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Acute Hormonal Responses to Intentionally Slow or Maximal Velocity Resistance Exercise in Men

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Intentionally slow velocity (SLOW) resistance exercise, sometimes called slow tempo, uses purposely slow movement velocity which limits the loads that can be lifted (e.g., <50% 1 repetition maximum [RM]). The purpose of this study was to determine the acute hormonal responses between SLOW and maximal velocity (MAX) resistance exercise when using commonly prescribed training protocols. Ten healthy resistance-trained men performed two randomly ordered exercise sessions consisting of a SLOW session (1 × 10 at 28% 1RM; 10 s concentric and eccentric phases) and a MAX session (3 × 10 at 70% 1RM; maximum concentric velocity) separated seven days apart. Both SLOW and MAX sessions included the barbell parallel squat and bench press exercises. Blood samples were collected pre- and post-exercise, and were analyzed for total testosterone (T), cortisol (C), growth hormone (GH), and lactate (HLa) concentrations. SLOW and MAX both significantly increased C and GH but with no differences between protocols for post-exercise responses (GH [µg L–1], SLOW = 5.6 ± 3.7, MAX = 5.0 ± 3.1; C [nmol L–1], SLOW = 258.5 ± 122.9, MAX = 284.7 ± 142.0). Only MAX significantly increased T above resting values (T [nmol L–1]; PRE  = 27.2 ± 6.9, POST = 32.4 ± 8.5). A significant increase in HLa was observed after both protocols, but MAX produced a larger post-exercise response (HLa [mmol L–1], SLOW = 7.8 ± 3.0, MAX = 13.8 ± 2.1). Contrary to suggestions in the lay literature, SLOW resistance exercise did not produce greater hormonal responses than the MAX resistance exercise regimen.

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Correspondence to D. Cabarkapa.

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All the work was conducted according to the principles of good clinical practice that have their origin in the declaration of Helsinki and good laboratory practice for the analysis of blood samples. The objective of the study was explained to all participants and a consent form was signed by all the subjects who agreed to participate.

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The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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Dietz-Parsons, P.R., Fry, A.C., Nicoll, J.X. et al. Acute Hormonal Responses to Intentionally Slow or Maximal Velocity Resistance Exercise in Men. Hum Physiol 48, 546–554 (2022).

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