At the end of the training, the subjects fell rather neatly into three groups

Monday, June 14th, 2021

Some endurance athletes have the talent of trainability when it comes to VO2max, and the same pattern holds when it comes to strength training, David Epstein explains (in The Sports Gene):

Sixty-six people of varying ages were put on a four-month strength training plan — squats, leg press, and leg lifts — all matched for effort level as a percentage of the maximum they could lift. (A typical set was eleven reps at 75 percent of the maximum that could be lifted for a single rep.) At the end of the training, the subjects fell rather neatly into three groups: those whose thigh muscle fibers grew 50 percent in size; those whose fibers grew 25 percent; and those who had no increase in muscle size at all.


In Miami’s GEAR study, the strength gains of 442 subjects in leg press and chest press ranged from under 50 percent to over 200 percent. A twelve-week study of 585 men and women, run by an international consortium of hospitals and universities, found that upper-arm strength gains ranged from zero to over 250 percent.


One of the genes that displayed much more activity in the extreme responders when they trained was IGF-IEa, which is related to the gene that H. Lee Sweeney used to make his Schwarzenegger mice. The other standouts were the MGF and myogenin genes, both involved in muscle function and growth.

The activity levels of the MGF and myogenin genes were turned up in the high responders by 126 percent and 65 percent, respectively; in the moderate responders by 73 percent and 41 percent; and not at all in the people who had no muscle growth.

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