Sports DNA test: DNA-based personal exercise plans

Home DNA testing (or genetic testing) kits evaluate your DNA to predict your response to exercise after sending a mouth swab sample.  DNA testing tells you what is a perfect physical exercise for you, providing DNA-based personalized workout plans.

How do home DNA testing kits predict sport performance?

Everybody is agreed that sport and physical exercise is important for maintaining health and fitness. However, individuals differ in their responses to physical exercise. In other word, exercise does not affect everyone the same way. We differently response to the training program and physical exercise based on our DNA.

Studies have shown that there is an association between variations in DNA and sports performance. DNA variation (or genetic variation) is the difference in DNA sequences between individuals. Variations in DNA affect oxygen consumption (physical endurance), the strength of the muscles, susceptibility to sports injuries, and effectiveness of the training program.

Home DNA testing (or genetic testing) kits evaluate your DNA to predict your response to exercise after sending a mouth swab sample.  They analyze several genes to predict the level of oxygen consumption (for evaluating physical endurance), muscle strength, risk of sports injuries. The home DNA testing kits may also predict the effectiveness of exercise for losing weight.

DNA testing for Oxygen Consumption and Physical Endurance

Physiological responses to aerobic exercise and the chances of aerobic exercise benefit vary noticeably among individuals based on variations in DNA (gene variants).

Furthermore, genes involved in oxygen consumption are associated with physical endurance. Endurance workout is an exercise that is done for a longer duration with moderate intensity. The sports, such as long-distance skiing, cycling or running, are examples of endurance activities.

Some people have a genetic make-up that is consistent with “Enhanced Benefit” from endurance training, while others will have “Normal Benefit.”

What is maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max)?

Maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) is used as the value for measuring an individual’s aerobic capacity and physical endurance.  VO2max is the maximum volume of oxygen per unit time that a person uses at the maximum physical workout. The baseline VO2max level can differ depending on age, sex, medical history, current health, situation,  level of physical activity, and gene variations.

Top athletes in endurance sports, such as long-distance skiing and running, have a higher VO2max than top athletes in power sports, such as wrestling and weightlifting.

Endurance exercise training increases VO2max with a wide range of effectiveness in humans.

Home DNA testing kits analyze your genes and predict your competence at sports of endurance versus explosive and power sports. The home DNA testing (or genetic test) kits determine your aerobic capacity (VO2max) by investigating your genes.

What is Vo2 max (ml/kg/min): V=Volume; O2: Oxygen; max: Maximun

Examples of Genes examined for aerobic capacity and endurance sports in DNA testing kits

Many of them affect metabolic and mitochondrial function. These findings are not unexpected, given that mitochondria are involved in energy utilization and production. Presumably, these variants affect efficient energy utilization and oxygen consumption in muscle subjected to long periods of use.


This gene encodes a key regulator protein involved in energy metabolism.  It is the master regulator of mitochondrial biogenesis. A DNA variant in this gene, A/G, has been associated with endurance; The G/G and G/A gene variants were associated with “Typical” VO2max, whereas the A/A genotype was associated with a “Decreased” VO2max. This association has not been studied in women. However, you can increase your VO2max and fitness by endurance training, even if you start with a decreased aerobic capacity.

GYS1 gene

This gene encodes protein glycogen synthase, which is a key enzyme which converts glucose to glycogen in skeletal muscle.

DNA test report for aerobic response/endurance training:

DNA score test result highlight whether a person is “high”, “normal”, or “low” responder to aerobic exercise. A report might suggest if one is a low responder to endurance exercise, one should concentrate on resistance training or refocus the training program. However, the value of this test is limited to VO2max response.

Genetic testing for muscle power  and muscle hypertrophy

Muscle hypertrophy (increase in the size of skeletal muscle) with resistance training is hugely variable between individuals from no change to ~ 60% increases muscle size. Several factors might affect increases in muscle size, including nutritional content and genetic make-up.

Home fitness DNA testing kits examine the tendency of your muscle to strength workout and capacity of your muscles to regenerate based on your DNA variations (your genetic make-up).

An example of a gene and variants of exercise-induced muscle hypertrophy

ACTN3 gene encodes analpha-actinin-3 protein. This protein is produced in skeletal muscle and directly contractile muscle.

 In a significant proportion of the population, a DNA variation in the ACTN3 gene causes no production of the alpha-actinin-3 protein in muscle fiber. Production of functional ACTN3 protein is associated with enhanced performance with spriting and the other power sports. The ACTN3 gene is also called sprinter gene, and its protein is important in generating explosive bursts of force.

About 80% of people have at least one functional copy of the ACTN3 gene, which can lead to enhanced muscle power.

The functional ACTN3 variant is also seen with high frequencies in leading power-oriented athletes, such as weightlifters.

However, having functional ACTN3 is only one of the factors that contribute to the victory of elite athletes.  The remaining 20% of people, who do not have a functional copy of ACTN3, may have less muscle power and are less likely to be world-class sprinters or weightlifters.

DNA test report for muscle power:

The DNA tests report if you have enhanced muscle power. The possible results for muscular strength and performance are: your genetic (or genotype) is “favorable” or “unfavorable” or “no effect”.

Genetic testing for risk of injuries

DNA variants (or genetic variations)  have been associated with sports injuries. Specific DNA variants are associated with predisposition to suffering certain types of damages.

As an example, tendon injuries have been associated with DNA variations in collagen genes (a structural element of tendons), certain collagen variants have been related to tendencies with ligament tears.

Also, individuals at risk for cardiomyopathy (a genetic disease) can potentially die from physical exertion, a rising star for the Boston Celtics, Reggie Lewis, died during practice and was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Those at risk for injury or death might choose not to pursue such entertaining or career activities, or they might modify their training plans to minimize their risk.

Home sport (or fitness) genetic testing kits tell you about this predisposition to specific injuries and sport risks.

DNA test report for the risk of injury:

The test results report the general risk of an injury, risk of injury to joints, tendons, and ligaments.

DNA test for the effectiveness of exercise for losing weight

The test tells whether a person would be able to lose weight with physical exercise.

Genetic testing report for a response to exercise for losing weight:

The genetic test results might provide you 2 kinds of the report regarding exercise and weight:

1. Genetic predisposition to weight gain. The possible results in this report are “Exercise Strongly Recommended” and “Exercise Recommended.” If your report shows “Exercise Strongly Recommended,” your genetic make-up is associated with a predisposition to be overweight, and exercise is strongly recommended for you. If your report shows “Exercise Recommended,” you have less risk factor for being overweight.

2. Reduction in body fat mass in response to exercise. you may have an

“Enhanced Benefits” from exercise to lose body fat. If you have the “Normal Benefit” DNA, you will still experience fat reduction if you exercise, but it might take more effort. This association has been identified only in women.

Categories DNA Test for Fitness

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close