09/30/2013 01:11 EDT

Elite Athletes Have More Power-Boosting Genes


Beating yourself up for not being able to lift as much weight as the musclehead beside you at the gym? A new study suggests that’s because elite athletes may have a genetic advantage and carry more of the power-boosting genes than the rest of us.

According to new research published in the October issue of The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, elite ‘power’ athletes -- defined as power-lifters, short-distance runners, and jumpers -- were more likely to carry a specific genotype compared to elite endurance athletes (long-distance runners, swimmers and rowers) and non-athletes.

More specifically, power athletes were three times more likely than endurance athletes to carry the allele in question -- a CC genotype inherited from both parents -- and twice as likely to have the gene than non-athletes.

The study out of Poland took DNA samples from 100 power athletes, 123 endurance athletes, and 344 non-athletes.

All athletes had competed at the international level such as World and European championships or the Olympic Games.

Researchers point out that the study could have implications for identifying and training elite-level athletes.

The latest study is part of an ongoing discussion about how genes play a role in the predisposition of athletic performance.

Another study published in Physiological Genomics also found that elite endurance athletes were more likely to carry a variation of a particular gene, the NRF2, than the rest of the population.

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