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J Strength Cond Res. 2011 Aug;25(8):2322-7. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181ecd033.

Salivary hormone and immune responses to three resistance exercise schemes in elite female athletes.

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School of Physical Education and Sport, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil.


This study examined the salivary hormone and immune responses of elite female athletes to 3 different resistance exercise schemes. Fourteen female basketball players each performed an endurance scheme (ES-4 sets of 12 reps, 60% of 1 repetition maximum (1RM) load, 1-minute rest periods), a strength-hypertrophy scheme (SHS-1 set of 5RM, 1 set of 4RM, 1 set of 3RM, 1 set of 2RM, and 1set of 1RM with 3-minute rest periods, followed by 3 sets of 10RM with 2-minute rest periods) and a power scheme (PS-3 sets of 10 reps, 50% 1RM load, 3-minute rest periods) using the same exercises (bench press, squat, and biceps curl). Saliva samples were collected at 07:30 hours, pre-exercise (Pre) at 09:30 hours, postexercise (Post), and at 17:30 hours. Matching samples were also taken on a nonexercising control day. The samples were analyzed for testosterone, cortisol (C), and immunoglobulin A concentrations. The total volume of load lifted differed among the 3 schemes (SHS > ES > PS, p < 0.05). Postexercise C concentrations increased after all schemes, compared to control values (p < 0.05). In the SHS, the postexercise C response was also greater than pre-exercise data (p < 0.05). The current findings confirm that high-volume resistance exercise schemes can stimulate greater C secretion because of higher metabolic demand. In terms of practical applications, acute changes in C may be used to evaluate the metabolic demands of different resistance exercise schemes, or as a tool for monitoring training strain.

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