The purpose of this study was to determine whether growth hormone (GH) administration enhances the muscle anabolism associated with heavy-resistance exercise. Sixteen men (21-34 yr) were assigned randomly to a resistance training plus GH group (n = 7) or to a resistance training plus placebo group (n = 9). For 12 wk, both groups trained all major muscle groups in an identical fashion while receiving 40 micrograms recombinant human GH.kg-1.day-1 or placebo. Fat-free mass (FFM) and total body water increased (P less than 0.05) in both groups but more (P less than 0.01) in the GH recipients. Whole body protein synthesis rate increased more (P less than 0.03), and whole body protein balance was greater (P = 0.01) in the GH-treated group, but quadriceps muscle protein synthesis rate, torso and limb circumferences, and muscle strength did not increase more in the GH-treated group. In the young men studied, resistance exercise with or without GH resulted in similar increments in muscle size, strength, and muscle protein synthesis, indicating that 1) the larger increase in FFM with GH treatment was probably due to an increase in lean tissue other than skeletal muscle and 2) resistance training supplemented with GH did not further enhance muscle anabolism and function.