Comparison of serum testosterone and androstenedione responses to weight lifting in men and women

  • Lawrence W. Weiss
  • Kirk J. Cureton
  • Frederick N. Thompson


To determine if a sex difference exists in the androgen response to heavy-resistance exercise, serum testosterone (T) and androstenedione (A) concentrations were measured in 20 men and 20 women before and during a 2-h period following 30 min of weight lifting. Hormone concentrations from venous blood samples were determined by radioimmunoassay. Prior to weight lifting, T for men (3.51±0.24 ng·ml−1) was approximately 10 times that for women (0.36±0.04 ng·ml−1), whereas A for women (1.26±0.07 ng·ml−1) was 43% higher than for men (0.88±0.07 ng·ml−1). Immediately following weight lifting, T was increased significantly (p<0.01) in men (0.76 ng·ml−1, 21.6%), but nonsignificantly in women (0.06 ng·ml−1, 16.7%). Resting T levels were restored within 30 min. Serum A levels decreased significantly (p<0.01) below pre-exercise levels at 2 h post-exercise for both men and women. It was concluded that men have a greater absolute T response to weight lifting than women, whereas the absolute A response to weight lifting is similar in men and women.

Key words

Androgens Androstenedione Sex difference Testosterone Weight lifting 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abraham G, Chakmakjian Z (1973) Serum steroid levels during the menstrual cycle in a bilaterally adrenalectomized women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 37: 518–587Google Scholar
  2. American College of Sports Medicine (1977) Position statement on the use and abuse of anabolic-androgenic steroids in sports. Med Sci Sports 9: XI-XIIIGoogle Scholar
  3. Auletta G, Caldwell B, Hamilton G (1974) Androgens: testosterone and dihydrotestosterone. In: Jaffe B, Behrman H (eds) Methods of hormone radioimmunoassay. Academic Press, New York, pp 359–370Google Scholar
  4. Baird D, Burger P, Heavon-Jones G, Scaramuzzi R (1974) The site of secretion of androstenedione in non-pregnant women. J Endocrinol 63: 201–212Google Scholar
  5. Baulieu E, Robel P (1970) Catabolism of testosterone and androstenedione. In: Eik-nes K (ed) The androgens of the testis. Marcel Dekker, New York, pp 50–70Google Scholar
  6. Brown C, Wilmore J (1974) The effects of maximal resistance training on the strength and body composition of women athletes. Med Sci Sports 6: 174–177Google Scholar
  7. Edgerton V (1973) Exercise and the growth and development of muscle tissue. In: Rarick G (ed) Physical activity: human growth and development. Academic Press, New York, pp 1–31Google Scholar
  8. Fahey T, Rolph R, Moungmee P, Nagel J, Mortara S (1976) Serum testosterone, body composition, and strength of young adults. Med Sci Sports 8: 31–34Google Scholar
  9. Faiman C, Winter J (1971) Diurnal cycles in plasma FSH, testosterone and cortisol in men. J Clin Endocrinol 33: 186–192Google Scholar
  10. Goldberg A (1971) Biochemical events during hypertrophy of skeletal muscle. In: Alpert N (ed) Cardiac hypertrophy. Academic Press, New York, pp 301–314Google Scholar
  11. Goldberg A, Goodman H (1969) Relationship between growth hormone and muscular work in determining muscle size. J Physiol 200: 655–666Google Scholar
  12. Haynes N, Kiser T, Hafs H, Carruthers T, Oxender W, McCarthy M (1977) Effects of intracarotid infusion of prostaglandin E2α on plasma luteinizing hormone, testosterone and glucocorticoid concentrations in bulls. J Anim Sci 45: 1102–1107Google Scholar
  13. Hetrick G, Wilmore J (1979) Androgen levels and muscle hypertrophy during an eight week weight training program for men/women. Med Sci Sports Exerc 11: 102Google Scholar
  14. Kiser T, Milvae R, Hafs H, Oxender W, Louis T (1978) Comparison of testosterone and androstenedione secretion in bulls given prostaglandin E2α or luteinizing hormone. J Anim Sci 46: 436–442Google Scholar
  15. Kuoppasalmi K, Naveri H, Rehunen S, Harkonen M, Adlercreuz H (1976) Effects of strenuous anaerobic running exercise on plasma growth hormone, cortisol, luteinizing hormone, testosterone, androstenedione, estrone, and estradiol. J Steroid Biochem 7: 823–829Google Scholar
  16. Lamb D (1975) Androgens and exercise. Med Sci Sports 7: 1–5Google Scholar
  17. Mahew J, Gross P (1974) Body composition changes in young women with high resistance weight training. Res Q 45: 433–440Google Scholar
  18. McKerns D (1969) Steroid hormones and metabolism. Appelton-Century Crofts, New York, pp 68–70Google Scholar
  19. Minguell J, Sierralta W (1975) Molecular mechanisms of action of the male sex hormones. J Endocrinol 65: 287–315Google Scholar
  20. Mongkonpunya J, Lin U, Noden P, Oxender W, Hafs H (1975) Androgens in the bovine fetus and dam. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 148: 489–493Google Scholar
  21. Murray M, Corker C (1973) Levels of testosterone and luteinizing hormone in plasma samples taken at 10-minute intervals in normal men. J Endocrinol 56: 157–158Google Scholar
  22. Naftolin F, Judd J, Yen S (1973) Pulsatile patterns of gonadotropins and testosterone in man: the effects of clomiphene with and without testosterone. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 36: 285–288Google Scholar
  23. O'Malley B (1969) Hormonal regulation of nucleic acid and protein synthesis. NY Acad Sci Trans 31: 478–503Google Scholar
  24. Skierska E, Ustupska J, Biczoa B, Lukaszewska J (1976) Effect of physical exercise on plasma cortisol, testosterone, and growth hormone levels in weight lifters. Endokrynol Pol 27: 159–165Google Scholar
  25. Sutton J, Coleman M, Casey J (1978) Testosterone production rate during exercise. In: Landry F, Orban W (eds) 3rd International Symposium on Biochemistry of Exercise. Symposia Specialists, Miami, pp 227–234Google Scholar
  26. Sutton J, Coleman M, Casey J, Lazarus L (1973) Androgen responses during physical exercise. Br Med J 1: 520–522Google Scholar
  27. Van Der Molen H (1970) Estimation of androstenedione and testosterone. In: Eiknes K (ed) The androgens of the testis. Marcel Dekker, New York, pp 148–149Google Scholar
  28. Wilkerson J, Horvath S, Gutin B (1980) Plasma testosterone during treadmill exercises. J Appl Physiol 49: 249–253Google Scholar
  29. Wilmore J (1974) Alterations in strength, body composition and anthropometric measurements consequent to a 10-week weight training program. Med Sci Sports 6: 133–138Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lawrence W. Weiss
    • 1
  • Kirk J. Cureton
    • 1
  • Frederick N. Thompson
    • 1
  1. 1.Depts. of Physical Education and Physiology-PharmacologyUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA

Personalised recommendations