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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2009 Dec;107(6):1771-80. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00358.2009. Epub 2009 Oct 1.

Reduced volume and increased training intensity elevate muscle Na+-K+ pump alpha2-subunit expression as well as short- and long-term work capacity in humans.

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Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences, Section of Human Physiology, Copenhagen Muscle Research Centre, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.


The present study examined muscle adaptations and alterations in work capacity in endurance-trained runners as a result of a reduced amount of training combined with speed endurance training. For a 6- to 9-wk period, 17 runners were assigned to either a speed endurance group with a 25% reduction in the amount of training but including speed endurance training consisting of six to twelve 30-s sprint runs 3-4 times/wk (SET group n = 12) or a control group (n = 5), which continued the endurance training ( approximately 55 km/wk). For the SET group, the expression of the muscle Na(+)-K(+) pump alpha(2)-subunit was 68% higher (P < 0.05) and the plasma K(+) level was reduced (P < 0.05) during repeated intense running after 9 wk. Performance in a 30-s sprint test and the first of the supramaximal exhaustive runs was improved (P < 0.05) by 7% and 36%, respectively, after the speed endurance training period. In the SET group, maximal O(2) uptake was unaltered, but the 3-km (3,000-m) time was reduced (P < 0.05) from 10.4 +/- 0.1 to 10.1 +/- 0.1 min and the 10-km (10,000-m) time was improved from 37.3 +/- 0.4 to 36.3 +/- 0.4 min (means +/- SE). Muscle protein expression and performance remained unaltered in the control group. The present data suggest that both short- and long-term exercise performances can be improved with a reduction in training volume if speed endurance training is performed and that the Na(+)-K(+) pump plays a role in the control of K(+) homeostasis and in the development of fatigue during repeated high-intensity exercise.

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