Acute testosterone and cortisol responses to high power resistance exercise

Fiziol Cheloveka. Jul-Aug 2010;36(4):102-6.


This study examined the acute hormonal responses to a single high power resistance exercise training session. Four weight trained men (X +/- SD; age [yrs] = 24.5 +/- 2.9; hgt [m] = 1.82 + 0.05; BM [kg] = 96.9 +/- 10.6; I RM barbell squat [kg] = 129.3 +/- 17.4) participated as subjects in two randomly ordered sessions. During the lifting session, serum samples were collected pre- and 5 min post-exercise, and later analyzed for testosterone (Tes), cortisol (Cort), their ratio (Tes/Cort), and lactate (HLa). The lifting protocol was 10 x 5 speed squats at 70% of system mass (1 RM +/- BW) with 2 min inter-set rest intervals. Mean power and velocity were determined for each repetition using an external dynamometer. On the control day, the procedures and times (1600-1900 hrs) were identical except the subjects did not lift. Tes and Cort were analyzed via EIA. Mean +/- SD power and velocity was 1377.1 +/- 9.6 W and 0.79 +/- 0.01 m .s-1 respectively for all repetitions, and did not decrease over the 10 sets (p < 0.05). Although not significant, post-exercise Tes exhibited a very large effect size (nmol x L-1 pre = 12.5 +/- 2.9, post = 20.0 +/- 3.9; Cohen's D = 1.27). No changes were observed for either Cort or the Tes/Cort ratio. HLa significantly increased post-exercise (mmol x L-1 ; pre = 1.00 +/- 0.09, post = 4.85 +/- 1.10). The exercise protocol resulted in no significant changes in Tes, Cort or the Tes/Cort ratio, although the Cohen's D value indicates a very large effect size for the Tes response. The acute increase for Tes is in agreement with previous reports that high power activities can elicit a Tes response. High power resistance exercise protocols such as the one used in the present study produce acute increases of Tes. These results indicate that high power resistance exercise can contribute to an anabolic hormonal response with this type of training, and may partially explain the muscle hypertrophy observed in athletes who routinely employ high power resistance exercise.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletes
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood*
  • Lactic Acid / blood
  • Male
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Testosterone / blood*


  • Lactic Acid
  • Testosterone
  • Hydrocortisone