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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1998 May;30(5):724-31.

Strength training: importance of genetic factors.

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Dept. of Kinesiology, Faculty of Physical Education and Physiotherapy, Katholieke Univeriteit Leuven, Belgium.



This study focuses on the quantification of genetic and environmental factors in arm strength after high-resistance strength training.


Male monozygotic (MZ, N = 25) and dizygotic (DZ, N = 16) twins (22.4 +/- 3.7 yr) participated in a 10-wk resistance training program for the elbow flexors. The evidence for genotype*training interaction, or association of interindividual differences in training effects with the genotype, was tested by a two-way ANOVA in the MZ twins and using a bivariate model-fitting approach on pre- and post-training phenotypes in MZ and DZ twins. One repetition maximum (1RM), isometric strength, and concentric and eccentric moments in 110 degree arm flexion at velocities of 30 degrees x s(-1), 60 degrees x s(-1), and 12 degrees x s(-1) were evaluated as well as arm muscle cross-sectional area (MCSA).


Results indicated significant positive training effects for all measures except for maximal eccentric moments. Evidence for genotype*training interaction was found for 1RM and isometric strength, with MZ intra-pair correlations of 0.46 and 0.30, respectively. Bivariate model-fitting indicated that about 20% of the variation in post-training 1RM, isometric strength, and concentric moment at 120 degrees x s(-1) was explained by training-specific genetic factors that were independent from genetic factors that explained variation in the pretraining phenotype (30-77%).


Genetic correlations between measures of pre- and post-training strength were indicative for high pleiotropic gene action and minor activation of training-specific genes during training.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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