The salivary testosterone and cortisol response to three loading schemes

Document Type

Journal Article


National Strength and Conditioning Association

Place of Publication

Colorado Springs USA


Computing, Health and Science


Exercise, Biomedical and Health Science




This article was originally published as

Crewther, Blair B (01.2008). "The salivary testosterone and cortisol response to three loading schemes.". Journal of strength and conditioning research (1064-8011), 22 (1), p. 250.

Original article available here


This aim of this study was to examine the free hormone (in saliva) responses to squat workouts performed by recreationally weight-trained males, using either a power (8 sets of 6 reps, 45% 1 repetition maximum [1RM], 3-minute rest periods, ballistic movements), hypertrophy (10 sets of 10 reps, 75% 1RM, 2-minute rest periods, controlled movements), or maximal strength scheme (6 sets of 4 reps, 88% 1RM, 4-minute rest periods, explosive intent). To determine the relative importance of the different training variables, these schemes were equated by workout duration with the power and strength schemes also equated by load volume. Salivary testosterone (T) and cortisol (C) both increased following the hypertrophy scheme (P < 0.05), with little to no hormonal change across the power and maximal strength schemes (P > 0.05). In general, the postexercise T and C responses to the hypertrophy scheme exceeded the other two schemes (P < 0.05). The greater volume of load lifted in the hypertrophy protocol over the same workout duration may explain the endocrine differences observed. The similar T and C responses to the power and maximal strength schemes (of equal volume) support such a view and suggest that differences in load intensity, rest periods, and technique are secondary to volume. Because the acute hormonal responses to resistance exercise contribute to protein metabolism, then load volume may be the most important workout variable activating the endocrine system and stimulating muscle growth.


Link to publisher version (DOI)