Functional and structural adaptations in skeletal muscle of trained athletes

J Appl Physiol (1985). 1988 Mar;64(3):1114-20. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1988.64.3.1114.


Twitch contractile and ultrastructural characteristics of the human triceps surae were determined in six male strength-trained athletes, six endurance-trained athletes, six active controls, and seven sedentary controls of similar height and age. Twitch contraction time in the triceps surae complex was 20% longer in strength-trained and sedentary groups than in endurance-trained or active control groups. In the 15 subjects peak twitch torque and one-half relation time in the triceps surae were 22.6 +/- 7.9 N.m and 91.1 +/- 18.3 ms, respectively. Mean fiber area in the gastrocnemius was approximately 1.6-, 1.7-, and 2.5-fold greater in the active control, endurance-trained, and strength-trained groups, respectively, relative to the sedentary group. Despite these large differences in fiber areas, the fiber fractional volume of the sarcoplasmic reticulum-transverse tubule network averaged 3.38 +/- 0.86% and 5.50 +/- 0.94% in type I and type II fibers, respectively, in all subjects. The fractional fiber volume of cytoplasm and lipid were similar for all four groups. However, mitochondrial volume was approximately 30% lower in both fiber types of the strength-trained group relative to the other groups. This implies that with exercise-induced hypertrophy, the sarcoplasmic reticulum, cytoplasm, and lipid components increase proportionately with contractile protein, whereas the mitochondrial fraction does not. The proportion of type I fibers in the soleus, medial gastrocnemius, and lateral gastrocnemius was 75.2 +/- 8.3, 58.5 +/- 6.1, and 52.4 +/- 4.2%, respectively, and was similar in all subject groups. The results demonstrate that twitch duration is prolonged in strength-trained athletes relative to endurance athletes.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Microtubules / ultrastructure
  • Mitochondria, Muscle / ultrastructure
  • Muscle Contraction*
  • Muscles / analysis
  • Muscles / physiology*
  • Muscles / ultrastructure
  • Physical Exertion*
  • Running
  • Sarcoplasmic Reticulum / ultrastructure*
  • Weight Lifting