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Endocrine Responses to

Resistance Exercise
Joshua Yarrow, M.S., CSCS
General Adaptation Syndrome
Death
removal of stimuli
this is the key to continued adaption
Rest and allow the organism to recover
decline in function
Plateau
Adaptation/Improvement
Reduction in function
Alarm Phase
Applied Stress
Why study the endocrine system
Resistance exercise is the only natural
stimulus that increases lean tissue
Controlling variables during a workout
allows for differing endocrine responses
Tissue adaptations are influenced by the
changes in circulating hormonal
concentrations following exercise
Definitions
Hormones-chemical messengers that
are synthesized, stored in, and
released into the blood by endocrine
glands
Peptide-interact with hormone-specific
receptors on target tissues
Steroid-interact directly with the DNA
in the nucleus of a cell
Hormone secretion
Autocrine secretion-cell releases a
hormone inside itself
Hormone never leaves the cell
IGF-1 in muscle fiber
Paracrine secretion-cell releases
hormone which interacts with
adjacent cells
No circulation necessary


Endocrine Glands of the Body
Hypothalamus
Pituitary gland
anterior and
posterior
Thyroid gland
Parathyroid glands
Heart
Liver

Adrenal glands
medulla and cortex
Pancreas
Kidneys
Testes
Ovaries
Hormone Binding
Binding sites
Proteins within the blood
Carry hormones to receptor sights
Hormones are inactive when bound
Numerous target tissues
Bone, kidney, liver
Muscle
Therefore, numerous effects within the
body
Resistance training adaptations
in muscle
Increase in contractile protein
Actin and myosin
Change in molecular structure
IIx IIa
IIa I
Increase in non-contractile proteins
Tropomyosin, troponin, titin, nebulin, M
protein, C protein, alpha-actinin

Muscle fiber growth
Type I fibers
Decreased protein degradation
Type II fibers
Increased protein synthesis
So what???
Hormones regulate protein synthesis and
degradation
Protein synthesis and
degradation
Anabolic hormones
promote tissue
building
Testosterone
Growth Hormone
IGFs
Insulin


Catabolic hormones
degrade cell
proteins to support
glucose synthesis
Cortisol
Progesterone
Hormone receptors
Goal of the hormone is to influence
DNA in the cell nucleus
Must connect to a receptor
Blood
Nucleus
Integration in cell membrane

Hormone binding
Lock and key theory
Hormones interact with a specific
receptor
Pg. 96
Cross reactivity- binding of hormone
with improper receptor
Hormone binding
Down regulation-decrease in binding
sensitivity of a receptor to its
hormone
Effectiveness of hormones
Sensitivity of binding sites
Number of hormone receptors
Amount of circulating hormones
Steroid hormones
Produced in adrenal cortex and
gonads
Diffuse freely across cell membrane
Receptors located in sarcolemma
Steroid hormones
Hormone receptor complex-binding of
a steroid hormone to its receptor
H-RC interacts with DNA within the nucleus
and leads to protein transcription
Pg. 99
Polypeptide hormones
Made up of a string of amino acids
Bind to receptors in blood or cell
membrane
Cannot penetrate the cell membrane

Polypeptide hormones
Secondary messengers-chemical
messenger that directs a hormones
action to a specific area of the cell
Pg. 99
Resistance training
The interaction of anabolic hormone
levels observed after resistance
exercise can enhance the
development of muscle protein
contractile units
So what?
Resistance training
The force produced in the activated
fibers stimulates receptor and
membrane sensitivity to anabolic
factors, including hormones, which
lead to muscle growth and strength
changes
So what?
Resistance training
If the stress is too great, during a
resistance exercise session, catabolic
actions within the muscle may occur
So what?
Resistance training
Only activated fibers can adapt
Extent of hormone interaction and
growth is directly related to potential
for size increases
Fibers near potential grow little
Resistance training
This builds a case for alternating
exercises for each muscle
Changing angles of exercises allows for
the possibility of different motor unit
involvement
More motor unit involvement = increased
fiber involvement = more adaptation!

Mechanisms of interaction
Higher serum concentrations = higher
possibility of binding with receptors
The endocrine response to stress
delineates the adaptive response
Genetics ultimately limit all gains
Typically the anabolic response can be controlled for
Mistakes in exercise prescription can lead to greater
catabolic effects or an ineffective exercise program
Fiber adaptations
Although hormones influence muscle
fiber changes after exercise
Hypertrophy
More CSA = more strength
CSA direct correlation w/force
production
Neural adaptations
Hormone concentrations
How do we test
serum concentrations?
Blood draws
receptor populations in a muscle?
We dont
direct effects within the cell?
We dont
It is assumed that higher serum
concentrations equates to a higher
probability of receptor interaction
Serum hormone changes
Physiological mechanisms responsible for
changes in serum concentrations
Fluid volume shifts
Tissue clearance rates
Hormonal degradation
Venous pooling of blood
Interaction with binding proteins in the blood
Receptor interactions
Adaptations to the endocrine
system in response to exercise
Amount of synthesis & storage of
hormones
Transport of hormones
Time needed for clearance of
hormones
Amount of hormone degradation over
time
Amount of blood/tissue fluid shift

Adaptations to the endocrine
system in response to exercise
Receptor affinity for hormone
Receptor population
Magnitude of the signal sent to the
cell nucleus
Degree of interaction with the cell
nucleus
Dictates how much protein to produce
Adaptations to the endocrine
system in response to exercise
Acute adaptations
Large changes in hormone concentrations
Chronic adaptations
Small changes in hormone concentrations
Testosterone (T)
The primary hormone responsible for
muscle growth
Primary physiological marker to
evaluate the anabolic status of the
body
The direct effects of T on muscle
tissue are from AAS research

