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J Appl Physiol (1985). 1990 Jan;68(1):289-94.

Training-induced skeletal muscle adaptations are independent of systemic adaptations.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87108.


To isolate the peripheral adaptations to training, five normal subjects exercised the nondominant (ND) wrist flexors for 41 +/- 11 days, maintaining an exercise intensity below the threshold required for cardiovascular adaptations. Before and after training, intracellular pH and the ratio of inorganic phosphate to phosphocreatine (Pi/PCr) were measured by 31P magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Also maximal O2 consumption (VO2 max), muscle mass, and forearm blood flow were determined by graded systemic exercise, magnetic resonance imaging, and venous occlusion plethysmography, respectively. Blood flow, Pi/PCr, and pH were measured in both forearms at rest and during submaximal wrist flexion at 5, 23, and 46 J/min. Training did not affect VO2 max, exercise blood flow, or muscle mass. Resting pH, Pi/PCr, and blood flow were also unchanged. After training, the ND forearm demonstrated significantly lower Pi/PCr at 23 and 46 J/min. Endurance, measured as the number of contractions to exhaustion, also was increased significantly (63%) after training in the ND forearm. We conclude that 1) forearm training results in a lower Pi/PCr at identical submaximal work loads; 2) this improvement is independent of changes in VO2 max, muscle mass, or limb blood flow; and 3) these differences are associated with improved endurance and may reflect improved oxidative capacity of skeletal muscle.

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