Growth hormone responses during intermittent weight lifting exercise in men

  • W. P. Vanhelder
  • M. W. Radomski
  • R. C. Goode


Five normal male volunteers performed two intermittent weight lifting exercises of equal total external work output and duration (20 min) with identical work-rest intervals but different load and frequency of movements. Exercise I consisted of seven sets of seven vertical leg lifts at 85% of the subject's Seven Repetition Maximum (SRM) and, 5 days later, seven sets of 21 vertical leg lifts with one-third of the previously used load (Exercise II). Blood was sampled throughout the exercise and recovery periods for growth hormone, lactate, and glucose analysis. Growth hormone increased after 20 min of Exercise I to a peak during the recovery period. Significantly elevated growth hormone (GH) levels were found 5, 10, and 15 min (P<0.025,P<0.05,P<0.025 respectively) of recovery after Exercise I. No significant elevations of GH occurred in Exercise II. Significant linear correlations (r=0.99,P<0.01) with a time lag of 16 min were found between lactate and GH levels in Exercise I (lactate increases preceded those of GH). No significant differences in plasma glucose concentrations were detected. The results suggests that in intermittent weight lifting exercises of equal total external work output and duration as well as identical work-rest intervals, the load and/or frequency of an exercise are determinant factors in the regulation of plasma GH levels.

Key words

Exercise Weight lifting Growth hormone Lactate 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Berger D, Floyd JC, Lampman RM, Fajans SS (1980) The effect of adrenergic receptor blockade on the exercise-induced rise in pancreatic polypeptide in man. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 50: 33–39PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Bloom SR, Johnson RH, Park DM, Rennie MJ, Sulaiman WR (1978) Differences in the metabolic and hormonal response to exercise between racing cyclists and untrained individuals. J Physiol 258: 1–18Google Scholar
  3. DeLorme L, Watkins AL (1948) Techniques of progressive resistance exercise. Arch Phys Med 29: 263–273Google Scholar
  4. Durnin JV, Womersley J (1974) Body fat assessed from total body density and its estimation from skinfold thicknesses. Br J Nutr 32: 77–97Google Scholar
  5. Fischer O (1906) Theoretische Grundlagen für eine Mechanik des lebenden Körpers. BerlinGoogle Scholar
  6. Galbo H (1981) Endocrinology and metabolism in exercise. Int J Sports Med 2: 203–211Google Scholar
  7. Galbo H (1983) Hormonal and metabolic adaptation to exercise. Georg. Thieme Verlag, Stuttgart-New York, pp 40–45Google Scholar
  8. Karagiorgos A, Garcia JF, Brooks GA (1979) Growth hormone response to continuous and intermittent exercise. Med Sci Sports 11: 302–307PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Kindermann W, Schnabel A, Schmitt WM, Biro G, Cassens J, Weber F (1982) Catecholamines, growth hormone, cortisol, insulin, and sex hormones in anaerobic and aerobic exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol 49: 389–399Google Scholar
  10. Lukaszewska J, Biczowa B, Bobilewicz D, Wilk M, Obuchowicz-Fidelus B (1976) Effect of physical exercise on plasma cortisol and growth hormone levels in young weight lifters. Endokrynologia Polska XXVII, 2: 149–158Google Scholar
  11. Martin JB (1980) Functions of central nervous system neurotransmitters in regulation of growth hormone secretion. Fed Proc 39: 2902–2906PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Shephard RJ, Sidney KH (1975) Effects of physical exercise on plasma growth hormone and cortisol levels in human subjects. Exercise Sport Sci Rev 3: 1–30Google Scholar
  13. Skierska E, Ustupska J, Biczowa B, Lukaszewska J (1976) Effect of physical exercise on plasma cortisol, testosterone and growth hormone levels in weight lifters. Endokrynologia Polska XXVII, 2: 159–165Google Scholar
  14. Sutton J, Lazarus L (1976) Growth hormone in exercise: comparison of physiological and pharmacological stimuli. J Appl Physiol 41: 523–527PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Terjung R (1979) Endocrine response to exercise. Exercise Sport Sci Rev 7: 153–180Google Scholar
  16. Vanhelder WP, Goode RC, Radomski MW (1984) Effect of anaerobic and aerobic exercise of equal duration and work expenditure on plasma growth hormone levels. Eur J Appl Physiol (in press)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. P. Vanhelder
    • 1
  • M. W. Radomski
    • 2
  • R. C. Goode
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine and School of Physical and Health EducationUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Defence and Civil Institute of Environmental MedicineDownsviewCanada

Personalised recommendations