This study explores the associations between polymorphisms in two candidate genes-myostatin gene (MSTN or GDF8) and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) gene-with interindividual differences in human muscle mass and strength responses to strength training. The MSTN AluI A55T (exon 1), BanII K153R, TaqI E164 K and BstNI P198A (all in exon 2) markers and the ACE insertion (I)/deletion (D) polymorphism were typed in 57 males [22.4 (3.7) years] who participated in a 10-week, high-resistance training program for the elbow flexors. Maximal strength, and maximal isometric and concentric elbow flexor torques were measured at baseline and after training. Information on muscle cross-sectional area of the upper arm was obtained by computer tomography scans. Only one individual was heterozygous for the MSTN BanII K153R variant. No allelic variant was detected at the other MSTN sites in this population. For the ACE I/D polymorphism, no evidence was found for an association of the D or I allele with baseline strength, isometric and concentric torque or arm muscle cross-sectional area [analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) 0.25< P<0.97]. Responses to the strength-training program were not associated with the ACE I/D genotype (ANCOVA 0.057< P<0.70). Borderline significance was found for larger strength gains in dynamic flexion torques for I/I genotypes. This study therefore does not support the hypothesis that an increased muscle fiber hypertrophic effect of strength training is present in D-allele carriers.