Skip to main content

Resistance exercise-induced increase in muscle mass correlates with p70S6 kinase phosphorylation in human subjects


The purpose of the present study was to investigate the possible relationship between a change in Thr389 phosphorylation of p70S6 kinase (p70S6k) after a single resistance training session and an increase in skeletal muscle mass following short-term resistance training. Eight male subjects performed an initial resistance training session in leg press, six sets of 6RM with 2 min between sets. Muscle biopsies were obtained from the vastus lateralis before (T1) and 30 min after the initial training session (T2). Six of these subjects completed a 14-week resistance-training programme, three times per week (nine exercises, six sets, 6RM). A third muscle biopsy was obtained at the end of the 14-week training period (T3). One repetition maximum (1RM) squat, bench press and leg press strength as well as fat-free mass (FFM, with dual energy X-ray absorptiometry) were determined at T1 and T3. The results show that the increase in Thr389 phosphorylation of p70S6k after the initial training session was closely correlated with the percentage increase in whole body FFM (r = 0.89, P < 0.01), FFMleg (r = 0.81, P < 0.05), 1RM squat (r = 0.84, P < 0.05), and type IIA muscle fibre cross sectional area (r = 0.82, P < 0.05) after 14 weeks of resistance training. These results may suggest that p70S6k phosphorylation is involved in the signalling events leading to an increase in protein accretion in human skeletal muscle following resistance training, at least during the initial training period.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3


  1. Aagaard P, Andersen JL, Dyhre-Poulsen P, Leffers AM, Wagner A, Magnusson SP, Halkjaer J, Simonsen EB (2001) A mechanism for increased contractile strength of human pinnate muscle in response to strength training: changes in muscle architecture. J Physiol 534:613–623

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. American College of Sports Medicine (2000) Nutrition and athletic performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc 32:2130–2145

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Atherton PJ, Babraj J, Smith K, Singh J, Rennie MJ, Wackerhage H (2005) Selective activation of AMPK-PGC-1alpha or PKB-TSC2-mTOR signaling can explain specific adaptive responses to endurance or resistance training-like electrical muscle stimulation. FASEB J 19:786–788

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Baar K, Esser K (1999) Phosphorylation of p70S6k correlates with increased skeletal muscle mass following resistance exercise. Am J Physiol 276:C120–C127

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Beachle TR, Earle RW, Wathen D (2000) Resistance training. In: Beachle TR, Earle RW (eds) Essentials of strength training and conditioning. Human kinetics, Champaign IL, pp 395–425

    Google Scholar 

  6. Bergström J (1962) Muscle electrolytes in man. Scand J Clin Lab Invest, Suppl. 68

  7. Blomstrand E, Eliasson J, Karlsson HKR, Köhnke R (2006) Branched-chain amino acids activate key enzymes in protein synthesis after physical exercise. J Nutr 136:269S–273S

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Bolster DR, Kimball SR, Jefferson LS (2003) Translational control mechanisms modulate skeletal muscle gene expression during hypertrophy. Exerc Sport Sci Rev 31:111–116

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Bolster DR, Jefferson LS, Kimball SR (2004) Regulation of protein synthesis associated with skeletal muscle hypertrophy by insulin-, amino acid- and exercise-induced signaling. Proc Nutr Soc 63:351–356

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Brooke M, Kaiser K (1970a) Muscle fiber types. How many and what kind. Arch Neurol 23:369–379

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Brooke M, Kaiser K (1970b) Three “myosin adenosine-triphosphatase” systems: the nature of their pH lability and sulfhydryl dependence. J Histochem Cytochem 18:670–672

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Cheng SW, Fryer LG, Carling D, Shepherd PR (2004) Thr 2446 is a novel mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) phosphorylation siteregulated by nutrient status. J Biol Chem 279:15719–15722

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. Coffey VG, Zhong Z, Shield A, Canny BJ, Chibalin AV, Zierath JR, Hawley JA (2005) Early signaling responses to divergent exercise stimuli in skeletal muscle from well-trained humans. FASEB J 20:190–192

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. Creer A, Gallagher P, Slivka D, Jemiolo B, Fink W, Trappe S (2005) Influence of muscle glycogen availability on ERK1/2 and Akt signaling after resistance exercise in human skeletal muscle. J Appl Physiol 99:950–956

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. Deldicque L, Theisen D, Francaux M (2005) Regulation of mTOR by amino acids and resistance exercise in skeletal muscle. Eur J Appl Physiol 94:1–10

