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Aging Clin Exp Res. 2003 Apr;15(2):123-30.

Anabolic and catabolic hormonal responses to experimental two-set low-volume resistance exercise in sedentary and active elderly people.

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Service de Médecine Gériatrique, Centre Hospitalier Lyon-Sud, Faculté de Médecine de Lyon-Sud, Lyon, France.



The influence of acute low-volume resistance exercise on serum growth hormone (GH), insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I), dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEAS), total testosterone (TT) and cortisol was ascertained in elderly subjects.


Forty-seven independent, community-dwelling volunteers aged >65 years were recruited: 23 (11 men, 12 women) were sedentary individuals, and 24 (12 men, 12 women) had been regularly involved in physical activity for several years. The protocol consisted of two sets of leg extensions: one graded by loading to reach maximal power; the other consisted of 10 consecutive leg extensions using a load corresponding to maximal power.


IGF-I levels increased immediately after exercise, returning almost completely to pre-exercise values by the 15-minute post-exercise time point. The changes in all four study groups were similar. Not any of the groups presented systematic exercise-induced changes in circulating GH, DHEAS and TT levels. With respect to pre-exercise cortisol levels, significant decreases were observed both at the immediate and at the 15-minute post-exercise time points. These changes were independent of gender and physical activity level.


Our data indicate that low-volume resistance exercise may decrease cortisol levels and increase serum anabolic/catabolic hormone ratios. In view of the experimental character of our resistance training protocol and the lack of control-day data, these results should be corroborated by long-term low-volume resistance training programs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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