The aim of this study was to assess the relationships between human muscle fiber hypertrophy, protein isoform content, and maximal Ca(2+)-activated contractile function following a short-term period of resistance exercise training. Six male subjects (age 27 +/- 2 yr) participated in a 12-wk progressive resistance exercise training program that increased voluntary lower limb extension strength by >60%. Single chemically skinned fibers were prepared from pre- and posttraining vastus lateralis muscle biopsies. Training increased the cross-sectional area (CSA) and peak Ca(2+)-activated force (P(o)) of fibers containing type I, IIa, or IIa/IIx myosin heavy chain by 30-40% without affecting fiber-specific force (P(o)/CSA) or unloaded shortening velocity (V(o)). Absolute fiber peak power rose as a result of the increase in P(o), whereas power normalized to fiber volume was unchanged. At the level of the cross bridge, the effects of short-term resistance training were quantitative (fiber hypertrophy and proportional increases in fiber P(o) and absolute power) rather than qualitative (no change in P(o)/CSA, V(o), or power/fiber volume).