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Keywords:

  • angiotensin-I converting enzyme (ACE);
  • α-actinin-3 (ACTN3);
  • gene polymorphisms;
  • interindividual variability;
  • resistance training;
  • skeletal muscle

Alternative measures of muscle size, strength, and power to those used in previous studies could help resolve the controversy surrounding associations between polymorphisms of the angiotensin-I converting enzyme (ACE) and α-actinin-3 (ACTN3) genes and skeletal muscle phenotypes, and the responses to resistance training (RT). To this end, we measured quadriceps femoris muscle volume (Vm), physiological cross-sectional area (PCSA), maximum isometric force (Ft), specific force (Ft per unit PCSA), maximum isoinertial strength (1-RM), and maximum power (Wmax; n = 40) before and after 9-week knee extension RT in 51 previously untrained young men, who were genotyped for the ACE I/D and ACTN3 R577X polymorphisms. ACTN3 R-allele carriers had greater Vm, 1-RM, and Wmax than XX homozygotes at baseline (all P < 0.05), but responses to RT were independent of ACTN3 genotype (all P > 0.05). Muscle phenotypes were independent of ACE genotype before (all P > 0.05) and after RT (all P > 0.01). However, people with the “optimal” ACE+ACTN3 genotype combination had greater baseline 1-RM and Wmax compared to those with the “suboptimal” profile (both P < 0.0125). We show for the first time that the ACTN3 R577X polymorphism is associated with human Vm and (independently and in combination with the ACE I/D polymorphism) influences 1-RM and Wmax.