Strength and power training: physiological mechanisms of adaptation

Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 1996:24:363-97.


Adaptations in resistance training are focused on the development and maintenance of the neuromuscular unit needed for force production [97, 136]. The effects of training, when using this system, affect many other physiological systems of the body (e.g., the connective tissue, cardiovascular, and endocrine systems) [16, 18, 37, 77, 83]. Training programs are highly specific to the types of adaptation that occur. Activation of specific patterns of motor units in training dictate what tissue and how other physiological systems will be affected by the exercise training. The time course of the development of the neuromuscular system appears to be dominated in the early phase by neural factors with associated changes in the types of contractile proteins. In the later adaptation phase, muscle protein increases, and the contractile unit begins to contribute the most to the changes in performance capabilities. A host of other factors can affect the adaptations, such as functional capabilities of the individual, age, nutritional status, and behavioral factors (e.g., sleep and health habits). Optimal adaptation appears to be related to the use of specific resistance training programs to meet individual training objectives.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Electromyography
  • Electrophoresis
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Motor Neurons / physiology*
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*