Skip to main content

The order effect of combined endurance and strength loadings on force and hormone responses: effects of prolonged training



To examine acute responses and recovery of force and serum hormones to combined endurance and strength loadings utilizing different orders of exercises before and after training.


Physically active men were matched to an order sequence of endurance followed by strength (E + S, n = 12) or strength followed by endurance (S + E, n = 17). The subjects performed one experimental loading consisting of steady-state cycling and a leg press protocol before and after 24 weeks of order-specific combined training.


No between-group difference in acute reductions of force was observed at week 0 (E + S −23 %, p < 0.001; S + E −22 %, p < 0.01) and 24 (E + S −25 %, p < 0.001; S + E −27 %, p < 0.001) and recovery in force was completed after 24 h in both groups at week 0 and 24. Concentrations of growth hormone (22-kDa) increased post-acute loading at week 0 (E + S, +57 fold, p < 0.05; S + E, +300 fold, p < 0.001; between-groups p < 0.001) and 24 (E + S, +80 fold, p < 0.01; S + E, +340 fold, p < 0.05; between-groups p < 0.05). No significant acute responses in concentrations of testosterone were observed at week 0 or 24. However, at week 0 testosterone was reduced during recovery following the E + S loading only (24 h −23 %, p < 0.01; 48 h −21 %, p < 0.001; between-groups at 24 and 48 h, p < 0.05), but was no longer observed after training. 1RM strength improved similarly in E + S (13 %, p < 0.001) and S + E (17 %, p < 0.001).


This study showed an order effect (E + S vs. S + E) in concentrations of testosterone during 2 days of recovery at week 0, which was diminished after 24 weeks of training. The initial difference in testosterone concentrations during recovery did not seem to be associated with strength development.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4





Creatine kinase






Effect size

E + S:

Endurance followed by strength


Growth hormone (22-kDa)

MVCmax :

Maximal isometric bilateral leg press force




Standard deviation

S + E:

Strength followed by endurance




Thyroid stimulating hormone

\({\dot{\text{V}}\text{O}}_{{ 2 {\text{max}}}}\) :

Maximal oxygen consumption


One repetition maximum


  • Ahtiainen JP, Pakarinen A, Kraemer WJ, Häkkinen K (2003a) Acute hormonal and neuromuscular responses and recovery to forced vs. maximum repetitions multiple resistance exercises. Int J Sports Med 24:410–418

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Ahtiainen JP, Pakarinen A, Alen M, Kraemer WJ, Häkkinen K (2003b) Muscle hypertrophy, hormonal adaptations and strength development during strength training in strength-trained and untrained men. Eur J Appl Physiol 89:555–563

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Aunola S, Rusko H (1986) Aerobic and anaerobic thresholds determined from venous lactate or from ventilation and gas exchange in relation to muscle fiber composition. Int J Sports Med 7:161–166

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Cadore EL, Izquierdo M, dos Santos MG et al (2012) Hormonal responses to concurrent strength and endurance training with different exercise orders. J Strength Cond Res 26:3281–3288

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Chtara M, Chaouacrn A, Levin GT et al (2008) Effect of concurrent endurance and circuit resistance training sequence on muscular strength and power development. J Strength Cond Res 22:1037–1045

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Daly W, Seegers CA, Rubin D, Dobridge JD, Hackney AC (2005) Relationship between stress hormones and testosterone with prolonged endurance exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol 93:375–380

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Daussin F, Ponsot E, Dufour S et al (2007) Improvement of VO2max by cardiac output and oxygen extraction adaptation during intermittent versus continuous endurance training. Eur J Appl Physiol 101:377–383

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Dill DB, Costill DL (1974) Calculation of percentage changes in volumes of blood, plasma, and red cells in dehydration. J Appl Physiol 37:247–248

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Hackney AC, Viru A (2008) Research methodology: endocrinologic measurements in exercise science and sports medicine. J Athl Train 43:631–639

    Article  PubMed Central  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Hackney AC, Kallman A, Hosick KP, Rubin DA, Battaglini CL (2012) Thyroid hormonal responses to intensive interval versus steady-state endurance exercise sessions. Hormones 11:54–60

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Häkkinen K, Pakarinen A (1993) Acute hormonal responses to two different fatiguing heavy resistance protocols in males athletes. J Appl Physiol 74:882–887

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Häkkinen K, Pakarinen A, Kallinen M (1992) Neuromuscular adaptations and serum hormones in women during short-term intensive strength training. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol 64:106–111

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Häkkinen K, Kallinen M, Izquierdo M et al (1998) Changes in agonist-antagonist EMG, muscle CSA, and force during strength training in middle-aged and older people. J Appl Physiol 84:1341–1349

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Häkkinen K, Pakarinen A, Kraemer WJ, Newton RU, Alen M (2000) Basal concentrations and acute responses of serum hormones and strength development during heavy resistance training in middle-aged and elderly men and women. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 55:B95–B105

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Helgerud J, Hoydal K, Wang E et al (2007) Aerobic high-intensity intervals improve VO2max more than moderate training. Med Sci Sports Exerc 39:665–671

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Henneman E, Somjen G, Carpenter DO (1965) Excitability and inhibitability of motoneurons of different sizes. J Neurophysiol 28:599–620

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Izquierdo M, Ibanez J, Calbet JA et al (2009) Neuromuscular fatigue after resistance training. Int J Sports Med 30:614–623

