Sports Medicine

, Volume 48, Issue 8, pp 1809–1828 | Cite as

Training-Induced Changes in Mitochondrial Content and Respiratory Function in Human Skeletal Muscle

  • Cesare GranataEmail author
  • Nicholas A. Jamnick
  • David J. Bishop
Review Article


A sedentary lifestyle has been linked to a number of metabolic disorders that have been associated with sub-optimal mitochondrial characteristics and an increased risk of premature death. Endurance training can induce an increase in mitochondrial content and/or mitochondrial functional qualities, which are associated with improved health and well-being and longer life expectancy. It is therefore important to better define how manipulating key parameters of an endurance training intervention can influence the content and functionality of the mitochondrial pool. This review focuses on mitochondrial changes taking place following a series of exercise sessions (training-induced mitochondrial adaptations), providing an in-depth analysis of the effects of exercise intensity and training volume on changes in mitochondrial protein synthesis, mitochondrial content and mitochondrial respiratory function. We provide evidence that manipulation of different exercise training variables promotes specific and diverse mitochondrial adaptations. Specifically, we report that training volume may be a critical factor affecting changes in mitochondrial content, whereas relative exercise intensity is an important determinant of changes in mitochondrial respiratory function. As a consequence, a dissociation between training-induced changes in mitochondrial content and mitochondrial respiratory function is often observed. We also provide evidence that exercise-induced changes are not necessarily predictive of training-induced adaptations, we propose possible explanations for the above discrepancies and suggestions for future research.



The authors acknowledge Dr. Cian McGinley, Mr. Alessandro Garofolini, Dr. Sarah Voisin and Mr. Ramón Rodriguez for their valuable help with data analysis and presentation, and their constructive critique of this manuscript.

Author contributions

Cesare Granata conducted the literature searches. Cesare Granata, Nicholas Jamnick and David Bishop analysed and interpreted the data. Cesare Granata wrote the manuscript. Cesare Granata, Nicholas Jamnick and David Bishop critically revised and contributed to the manuscript. Cesare Granata and David Bishop have primary responsibility for final content. Data analysis took place at Victoria University. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards


No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this article.

Conflict of interest

Cesare Granata, Nicholas Jamnick and David Bishop have no conflicts of interest directly relevant to the content of this review.

Supplementary material

40279_2018_936_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.2 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 1,235 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Health and SportVictoria UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Diabetes, Central Clinical School, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health SciencesMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.School of Medical and Health SciencesEdith Cowan UniversityJoondalupAustralia

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