When human skeletal muscle is exposed to exercise training, the outcomes, in terms of physiological adaptation, are unpredictable. The significance of this fact has long been underappreciated, and only recently has progress been made in identifying some of the molecular bases for the heterogeneous response to exercise training. It is not only of great medical importance that some individuals do not substantially physiologically adapt to exercise training, but the study of the heterogeneity itself provides a powerful opportunity to dissect out the genetic and environmental factors that limit adaptation, directly in humans. In the following review I will discuss new developments linking genetic and transcript abundance variability to an individual's potential to improve their aerobic capacity or endurance performance or induce muscle hypertrophy. I will also comment on the idea that certain gene networks may be associated with muscle "adaptability" regardless the stimulus provided.