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Strength training: importance of genetic factors

THOMIS, MARTINE A. I.; BEUNEN, GASTON P.; MAES, HERMINE H.; BLIMKIE, CAMERON J.; VAN LEEMPUTTE, MARC; CLAESSENS, ALBRECHT L.; MARCHAL, GUY; WILLEMS, EUSTACHIUS; VLIETINCK, ROBERT F.

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 1998 - Volume 30 - Issue 5 - pp 724-731
Epidemiology

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

Methods: 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 interinidividual 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 ° arm flexion at velocities of 30°·s-1, 60 °·s-1, and 120°·s-1 were evaluated as well as arm muscle cross-sectional area (MCSA).

Results: Results indicated significant positive training effects for all measures except for maximal eccentric moments. Evidence for genotype*training interaction was found for 1 RM 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 1 RM, isometric strength, and concentric moment at 120 °·s-1 was explained by training-specific genetic factors that were independent from genetic factors that explained variation in the pretraining phenotype (30-77%).

Conclusions: 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.

Center for Physical Development Research and Laboratory of Biomechanics, Dept. of Kinesiology, Faculty of Physical Education and Physiotherapy, Katholieke Univeriteit Leuven, BELGIUM; Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Dept. of Human Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University Virginia, Richmond, VA; Center for Human Genetics and Radiology Unit, Faculty of Medicine, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, BELGIUM; Department of Kinesiology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, CANADA

Submitted for publication February 1997.

Accepted for publication June 1997.

This study was supported by grant OT/92/27 of the Research Fund of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, and M. T. was supported by!the Fund for Scientific Research-Flanders (Belgium, F.W.O.) as a research assistant. Dr. H. Maes is supported by grants MH45268 and grants from the J. M. Templeton Foundation and the Carman Trust.

Address for correspondence: Martine A. I. Thomis, Faculty of Physical Education and Physiotherapy, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Tervuursevest 101, B-3001 Leuven, Belgium. E-mail:martine.thomis@flok.kuleuven.ac.be.

© Williams & Wilkins 1998. All Rights Reserved.