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Eur J Appl Physiol. 2012 Jul;112(7):2693-702. doi: 10.1007/s00421-011-2246-z. Epub 2011 Nov 22.

Associations of exercise-induced hormone profiles and gains in strength and hypertrophy in a large cohort after weight training.

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  • 1Exercise Metabolism Research Group, Department of Kinesiology, McMaster University, 1280 Main St. West, Hamilton, ON, L8S 4K1, Canada.


The purpose of this study was to investigate associations between acute exercise-induced hormone responses and adaptations to high intensity resistance training in a large cohort (n = 56) of young men. Acute post-exercise serum growth hormone (GH), free testosterone (fT), insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) and cortisol responses were determined following an acute intense leg resistance exercise routine at the midpoint of a 12-week resistance exercise training study. Acute hormonal responses were correlated with gains in lean body mass (LBM), muscle fibre cross-sectional area (CSA) and leg press strength. There were no significant correlations between the exercise-induced elevations (area under the curve-AUC) of GH, fT and IGF-1 and gains in LBM or leg press strength. Significant correlations were found for cortisol, usually assumed to be a hormone indicative of catabolic drive, AUC with change in LBM (r = 0.29, P < 0.05) and type II fibre CSA (r = 0.35, P < 0.01) as well as GH AUC and gain in fibre area (type I: r = 0.36, P = 0.006; type II: r = 0.28, P = 0.04, but not lean mass). No correlations with strength were observed. We report that the acute exercise-induced systemic hormonal responses of cortisol and GH are weakly correlated with resistance training-induced changes in fibre CSA and LBM (cortisol only), but not with changes in strength.

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