Structural changes in skeletal muscle tissue with heavy-resistance exercise

Int J Sports Med. 1986 Jun;7(3):123-7. doi: 10.1055/s-2008-1025748.


Muscle strength, muscle cross-sectional area, fiber size, fiber type distribution, capillarity, and mitochondrial volume were estimated before and after 6 weeks of heavy-resistance exercise. Isokinetic torque production of the knee extensor muscles increased by a total of 17.6%, mainly during the first half of the training period. The cross-sectional area of the vastus lateralis muscle increased by 8.4%, mainly during the second half of the training period. Morphometrically determined fiber size, fiber type distribution, and capillarity from biopsies of vastus lateralis did not change significantly with training. Likewise, the surface densities of inner and outer mitochondrial membranes as well as the volume density of myofibrils remained unchanged. In contrast, the volume density of mitochondria decreased by 9.6%. However, due to the increase in total muscle volume, the calculated absolute volume of mitochondria remained constant, whereas the absolute volume of myofibrils increased by 10%. It is concluded that strength training of short duration in previously untrained young male subjects does not change the ultrastructural composition of mitochondria and that the apparent dilution of mitochondria can quantitatively be accounted for by the increase in myofibrillar volume.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphatases / metabolism
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biopsy
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Humans
  • Isotonic Contraction
  • Male
  • Mitochondria, Muscle / ultrastructure
  • Muscles / anatomy & histology*
  • Muscles / diagnostic imaging
  • Muscles / enzymology
  • Myofibrils / ultrastructure
  • Physical Education and Training
  • Physical Exertion*
  • Time Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Adenosine Triphosphatases