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Deshmukh A, Coffey VG, Zhong Z, Chibalin AV, Hawley JA, Zierath JR (2006) Exercise-induced phosphorylation of the novel Akt substrates AS160 and filamin A in human skeletal muscle. Diabetes 55:1776–1782

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. Dreyer HC, Fugita S, Cadenas JG, Chinkes DL, Volpi E, Rasmussen B (2006) Resistance exercise increases AMPK activity and reduces 4E-BP1 phosphorylation and protein synthesis in human skeletal muscle. J Physiol 576:613–624

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  18. Eliasson J, Elfegoun T, Nilsson J, Kohnke R, Ekblom BT, Blomstrand E (2006) Maximal lengthening contractions increase p70S6 kinase phosphorylation in human skeletal muscle in the absence of nutritional supply. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 291:E1197–E1205

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  19. Fujita S, Abe T, Drummond MJ, Cadenas JG, Dreyer HC, Sato Y, Volpi E, Rasmussen B (2007) Blood flow restriction during low intensity resistance exercise increases S6K1 phosphorylation and muscle protein synthesis. J Appl Physiol 103(3):903–910

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. Hather BM, Tesch PA, Buchanan P, Dudley GA (1991) Influence of eccentric actions on skeletal muscle adaptations to resistance training. Acta Physiol Scand 143:177–185

    PubMed  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Hornberger TA, Chien S (2006) Mechanical stimuli and nutrients regulate rapamycin-sensitive signaling through distinct mechanisms in skeletal muscle. J Cell Biochem 97:1207–1216

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  22. Karlsson HK, Nilsson PA, Nilsson J, Chibalin AV, Zierath JR, Blomstrand E (2004) Branched-chain amino acids increase p70S6k phosphorylation in human skeletal muscle after resistance exercise. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 287:E1–E7

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  23. Koopman R, Zorenc AH, Gransier RJ, Cameron-Smith D, van Loon LJ (2006) Increase in S6K1 phosphorylation in human skeletal muscle following resistance exercise occurs mainly in type II muscle fibres. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 290:E1245–E1252

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  24. Kubica N, Bolster DR, Farrell PA, Kimball SR, Jefferson LS (2005) Resistance exercise increases muscle protein synthesis and translation of eukaryotic initiation factor 2Bε mRNA in a mammalian target of rapamycin-dependent manner. J Biol Chem 280:7570–7580

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  25. MacDougall JD, Elder GC, Sale DG, Moroz JR, Sutton JR (1980) Effects of strength training and immobilization on human muscle fibres. Eur J Appl Physiol 43:25–34

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  26. MacDougall JD, Gibala MJ, Tarnopolsky MA, Interisano SA, Yarasheski KE (1995) The time course for elevated muscle protein synthesis following heavy resistance exercise. Can J Appl Physiol 20:480–486

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  27. Nader GA (2005) Molecular determinants of skeletal muscle mass: getting the AKT together. Int J Biochem Cell Biol 37:1985–1996

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  28. Narici MV, Hoppeler H, Kayzer B, Landoni L, Claasen H, Gavardi C, Conti M, Cerretelli P (1996) Human quadriceps cross-sectional area, torque and neural activation during 6 months strength training. Acta Physiol Scand 157:175–186

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  29. Phillips SM, Tipton KD, Aarsland A, Wolf SE, Wolfe RR (1997) Mixed muscle protein synthesis and breakdown after resistance exercise in humans. Am J Physiol 273:E99–E107

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  30. Tesch PA (1988) Skeletal muscle adaptations consequent to long-term heavy resistance exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc 20:S132–134

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  31. Tidball JG (2005) Mechanical signal transduction in skeletal muscle growth and adaptation. J Appl Physiol 98:1900–1908

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references


We wish to thank Dr. G. Karampatsos and Mr. T. Kyriazis for their technical support throughout the training period. This work was partly supported by a grant from E.L.K.E. of the University of Athens to Dr. G. Terzis, Dr. G. Georgiadis and Dr. P. Manta.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Gerasimos Terzis.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Terzis, G., Georgiadis, G., Stratakos, G. et al. Resistance exercise-induced increase in muscle mass correlates with p70S6 kinase phosphorylation in human subjects. Eur J Appl Physiol 102, 145–152 (2008).

Download citation


  • Muscle hypertrophy
  • Protein translation
  • Resistance training
  • Skeletal muscle