Journal of Applied Physiology

Acute hormonal responses to two different fatiguing heavy-resistance protocols in male athletes

K. Hakkinen, A. Pakarinen


To examine endogenous hormonal responses to heavy-resistance exercise, ten male strength athletes performed two fatiguing but different types of sessions on separate days. In session A the loads for the leg extensor muscles in the squat-lift exercise were maximal so that the subjects performed 20 sets at 1 repetition maximum (RM) (20 x 1 RM x 100%), whereas during session B the loads were submaximal (70%) but the subjects performed each of the 10 sets until the RM (i.e., 10 repetitions/set or 10 x 10 x 70%). The recovery time between the sets was always 3 min. A decrease of 10.3 +/- 4.7% (P < 0.001) occurred in the squat-lift in 1 RM during session A, whereas session B led to a decrease of 24.6 +/- 18.9% (P < 0.001) in 10 RM. Increases in the concentrations of serum total and free testosterone (P < 0.05 and 0.05, respectively), cortisol (P < 0.001), and growth hormone (GH, P < 0.001) were observed during session B, whereas the corresponding changes during session A were statistically insignificant except for the relatively slight increase (P < 0.01) in serum GH level. The significant (P < 0.001) increase in blood lactate concentration during the two sessions correlated significantly (P < 0.01) with the increase in serum GH concentration. The morning values of serum testosterone and free testosterone were significantly (P < 0.05–0.001) lowered on the 1st and 2nd rest days after the sessions.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)