Human skeletal muscle fiber type alteration with high-intensity intermittent training

Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 1985;54(3):250-3. doi: 10.1007/BF00426141.


The response of muscle fiber type proportions and fiber areas to 15 weeks of strenuous high-intensity intermittent training was investigated in twenty-four carefully ascertained sedentary (14 women and 10 men) and 10 control (4 women and 6 men) subjects. The supervised training program consisted mainly of series of supramaximal exercise lasting 15 s to 90 s on a cycle ergometer. Proportions of muscle fiber type and areas of the fibers were determined from a biopsy of the vastus lateralis before and after the training program. No significant change was observed for any of the histochemical characteristics in the control group. Training significantly increased the proportion of type I and decreased type IIb fibers, the proportion of type IIa remained unchanged. Areas of type I and IIb fibers increased significantly with training. These results suggest that high-intensity intermittent training in humans may alter the proportion of type I and the area of type I and IIb fibers and in consequence that fiber type composition in human vastus lateralis muscle is not determined solely by genetic factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscles / metabolism
  • Muscles / physiology*
  • Physical Education and Training*