Possible stimuli for strength and power adaptation: acute hormonal responses

Document Type

Journal Article


Adis International Ltd


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


School of Biomedical and Sports Science




Crewther, B., Keogh, J., Cronin, J., & Cook, C. (2006). Possible stimuli for strength and power adaptation: acute hormonal responses. Sports Medicine, 36(3), 215-239. Available here


The endocrine system plays an important role in strength and power development by mediating the remodelling of muscle protein. Resistance training scheme design regulates muscle protein turnover by modifying the anabolic (testosterone, growth hormone) and catabolic (cortisol) responses to a workout. Although resistance exercise increases the concentrations of insulin-like growth factor 1 in blood following exercise, the effect of scheme design is less clear, most likely due to the different release mechanisms of this growth factor (liver vs muscle). Insulin is non-responsive to the exercise stimulus, but in the presence of appropriate nutritional intake, elevated blood insulin levels combined with resistance exercise promotes protein anabolism. Factors such as sex, age, training status and nutrition also impact upon the acute hormonal environment and, hence, the adaptive response to resistance training. However, gaps within research, as well as inconsistent findings, limit our understanding of the endocrine contribution to adaptation. Research interpretation is also difficult due to problems with experimental design (e.g. sampling errors) and various other issues (e.g. hormone rhythms, biological fluid examined). In addition to the hormonal responses to resistance exercise, the contribution of other acute training factors, particularly those relating to the mechanical stimulus (e.g. forces, work, time under tension) must also be appreciated. Enhancing our understanding in these areas would also improve the prescription of resistance training for stimulating strength and power adaptation.





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