Adaptations of skeletal muscle to endurance exercise and their metabolic consequences

J Appl Physiol Respir Environ Exerc Physiol. 1984 Apr;56(4):831-8. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1984.56.4.831.


Regularly performed endurance exercise induces major adaptations in skeletal muscle. These include increases in the mitochondrial content and respiratory capacity of the muscle fibers. As a consequence of the increase in mitochondria, exercise of the same intensity results in a disturbance in homeostasis that is smaller in trained than in untrained muscles. The major metabolic consequences of the adaptations of muscle to endurance exercise are a slower utilization of muscle glycogen and blood glucose, a greater reliance on fat oxidation, and less lactate production during exercise of a given intensity. These adaptations play an important role in the large increase in the ability to perform prolonged strenuous exercise that occurs in response to endurance exercise training.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Animals
  • Aspartic Acid / metabolism
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Glycogen / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Malates / metabolism
  • Mitochondria, Muscle / analysis
  • Mitochondria, Muscle / enzymology
  • Mitochondria, Muscle / physiology
  • Muscles / metabolism
  • Muscles / physiology*
  • Muscles / ultrastructure
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Physical Endurance*
  • Time Factors


  • Malates
  • Aspartic Acid
  • Glycogen