Molecular biology tools can be used to answer questions as to how adaptations occur in skeletal muscle with training that could provide new frameworks to improve physical performance. A number of mRNAs for transfer of metabolic substrates into muscle cells increase after a single bout of exercise demonstrating the responsiveness of some gene expression to exercise. In stretch-induced hypertrophy SRE1 of the skeletal alpha-actin promoter is required to transactivate the promoter. Less retardation of SRF in crude nuclear extracts from the stretched muscle implies a conformational change in SRF because of the stretch. Transgenic animals will provide a tool to test questions concerned with how exercise signals adaptive changes in gene expression. Molecular biological approaches will be able to evaluate the interaction between physical activity levels and the expression of genes that modulate the susceptibility to many chronic diseases. Benefits of exercise extend beyond fitness to better health. Molecular biology is an important tool which should lead to improved physical performance and health in both elite athletes and the general public.