Acute and chronic effects of resistance exercise on the testosterone and cortisol responses in obese males: a systematic review

Physiol Res. 2014;63(6):693-704. doi: 10.33549/physiolres.932627. Epub 2014 Aug 26.


The biosynthesis and metabolism of testosterone and cortisol are altered by the high levels of adipose tissue and the constant state of low-grade inflammation of obesity. Resistance exercise (REx) has become one of the main lifestyle interventions prescribed to obese individuals due to its ability to positively influence body composition and some biomarkers, such as cholesterol and insulin resistance. Yet, little research has been done in obese examining the effects of REx on the testosterone and blood cortisol responses, two integral hormones in both exercise and obesity. The obese testosterone response to REx and whether or not it is blunted compared to lean individuals remains elusive. Conflicting findings concerning the blood cortisol response have also been reported, likely due to variance in REx protocol and the level of obesity in the participants in studies. Comparatively, both of these hormones have been extremely well studied in untrained lean males, which could be used as a basis for future research in obese males. However, without this endocrinological information, it is unknown if the current acute REx prescriptions are appropriate for eliciting a favorable acute endocrinological response, and ultimately, a positive chronic adaptation in obese males.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Composition / physiology
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Obesity / therapy
  • Resistance Training*
  • Testosterone / metabolism*


  • Testosterone
  • Hydrocortisone