European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 117, Issue 3, pp 511–519 | Cite as

Effects of resistance training at different loads on inflammatory markers in young adults

  • Louis Nuvagah Forti
  • Evelien Van Roie
  • Rose Njemini
  • Walter Coudyzer
  • Ingo Beyer
  • Christophe Delecluse
  • Ivan BautmansEmail author
Original Article



Suppressing inflammaging at an early stage in life via exercise might prevent chronic diseases later in life. The aim was to investigate the influence of resistance training at different external loads on inflammatory markers in healthy young adults.


Serum was collected for basal levels of cytokines (IL-1beta, IL-6, IL-8, sTNFR1, IL-1RA, IL-10 and GM-CSF) before and after 9 weeks exercise from 36 young (22 ± 2 years) healthy subjects who were randomized to three times weekly supervised resistance training at either HImax (n = 12, 1 × 10–12 repetitions at 80% 1RM), LO (n = 12, 1 × 10–12 repetitions at 40% 1RM), or LOmax (n = 12, 1 × 10–12 repetitions at 40% 1RM preceded by 60 repetitions at 20–25% 1RM) respectively.


Overall, IL-8 increased (p < 0.001) and IL-6 decreased (p = 0.001) after training, but no significant time*group interaction was found (respectively, p = 0.283 and p = 0.058 for IL-8 and IL-6). When analyzed separately, IL-8 increased significantly in HImax (p = 0.022) and LOmax (p = 0.024); and IL-6 decreased significantly in LOmax (p = 0.009) and LO (p = 0.013). No significant overall time effect was observed for sTNFR1 and IL-1RA; however, in HImax sTNFR1 (p = 0.031) and IL-1RA (p = 0.014) increased significantly, but remained unchanged in LOmax and LO. IL-1beta, IL-10 and GM-CSF levels remained undetectable in most participants.


Nine weeks of resistance training—irrespective of the external load—have beneficial effects on circulating IL-8 and IL-6. In addition, training at high external load increases the anti-inflammatory cytokines sTNFR1 and IL-1RA. The results of this study show that resistance training has anti-inflammatory effects in healthy young persons and that the response of the different inflammatory mediators depends on the magnitude of the external load.


Cytokines Young adult Resistance training Training load 



We would like to acknowledge the Research Foundation Flanders, Belgium (FWO-Vlaanderen), as E. Van Roie was a Ph.D. Fellow of FWO. The results of the present study do not constitute an endorsement by ACSM. The authors have no other declarations of interest to report.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Gerontology Department, Faculty of Medicine and PharmacyVrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Frailty in Ageing Research (FRIA) GroupVrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium
  3. 3.Physical Activity, Sports and Health Research Group, Department of Kinesiology, Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation SciencesKU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  4. 4.Radiology Section, Department of Morphology and Medical Imaging, Faculty of MedicineKU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  5. 5.Department of GeriatricsUniversitair Ziekenhuis BrusselBrusselsBelgium

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