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Inter-individual variability in adaptation of the leg muscles following a standardised endurance training programme in young women.

McPhee, Jamie S. and Williams, Alun G. and Degens, Hans and Jones, David A. (2010) Inter-individual variability in adaptation of the leg muscles following a standardised endurance training programme in young women. European journal of applied physiology, 109 (6). pp. 1111-8. ISSN 1439-6319

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Abstract

There is considerable inter-individual variability in adaptations to endurance training. We hypothesised that those individuals with a low local leg-muscle peak aerobic capacity (VO2peak) relative to their whole-body maximal aerobic capacity (VO2max) would experience greater muscle training adaptations compared to those with a relatively high VO2peak. 53 untrained young women completed one-leg cycling to measure VO2peak and two-leg cycling to measure VO2max. The one-leg VO2peak was expressed as a ratio of the two-leg VO2max (Ratio(1:2)). Magnetic resonance imaging was used to indicate quadriceps muscle volume. Measurements were taken before and after completion of 6 weeks of supervised endurance training. There was large inter-individual variability in the pre-training Ratio(1:2) and large variability in the magnitude of training adaptations. The pre-training Ratio(1:2) was not related to training-induced changes in VO2max (P = 0.441) but was inversely correlated with changes in one-leg VO2peak and muscle volume (P < 0.05). No relationship was found between the training-induced changes in two-leg VO2max and one-leg VO2peak (r = 0.21; P = 0.129). It is concluded that the local leg-muscle aerobic capacity and Ratio(1:2) vary from person to person and this influences the extent of muscle adaptations following standardised endurance training. These results help to explain why muscle adaptations vary between people and suggest that setting the training stimulus at a fixed percentage of VO2max might not be a good way to standardise the training stimulus to the leg muscles of different people.

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