Changes in human skeletal muscle contractility and hormone status during 2 weeks of heavy strength training

Eur J Appl Physiol. Jan-Feb 2001;84(1-2):54-63. doi: 10.1007/s004210000328.


To examine neuromuscular and hormone changes during 2 weeks of heavy strength training, 18 weight-trained male students were recruited either into a heavy training group (HT, n = 11) or into a control group (Ctr, n = 7). The heavy training protocol consisted of leg-extensor workouts performed daily, while workouts were performed twice a week in the Ctr group. A test of one repetition maximum (1 RM) was performed before heavy training and on the 2nd day after heavy training. Isokinetic knee extensions, electrical stimulation, and squat jumps were performed before, on the 8th day of heavy training, and on the 4th day after heavy training. Morning blood samples (0800 hours) were drawn before, on the 8th day of heavy training, and on the 4th day after heavy training. Before, and on the 5th day after heavy training, 24 h urine samples were collected. The 1 RM leg press increased by 6 (SEM 2)% in the HT group. Testosterone and insulin-like growth factor-1 concentrations were respectively 12 (SEM 5)% and 11 (SEM 3)% lower than baseline on the 8th day of heavy training; however, hormone levels were back to baseline on the 4th day after heavy training. A significant correlation between individual changes in 1 RM leg press and changes in testosterone concentrations was observed in the HT group (r = 0.69). In the HT group, 24 h urinary catecholamine excretion increased by 26 (SEM 12)%, 3-methylhistidine excretion increased by 21 (SEM 6)% and creatinine excretion increased by 11 (SEM 5)%. There were no significant changes in the Ctr group. This work addresses the role of changes in basal hormone status (morning samples) for skeletal muscle adaptation to heavy strength training.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone / blood
  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Body Weight
  • Eating / physiology
  • Epinephrine / urine
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood
  • Hormones / blood*
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Norepinephrine / urine
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin / metabolism
  • Testosterone / blood


  • Hormones
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin
  • Testosterone
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone
  • Norepinephrine
  • Epinephrine