The purpose of this study was to determine whether high-intensity exercise training increases the vascular flow capacity and capillary exchange capacity in isolated rat hindquarters. One group of 20 male Sprague-Dawley rats underwent six bouts of alternating running (2.5 min) and recovery (4.5 min), 5 days/wk at 60 m/min on a 15% grade for 6-10 wk (high-intensity exercise training), while a second group of 20 rats was cage confined (sedentary controls). Experiments were conducted in isolated, maximally dilated (papaverine) hindquarters perfused with an artificial plasma consisting of a Tyrode's solution containing 5 g/100 ml albumin. Vascular flow capacity was evaluated by measuring perfusate flow rate at four different perfusion pressures. Capillary exchange capacity was evaluated by measuring the capillary filtration coefficient. The efficacy of training was demonstrated by significant increases in succinate dehydrogenase activity in the white vastus lateralis and vastus intermedius muscles. Total hindquarter flow capacity was elevated 50-100% in the trained rats. This increased flow capacity was associated with an increase in the capillary filtration coefficient in the maximally vasodilated hindquarters, thus suggesting that the capillary exchange capacity was increased with high-speed exercise training. These results suggest that the vascular transport capacity in rat hindquarter muscles is significantly increased by high-intensity exercise training.