Human Physiology

, Volume 32, Issue 5, pp 609–614 | Cite as

Hormonal adaptation determines the increase in muscle mass and strength during low-intensity strength training without relaxation

  • D. V. Popov
  • D. V. Swirkun
  • A. I. Netreba
  • O. S. Tarasova
  • A. B. Prostova
  • I. M. Larina
  • A. S. Borovik
  • O. L. Vinogradova


The study was designed to test the hypothesis that, during strength training, a restricted blood supply to the working muscles stimulates the secretion of anabolic hormones and an increase in the muscle mass and strength can be achieved with significantly lower training loads. During eight weeks, three times a week, 18 young, physically active males trained their leg extensor muscles. Nine subjects (group I) worked at 80% of the maximal voluntary contraction (MVC), whereas the rest (group II) performed their exercise without relaxation and at a lower load (50% MVC). The total training load in group II was significantly lower than in group I (77 ± 5 vs. 157 ± 7 kJ, respectively). The eight-week training of both groups significantly increased the mean maximum strength (by 35 and 21% in groups I and II, respectively) and volume (by 17 and 9%, respectively) of the muscles trained (however, the differences between the groups with respect to these changes were nonsignificant). Group I displayed a higher increase in the blood level of creatine phosphokinase than group II, while group II showed a greater increase in the blood concentration of lactate. In contrast to group I, group II displayed a significant increase in the blood concentrations of growth hormone, insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), and cortisol. Hence, the suggestion that the secretion of metabolic hormones is triggered by a metabolic, rather than mechanical, stimulus from working muscles seems plausible.