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Izquierdo M, Gonzalez-Izal M, Navarro-Amezqueta I et al (2011) Effects of strength training on muscle fatigue mapping from surface EMG and blood metabolites. Med Sci Sports Exerc 43:303–311

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Kargotich S, Goodman C, Keast D, Morton AR (1998) The influence of exercise-induced plasma volume changes on the interpretation of biochemical parameters used for monitoring exercise, training and sport. Sports Med 26:101–117

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Kraemer WJ, Ratamess NA (2004) Fundamentals of resistance training: progression and exercise prescription. Med Sci Sports Exerc 36:674–688

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Kraemer WJ, Ratamess NA (2005) Hormonal responses and adaptations to resistance exercise and training. Sports Med 35:339–361

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Kraemer WJ, Marchitelli L, Gordon SE et al (1990) Hormonal and growth factor responses to heavy resistance exercise protocols. J Appl Physiol 69:1442–1450

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Kraemer WJ, Patton JF, Gordon SE et al (1995) Compatibility of high-intensity strength and endurance training on hormonal and skeletal muscle adaptations. J Appl Physiol 78:976–989

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Kuoppasalmi K, Naveri H, Harkonen M, Adlercreutz H (1980) Plasma cortisol, androstenedione, testosterone and luteinizing hormone in running exercise of different intensities. Scand J Clin Lab Invest 40:403–409

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Kvorning T, Andersen M, Brixen K, Madsen K (2006) Suppression of endogenous testosterone production attenuates the response to strength training: a randomized, placebo-controlled, and blinded intervention study. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 291:E1325–E1332

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Lepers R, Theurel J, Hausswirth C, Bernard T (2008) Neuromuscular fatigue following constant versus variable-intensity endurance cycling in triathletes. J Sci Med Sport 11:381–389

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Leveritt M, Abernethy PJ (1999) Acute effects of high-intensity endurance exercise on subsequent resistance activity. J Strength Con Res 13:47–51

    Google Scholar 

  • Linnamo V, Pakarinen A, Komi PV, Kraemer WJ, Häkkinen K (2005) Acute hormonal responses to submaximal and maximal heavy resistance and explosive exercises in men and women. J Strength Cond Res 19:566–571

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • McCall GE, Byrnes WC, Fleck SJ, Dickinson A, Kraemer WJ (1999) Acute and chronic hormonal responses to resistance training designed to promote muscle hypertrophy. Can J Appl Physiol 24:96–107

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • McCaulley GO, McBride JM, Cormie P et al (2009) Acute hormonal and neuromuscular responses to hypertrophy, strength and power type resistance exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol 105:695–704

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Moore AW, Timmerman S, Brownlee KK, Rubin DA, Hackney AC (2005) Strenuous, fatiguing exercise: relationship of cortisol to circulating thyroid hormones. Int J Endocri Metbol 1:18–24

    Google Scholar 

  • Pritzlaff CJ, Wideman L, Weltman JY et al (1999) Impact of acute exercise intensity on pulsatile growth hormone release in men. J Appl Physiol 87:498–504

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Schumann M, Eklund D, Taipale RS et al (2013) Acute neuromuscular and endocrine responses and recovery to single-session combined endurance and strength loadings: “order effect” in untrained young men. J Strength Cond Res 27:421–433

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Stokes KA, Gilbert KL, Hall GM, Andrews RC, Thompson D (2013) Different responses of selected hormones to three types of exercise in young men. Eur J Appl Physiol 113:775–783

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Taipale RS, Häkkinen K (2013) Acute hormonal and force responses to combined strength and endurance loadings in men and women: the “order effect”. PLoS One 8:e55051

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Thompson WR, Gordon NF, Pescatello LS (2010) ACSM’s guidelines for exercise testing and prescription, 8th edn. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia

    Google Scholar 

  • Vingren JL, Kraemer WJ, Ratamess NA, Anderson JM, Volek JS, Maresh CM (2010) Testosterone physiology in resistance exercise and training: the up-stream regulatory elements. Sports Med 40:1037–1053

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Walker S, Ahtiainen JP, Häkkinen K (2010) Acute neuromuscular and hormonal responses during contrast loading: effect of 11 weeks of contrast training. Scand J Med Sci Sports 20:226–234

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • West DWD, Burd NA, Tang JE et al (2010) Elevations in ostensibly anabolic hormones with resistance exercise enhance neither training-induced muscle hypertrophy nor strength of the elbow flexors. J Appl Physiol 108:60–67

    Article  PubMed Central  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Wilson JM, Marin PJ, Rhea MR, Wilson SMC, Loenneke JP, Anderson JC (2012) Concurrent training: a meta-analysis examining interference of aerobic and resistance exercises. J Strength Cond Res 26:2293–2307

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references


The funding for this study has been partially provided by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture. The authors would like to express their gratitude to the technical staff involved in the data collection. Furthermore, the subjects who allowed this study to be conducted are highly acknowledged.

Conflict of interest

The authors of this manuscript do not have conflicts of interest.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Moritz Schumann.

Additional information

Communicated by Toshio Moritani.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Schumann, M., Walker, S., Izquierdo, M. et al. The order effect of combined endurance and strength loadings on force and hormone responses: effects of prolonged training. Eur J Appl Physiol 114, 867–880 (2014).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: