih.gov) and simply type the word “myokine” in the search engine you will uncover a treasure trove of articles that illustrate the incredible power of strength exercise.  Below is just one abstract:

J Physiol. 2009 Dec 1;587(Pt 23):5559-68. Epub 2009 Sep 14.

The diseasome of physical inactivity–and the role of myokines in muscle–fat cross talk.


Centre of Inflammation and Metabolism, Rigshospitalet – Section 7641, Blegdamsvej 9, DK-2100, Copenhagen, Denmark. bkp@rh.dk


Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, colon cancer, breast cancer, dementia and depression constitute a cluster of diseases, which defines ‘a diseasome of physical inactivity’. Both physical inactivity and abdominal adiposity, reflecting accumulation of visceral fat mass, are associated with the occurrence of the diseases within the diseasome. Physical inactivity appears to be an independent and strong risk factor for accumulation of visceral fat, which again is a source of systemic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is involved in the pathogenesis of insulin resistance, atherosclerosis, neurodegeneration and tumour growth. Evidence suggests that the protective effect of exercise may to some extent be ascribed to the anti-inflammatory effect of regular exercise, which can be mediated via a reduction in visceral fat mass and/or by induction of an anti-inflammatory environment with each bout of exercise. The finding that muscles produce and release myokines provides a conceptual basis to understand the mechanisms whereby exercise influences metabolism and exerts anti-inflammatory effects. According to our theory, contracting skeletal muscles release myokines, which work in a hormone-like fashion, exerting specific endocrine effects on visceral fat. Other myokines work locally within the muscle via paracrine mechanisms, exerting their effects on signalling pathways involved in fat oxidation.

Post your WOW’s and your thoughts

101 thoughts on “W.O.W. 11/02/12-Myokines! A New Benefit of Strength Exercise”

  1. Hi Brian,
    I haven’t been practicing martial arts on a regular basis for a while now. However, I am planning to start again in about one month’s time. I am planning to start learning Wing Chun Kung Fu from an excellent teacher named Danny Xuan. Wing Chun (at least the way he teaches it) does not require a physical conditioning component in class, which Danny believes is best left to the individual to do on their own (enter BBS). As this art is largely technique based, I will practice it as often as I can and still do my physical conditioning workout as I have been doing (i.e., once every 7 to 10 days). I did study Jeet Kune Do (Bruce Lee’s art) under the late Ted Wong while I was living in California some years back and really enjoyed that experience as Ted was a great person and was Bruce’s last private student. The wear and tear issues are very real with martial arts (indeed, with most forms of athletics) but more prevalent in the “hard” arts that involve a lot of rotation around the hip joint (as in high kicking) and/or that incorporate a physical conditioning component in with their classes (which most arts do to incorporate a “fitness” component or to train their students who may not do any physical conditioning apart from the martial arts classes that they attend).

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