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Testosterone responses after resistance exercise in women: Influence of regional fat distribution

Military Performance Division, U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, MA 01760, USA.
International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism (Impact Factor: 1.98). 01/2002; 11(4):451-65.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Regional fat distribution (RFD) has been associated with metabolic derangements in populations with obesity. For example, upper body fat patterning is associated with higher levels of free testosterone (FT) and lower levels of sex-hormone binding globulin (SHBG). We sought to determine the extent to which this relationship was true in a healthy (i.e., non-obese) female population and whether RFD influenced androgen responses to resistance exercise. This study examined the effects of RFD on total testosterone (TT), FT, and SHBG responses to an acute resistance exercise test (ARET) among 47 women (22+/-3 years; 165+/-6 cm; 62+/-8 kg; 25+/-5%BF; 23+/-3 BMI). RFD was characterized by 3 separate indices: waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), ratio of upper arm fat to mid-thigh fat assessed with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI ratio), and ratio of subscapular to triceps ratio (SB/TRi ratio). Skinfolds were measured for the triceps, chest, subscapular, mid-axillary, suprailaic, abdomen, and thigh regions. The ARET consisted of 6 sets of 10 RM squats separated by 2-min rest periods. Blood was obtained pre- and post- ARET. TT, FT, and SHBG concentrations were determined by radioimmunoassay. Subjects were divided into tertiles from the indices of RFD, and statistical analyses were performed by an ANOVA with repeated measures (RFD and exercise as main effects). Significant (p < or = .05) increases following the AHRET were observed for TT (approximately 25%), FT (approximately 25%), and SHBG (4%). With multiple regression analysis, anthropometric measures significantly predicted pre- concentrations of FT, post-concentrations of TT, and pre-concentrations of SHBG. The SB/TRi and MRI ratios but not the WHR, were discriminant for hormonal concentrations among the tertiles. In young, healthy women, resistance exercise can induce transient increases in testosterone, and anthropometric markers of adiposity correlate with testosterone concentrations.

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    • "Recent evidence indicates that hormones have bidirectional effects on both behavior and experience . For example, if women engage in resistance exercise, it raises their testosterone levels (Nindl et al., 2001). "
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    ABSTRACT: Resistance exercise has been shown to elicit a significant acute hormonal response. It appears that this acute response is more critical to tissue growth and remodelling than chronic changes in resting hormonal concentrations, as many studies have not shown a significant change during resistance training despite increases in muscle strength and hypertrophy. Anabolic hormones such as testosterone and the superfamily of growth hormones (GH) have been shown to be elevated during 15-30 minutes of post-resistance exercise providing an adequate stimulus is present. Protocols high in volume, moderate to high in intensity, using short rest intervals and stressing a large muscle mass, tend to produce the greatest acute hormonal elevations (e.g. testosterone, GH and the catabolic hormone cortisol) compared with low-volume, high-intensity protocols using long rest intervals. Other anabolic hormones such as insulin and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) are critical to skeletal muscle growth. Insulin is regulated by blood glucose and amino acid levels. However, circulating IGF-1 elevations have been reported following resistance exercise presumably in response to GH-stimulated hepatic secretion. Recent evidence indicates that muscle isoforms of IGF-1 may play a substantial role in tissue remodelling via up-regulation by mechanical signalling (i.e. increased gene expression resulting from stretch and tension to the muscle cytoskeleton leading to greater protein synthesis rates). Acute elevations in catecholamines are critical to optimal force production and energy liberation during resistance exercise. More recent research has shown the importance of acute hormonal elevations and mechanical stimuli for subsequent up- and down-regulation of cytoplasmic steroid receptors needed to mediate the hormonal effects. Other factors such as nutrition, overtraining, detraining and circadian patterns of hormone secretion are critical to examining the hormonal responses and adaptations to resistance training.
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