Testosterone
Indirect effects on muscle tissue
Increase GH production
Interacts with receptors on neurons
Increase neurotransmitter production
Influence structural protein changes
Testosterone
Direct effects on muscle tissue
Interacts with DNA of cell
Resulting in increased protein synthesis
Testosterone
Diurnal variations-normal fluctuations
in hormonal levels throughout the day
Acute resistance exercise does not effect
this
Men
Highest levels in morning
Drop throughout day
Women
Lower levels and consistent throughout day
Testosterone
Adolescents
Males
T levels low before puberty
No change in post-exercise T levels
T levels increase at puberty
~2 years lifting experience required to see
changes in post-exercise T
Females
T levels low before & after puberty
Little change reported in post-exercise T

Free T
Sex hormone binding globulin
Transports T through blood
High bound T allows for more free T in
serum
Free T
Believed to be the only T that interacts
with target tissue

Women & Testosterone
15-20 fold lower concentrations than
men
Pg. 106
Relatively small or no increase post
resistance exercise
Growth Hormone (GH)
Secreted from the anterior pituitary
gland
Highest levels achieved at night
during sleep
Factors affecting secretion
Exercise Age
Gender Sleep
Nutrition Alcohol consumption

Growth Hormone
Decreases glycogen
utilization
Decreases glycogen
synthesis
Increases amino acid
transport across cell
membranes
Increases protein
synthesis
Increases utilization of
fatty acids
Increases lypolysis
Increases glucose and amino
acid availability
Increases collagen
synthesis
Increases retention of
nitrogen and electrolytes
Increases renal plasma flow
Promotes renal hypertrophy
Enhances immune cell
function
Stimulates cartilage growth

Growth hormone and muscle
Enhances cellular amino-acid uptake
and protein synthesis in muscle
Hypertrophy of Type I & II fibers
Mediates IGF-1 production by the
liver and other cells
IFGH only active part
1/3 total GH



GH supplementation
GH without exercise will not enhance
force production of muscle
May increase size of muscle
Numerous side effects
GH & stress
GH will respond to stressors other
than exercise
Breath holding
Hyperventilation
Hypoxia
Increased H
+
concentrations
Increased lactate concentrations
GH & women
Women have significantly higher
resting levels than men
Levels vary throughout the menstrual
cycle
Response to exercise is similar to men
Short rest, higher volume protocols
increase serum levels
Insulin-like growth factors
Secreted by the liver in response to
numerous stimuli
Increases in GH levels
8-29 hours post GH increase
Nutritional levels
Nitrogen balance and protein intake
Insulin levels
Exact reasons for increases in serum
levels are unknown
Insulin growth factors
IGF-1
Anabolic processes
More than Testosterone
In culture
Protein synthesis
IGF- 2
Function is currently unclear

IGF-1
IGF-1 storage
Fat cells
Possibly released after exercise
Muscle cells
Exact responses to exercise are unknown
Some studies show increases some do not
Possibly dependant upon pre-exercise levels
Low levels increase; high levels dont
IGF-1 & women
Believed to be a primary factor
responsible for muscle hypertrophy in
women.
Why?
Cortisol
Released from adrenal cortex
Glucocorticoid hormone
Released in accordance with low glycogen
stores within the muscle
Signals protein catabolism to replace
muscle glycogen stores
Main effect occurs in Type II fibers
Cortisol
Catabolic effects
Converts amino acids to carbohydrates
Increases levels of proteolytic enzymes
Breakdown protein
Inhibits protein synthesis
Cortisol
Catabolic effects can be offset
Testosterone
Blocks genetic element in the cell
Insulin
Binds to cortisol receptors
The balance of anabolic and catabolic
activities in the muscle affects the protein
contractile unit, directly influencing
strength!
Cortisol responses to exercise
Increase with resistance exercise
Short rest periods
High volume
Acute elevations may actually help
the tissue remodeling process
Must be disrupted prior to remodeling
Chronic elevations may have adverse
affects

Cortisol
Increases in response to
Disease
Joint immobilization
injury
>800nmol/L can signal over-training

Catecholamines
Primary catecholamines
Epinephrine
Norepinephrine
Dopamine
Secreted from adrenal medulla
Functions related to muscle growth
are unclear
Epinephrine and Norepinephrine
Functions
Increase force production
Central mechanisms and increase metabolic enzyme
activity
Increase muscle contraction rate
Increase blood pressure
Increase energy availability
Increase blood flow
Stimulate secretion of other hormones
Testosterone, GH, IGFs
Catecholamines
Function in skeletal muscle and
immune system recovery
Not active until stress is removed
Training should vary
Allows adrenal gland to engage
Prevents secondary responses of cortisol
Other hormones
All hormones play integrated role in
creating an optimal hormonal
environment
Insulin
Thyroid hormones
Beta-endorphin

Conclusions
Endocrine system mediates training
related changes within the body
Skeletal muscle tissues are
influenced by circulating hormone
levels following exercise
Conclusions
The more muscle fibers recruited for
an exercise, the greater the extent
of potential remodeling process in the
muscle
Only muscle fibers activated by the
resistance training are subject to
adaptations, including hormonal
adaptations to stress
Recommendations
Testosterone
Multi-joint activities, or
Heavy resistance, or
85-95% 1RM
Moderate to high volume exercise, or
Multiple sets or multiple exercises
Short rest intervals
60-90 seconds
Resistance training status
>2 years
Recommendations
GH
High rep range
10RM
Short rest
1min>2min
High total volume
3 sets> 1 set
Supplement diet with CHO and Pro
before and after workout
Recommendations
Adrenal hormones
High volume
Vary (periodization)
Multi-joint exercises
Short rest periods
Vary (periodization)
Varying training protocol
Prevents chronic catabolic responses of cortisol
Overuse and overtraining
Questions
???