European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology

, Volume 57, Issue 2, pp 133-139

First online:

Neuromuscular and hormonal responses in elite athletes to two successive strength training sessions in one day

  • K. HäkkinenAffiliated withDepartment of Biology of Physical Activity, University of Jyväskylä
  • , A. PakarinenAffiliated withDepartment of Clinical Chemistry, University of Oulu
  • , M. AlénAffiliated withResearch Unit for Sport and Physical Fitness
  • , H. KauhanenAffiliated withDepartment of Biology of Physical Activity, University of Jyväskylä
  • , P. V. KomiAffiliated withDepartment of Biology of Physical Activity, University of Jyväskylä

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Acute neuromuscular and endocrine adaptations to weight-lifting were investigated during two successive high intensity training sessions in the same day. Both the morning (I) (from 9.00 to 11.00 hours) and the afternoon (II) (from 15.00 hours to 17.00 hours) training sessions resulted in decreases in maximal isometric strength (p<0.01 and <0.05), shifts (worsening) in the force-time curve in the absolute scale (p<0.05 and ns.) and in decreases in the maximal integrated EMG (p<0.01 and <0.05) of the selected leg extensor muscles. Increases in serum total (p<0.05) and free testosterone (p<0.01) and in cortisol (p<0.01) concentrations were found during training session II. These were followed by decreases (p<0.001 andp<0.01 and ns.) in the levels of these hormones one hour after the termination of the session. The responses during the morning training session were different with regard to the decreases in serum total testosterone (p<0.05), free testosterone (ns.) and cortisol (p<0.05). Only slight changes were observed in the levels of luteinizing hormone and sex hormone-binding globulin during the training sessions. Increases (p<0.01) took place in somatotropin during both training sessions. The present findings suggest that high intensity strengthening exercises may result in acute adaptive responses in both the neuromuscular and endocrine systems. The diurnal variations may, however, partly mask the exercise-induced acute endocrinological adaptations in the morning. Recording of muscle activation and muscle strength and analysis of certain serum hormone concentrations with sufficient frequency during the training process may be useful in optimizing and controlling the contents of individual training sessions and the full training program.

Key words

Strength training Serum hormones Electromyography Muscle strength