Effect of resistance training on single muscle fiber contractile function in older men

Scott Trappe, David Williamson, Michael Godard, David Porter, Greg Rowden, David Costill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

211 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to examine single cell contractile mechanics of skeletal muscle before and after 12 wk of progressive resistance training (PRT) in older men (n = 7; age = 74 ± 2 yr and weight = 75 ± 5 kg). Knee extensor PRT was performed 3 days/wk at 80% of one-repetition maximum. Muscle biopsy samples were obtained from the vastus lateralis before and after PRT (pre- and post-PRT, respectively). For analysis, chemically skinned single muscle fibers were studied at 15°C for peak tension [the maximal isometric force (P(o))], unloaded shortening velocity (V(o)), and force-velocity parameters. In this study, a total of 199 (89 pre- and 110 post-PRT) myosin heavy chain (MHC) I and 99 (55 pre- and 44 post-PRT) MHC IIa fibers were reported. Because of the minimal number of hybrid fibers identified post-PRT, direct comparisons were limited to MHC I and IIa fibers. Muscle fiber diameter increased 20% (83 ± 1 to 100 ± 1 μm) and 13% (86 ± 1 to 97 ± 2 μm) in MHC I and IIa fibers, respectively (P < 0.05). P(o) was higher (P < 0.05) in MHC I (0.58 ± 0.02 to 0.90 ± 0.02 mN) and IIa (0.68 ± 0.02 to 0.85 ± 0.03 mN) fibers. Muscle fiber V(o) was elevated 75% (MHC I) and 45% (MHC IIa) after PRT (P < 0.05). MHC I and IIa fiber power increased (P < 0.05) from 7.7 ± 0.5 to 17.6 ± 0.9 μN · fiber lengths · s-1 and from 25.5 to 41.1 μN · fiber lengths · s-1, respectively. These data indicate that PRT in elderly men increases muscle cell size, strength, contractile velocity, and power in both slow- and fast-twitch muscle fibers. However, it appears that these changes are more pronounced in the MHC I muscle fibers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-152
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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