Synergistic effects of resistance training and protein intake: practical aspects

Nutrition. 2014 Oct;30(10):1097-103. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2013.12.017. Epub 2014 Jan 10.


Resistance training is a potent stimulus to increase skeletal muscle mass. The muscle protein accretion process depends on a robust synergistic action between protein intake and overload. The intake of protein after resistance training increases plasma amino acids, which results in the activation of signaling molecules leading to increased muscle protein synthesis (MPS) and muscle hypertrophy. Although both essential and non-essential amino acids are necessary for hypertrophy, the intake of free L-leucine or high-leucine whole proteins has been specifically shown to increase the initiation of translation that is essential for elevated MPS. The literature supports the use of protein intake following resistance-training sessions to enhance MPS; however, less understood are the effects of different protein sources and timing protocols on MPS. The sum of the adaptions from each individual training session is essential to muscle hypertrophy, and thus highlights the importance of an optimal supplementation protocol. The aim of this review is to present recent findings reported in the literature and to discuss the practical application of these results. In that light, new speculations and questions will arise that may direct future investigations. The information and recommendations generated in this review should be of benefit to clinical dietitians as well as those engaged in sports.

Keywords: Amino acids; Leucine; Protein; Resistance training; Synthesis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dietary Proteins / metabolism
  • Dietary Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy
  • Leucine / metabolism
  • Muscle Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Protein Biosynthesis / drug effects*
  • Resistance Training*


  • Dietary Proteins
  • Muscle Proteins
  • Leucine