Sports Medicine

, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp 215–238 | Cite as

Possible Stimuli for Strength and Power Adaptation

Acute Hormonal Responses
  • Blair CrewtherEmail author
  • Justin Keogh
  • John Cronin
  • Christian Cook
Review Article


The endocrine system plays an important role in strength and power development by mediating the remodelling of muscle protein. Resistance training scheme design regulates muscle protein turnover by modifying the anabolic (testosterone, growth hormone) and catabolic (cortisol) responses to a workout. Although resistance exercise increases the concentrations of insulin-like growth factor 1 in blood following exercise, the effect of scheme design is less clear, most likely due to the different release mechanisms of this growth factor (liver vs muscle). Insulin is non-responsive to the exercise stimulus, but in the presence of appropriate nutritional intake, elevated blood insulin levels combined with resistance exercise promotes protein anabolism. Factors such as sex, age, training status and nutrition also impact upon the acute hormonal environment and, hence, the adaptive response to resistance training. However, gaps within research, as well as inconsistent findings, limit our understanding of the endocrine contribution to adaptation. Research interpretation is also difficult due to problems with experimental design (e.g. sampling errors) and various other issues (e.g. hormone rhythms, biological fluid examined). In addition to the hormonal responses to resistance exercise, the contribution of other acute training factors, particularly those relating to the mechanical stimulus (e.g. forces, work, time under tension) must also be appreciated. Enhancing our understanding in these areas would also improve the prescription of resistance training for stimulating strength and power adaptation.


Resistance Training Resistance Exercise Training Status Cortisol Response Lift Scheme 
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.



No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this review. The authors have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this review.


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Copyright information

© Adis Data Information BV 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Blair Crewther
    • 1
    Email author
  • Justin Keogh
    • 2
  • John Cronin
    • 3
  • Christian Cook
    • 1
  1. 1.Human Health and Performance GroupHortResearchAucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Sciences, Faculty of Computing, Health and ScienceEdith Cowan UniversityPerthAustralia
  3. 3.Institute of Sport and Recreation Research New Zealand, Division of Sport and RecreationAuckland University of TechnologyAucklandNew Zealand

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