Muscle fiber hypertrophy in response to 6 weeks of high-volume resistance training in trained young men is largely attributed to sarcoplasmic hypertrophy

PLoS One. 2019 Jun 5;14(6):e0215267. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0215267. eCollection 2019.


Cellular adaptations that occur during skeletal muscle hypertrophy in response to high-volume resistance training are not well-characterized. Therefore, we sought to explore how actin, myosin, sarcoplasmic protein, mitochondrial, and glycogen concentrations were altered in individuals that exhibited mean skeletal muscle fiber cross-sectional area (fCSA) hypertrophy following 6 weeks of high-volume resistance training. Thirty previously resistance-trained, college-aged males (mean ± standard deviation: 21±2 years, 5±3 training years) had vastus lateralis (VL) muscle biopsies obtained prior to training (PRE), at week 3 (W3), and at week 6 (W6). Muscle tissue from 15 subjects exhibiting PRE to W6 VL mean fCSA increases ranging from 320-1600 μm2 was further interrogated using various biochemical and histological assays as well as proteomic analysis. Seven of these individuals donated a VL biopsy after refraining from training 8 days following the last training session (W7) to determine how deloading affected biomarkers. The 15 fCSA hypertrophic responders experienced a +23% increase in mean fCSA from PRE to W6 (p<0.001) and, while muscle glycogen concentrations remained unaltered, citrate synthase activity levels decreased by 24% (p<0.001) suggesting mitochondrial volume decreased. Interestingly, repeated measures ANOVAs indicated that p-values approached statistical significance for both myosin and actin (p = 0.052 and p = 0.055, respectively), and forced post hoc tests indicated concentrations for both proteins decreased ~30% from PRE to W6 (p<0.05 for each target). Phalloidin-actin staining similarly revealed actin concentrations per fiber decreased from PRE to W6. Proteomic analysis of the sarcoplasmic fraction from PRE to W6 indicated 40 proteins were up-regulated (p<0.05), KEGG analysis indicated that the glycolysis/gluconeogenesis pathway was upregulated (FDR sig. <0.001), and DAVID indicated that the following functionally-annotated pathways were upregulated (FDR value <0.05): a) glycolysis (8 proteins), b) acetylation (23 proteins), c) gluconeogenesis (5 proteins) and d) cytoplasm (20 proteins). At W7, sarcoplasmic protein concentrations remained higher than PRE (+66%, p<0.05), and both actin and myosin concentrations remained lower than PRE (~-50%, p<0.05). These data suggest that short-term high-volume resistance training may: a) reduce muscle fiber actin and myosin protein concentrations in spite of increasing fCSA, and b) promote sarcoplasmic expansion coincident with a coordinated up-regulation of sarcoplasmic proteins involved in glycolysis and other metabolic processes related to ATP generation. Interestingly, these effects seem to persist up to 8 days following training.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Citrate (si)-Synthase / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Glycolysis
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy
  • Male
  • Mitochondrial Size
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal / pathology*
  • Muscle Proteins / metabolism
  • Proteomics / methods*
  • Resistance Training / adverse effects*
  • Young Adult


  • Muscle Proteins
  • Citrate (si)-Synthase

Grant support

Funding for subject compensation and certain assays was provided through a contract awarded to KCY and MDR by Impedimed, Inc. The funder provided support in the form of salaries for one author (JRM), but did not have any additional role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. Funding for proteomic analysis was provided through a Grant in Aid to MDR and VI from Florida A&M University. Additional funding was provided as a gift in kind to CTH and MDR through Renaissance Periodization by Dr. Mike Israetel and Nick Shaw. These funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. Specific roles of all authors are articulated in the ‘Author Contributions’ section.”