Maximal Voluntary Contraction Strength Training Eccentric Exercise Training Load Strength Exercise 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Kraemer, W.J., Patton, J.F., Gordon, S.E., et al., Compatibility of High-Intensity Strength and Endurance Training on Hormonal and Skeletal Muscle Adaptations, J. Appl. Physiol., 1995, vol. 78, no. 3, p. 976.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ahtiainen, J.P., Pakarinen, A., Alen, M., et al., Muscle Hypertrophy, Hormonal Adaptations and Strength Development during Strength Training in Strength-Trained and Untrained Men, Eur. J. Appl. Physiol., 2003, vol. 89, no. 6, p. 555.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Hakkinen, K., Alen, M., Kraemer, W.J., et al., Neuromuscular Adaptations during Concurrent Strength and Endurance Training versus Strength Training, Eur. J. Appl. Physiol., 2003, vol. 89, no. 1, p. 42.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    McCall, G., Grindeland, R., Roy, R., and Edgerton, V. Muscle Afferent Activity Modulates Bioassayable Growth Hormone in Human Plasma, J. Appl. Physiol., 2000, vol. 89, p. 1137.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Goldspink, G., Mechanical Signals, IGF-1 Gene Splicing, and Muscle Adaptation, Physiology, (Bethesda) 2005, vol. 20, p. 232.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Gordon, S.E. Kraemer, W.J., Vos N.H., et al., Effect of Acid-Base Balance on the Growth Hormone Response to Acute High-Intensity Cycle Exercise, J. Appl. Physiol., 1994, vol. 76, no. 2, p. 821.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Lu, S.S., Lau, C.P., Tung, Y.F., et al., Lactate and the Effects of Exercise on Testosterone Secretion: Evidence for the Involvement of a cAMP-Mediated Mechanism, Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., 1997, vol. 29, no. 8, p. 1048.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Takarada, Y., Nakamura, Y, Aruga, S., et al., Rapid Increase in Plasma Growth Hormone after Low-Intensity Resistance Exercise with Vascular Occlusion, J. Appl. Physiol., 2000, vol. 88, no. 1, p. 61.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Sundberg, C.J., Exercise and Training during Graded Leg Ischemia in Healthy Men with Special Reference to Effects on Skeletal Muscle, Acta Physiol. Scand. Suppl., 1994, vol. 615, p. 1.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Viru, M., Jansson, E., Viru, A., and Sundberg, C.J., Effect of Restricted Blood Flow on Exercise-Induced Hormone Changes in Healthy Men, Eur. J. Appl. Physiol. Occup. Physiol., 1998, vol. 77, no. 6, p. 517.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Takarada, Y., Sato, Y., and Ishii, N., Effects of Resistance Exercise Combined with Vascular Occlusion on Muscle Function in Athletes, Eur. J. Appl. Physiol., 2002, vol. 86, no. 4, p. 308.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Burgomaster, K.A., Moore, D.R., Schofield, L.M., et al., Resistance Training with Vascular Occlusion: Metabolic Adaptations in Human Muscle, Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., 2003, vol. 35, no. 7, p. 1203.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Moore, D.R., Burgomaster, K.A., Schofield, L.M., et al., Neuromuscular Adaptations in Human Muscle Following Low Intensity Resistance Training with Vascular Occlusion, Eur. J. Appl. Physiol., 2004, vol. 92, nos. 4–5, p. 399.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Nygren, A.T., Sundberg, C.J., Goransson, H., et al., Effects of Dynamic Ischaemic Training on Human Skeletal Muscle Dimensions, Eur. J. Appl. Physiol., 2000, vol. 82, nos. 1–2, p. 137.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Seluyanov, V.N., Podgotovka beguna na srednie distantsii (Training of a Middle-Distance Runner), Moscow: SportAkademPress, 2001.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Netreba, A., Popov, D., Vdovina, A., et al. Physiological Effects of Low-Intensity Strength Training without Relaxation, in 10th Annual Congress of the ECSS. Book of Abstracts, Belgrade, Serbia, 2005, p. 397.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Dons, B., Bollerup, K., Bonde-Petersen, F., and Hancke, S., The Effect of Weight-Lifting Exercise Related to Muscle Fiber Composition and Muscle Cross-Sectional Area in Humans, Eur. J. Appl. Physiol. Occup. Physiol., 1979, vol. 40, no. 2, p. 95.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Cerney, F.G. and Haralambie, G., Exercise-Induced Loss of Muscles Enzymes, in Knuttgen, H.G., Vogel, J.A., and Poortmans, J., Eds., Biochemistry of Exercise, Champaign (IL): Human Kinetics, 1983, vol. 13, p. 441.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Newham, D.J., McPhail, G., Mills, K.R., and Edwards, R.H., Ultrastructural Changes after Concentric and Eccentric Contractions of Human Muscle, J. Neurol. Sci., 1983, vol. 61, no. 1, p. 109.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Newham, D.J., Jones, D.A., and Edwards, R.H., Plasma Creatine Kinase Changes after Eccentric and Concentric Contractions, Muscle Nerve, 1986, vol. 9, no. 1, p. 59.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Evans, W.J., Meredith, C.N., Cannon, J.G., et al., Metabolic Changes Following Eccentric Exercise in Trained and Untrained Men, J. Appl. Physiol., 1986, vol. 61, no. 5, p. 1864.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Newham, D.J., Jones, D.A., and Clarkson, P.M., Repeated High-Force Eccentric Exercise: Effects on Muscle Pain and Damage, J. Appl. Physiol., 1987, vol. 63, no. 4, p. 1381.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Hakkinen, K., Pakarinen, A., Alen, M., et al., Relationships between Training Volume, Physical Performance Capacity, and Serum Hormone Concentrations during Prolonged Training in Elite Weight Lifters, Int. J. Sports Med., 1987, vol. 8,suppl. 1, p. 61.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Pleiades Publishing, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. V. Popov
    • 1
  • D. V. Swirkun
    • 1
  • A. I. Netreba
    • 1
  • O. S. Tarasova
    • 1
  • A. B. Prostova
    • 1
  • I. M. Larina
    • 1
  • A. S. Borovik
    • 1
  • O. L. Vinogradova
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Biomedical ProblemsRussian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia

Personalised recommendations