Possible stimuli for strength and power adaptation: Acute metabolic responses

Blair Crewther*, John Cronin, Justin Keogh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


The metabolic response to resistance exercise, in particular lactic acid or lactate, has a marked influence upon the muscular environment, which may enhance the training stimulus (e.g. motor unit activation, hormones or muscle damage) and thereby contribute to strength and power adaptation. Hypertrophy schemes have resulted in greater lactate responses (%) than neuronal and dynamic power schemes, suggesting possible metabolic-mediated changes in muscle growth. Factors such as age, sex, training experience and nutrition may also influence the lactate responses to resistance exercise and thereafter, muscular adaptation. Although the importance of the mechanical and hormonal stimulus to strength and power adaptation is well recognised, the contribution of the metabolic stimulus is largely unknown. Relatively few studies for example, have examined metabolic change across neuronal and dynamic power schemes, and not withstanding the fact that those mechanisms underpinning muscular adaptation, in relation to the metabolic stimulus, remain highly speculative. Inconsistent findings and methodological limitations within research (e.g. programme design, sampling period, number of samples) make interpretation further difficult. We contend that strength and power research needs to investigate those metabolic mechanisms likely to contribute to weight-training adaptation. Further research is also needed to examine the metabolic responses to different loading schemes, as well as interactions across age, sex and training status, so our understanding of how to optimise strength and power development is improved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-78
Number of pages14
JournalSports Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


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