CSCS Study Guide Chapter 4

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    Chapter Goals

    • Reach an understanding of the concepts of endocrinology.
    • Learn what hormones are and their interaction with other hormones and issues they target.
    • Explain what anabolic hormones’ roles are.
    • Learn the hormonal responses to resistance exercises.
    • Make programs that are able to demonstrate understanding for the endocrine responses in humans.

    Theories state that is possible to manipulate the endocrine system with resistance based training in order to enhance development of some target issues, thus it will improve performance.

    • General adaptation syndrome relates to how the adrenal gland responds to noxious stimuli.

    Synthesis Storage and the Secretion of Hormones

    Hormones are the chemical messengers that we synthesize, store, and release in the blood from our endocrine glands and other specific cells.

    The main endocrine glands are: 

    • Hypothalamus, Pituitary Gland, Thyroid Gland, Parathyroid Glands, Heart, Liver, Adrenal Glands, Pancreas, Kidneys, Testes in males, and Ovaries in females

    Muscles targeted for Interaction with Hormones

    Hormones are part of the signaling system in the body that manages the metabolic and the cellular processes of muscles that results from resistance exercise and training.

    Hormones are part of the protein synthesis and degradation that’s a part of muscle adaptations to resistance training.

    Anabolic hormones are the hormones such as insulin, testosterone, and growth hormone. These hormones are used to promote tissue building.

    Catabolic hormones are hormones such as cortisol and progesterone. They are used to degrade cell proteins.

    Role of Receptors in Mediating Hormonal Changes

    Hormone signals are relayed to cells that only have the receptors for that hormone specifically.

    Categories of Hormones

    We have 3 main hormone categories: Steroids, Polypeptides, and Amines

    Steroid Hormone Interactions

    Steroids diffuse passively through the sarcolemma of muscle fibers.

    It forms a hormone – receptor complex when binding with the receptor.

    Polypeptide Hormone Interactions

    These are made up of chains of amino acids. These are hormones like insulin and growth hormone.

    These are not soluble in fat and they are unable to cross cell membranes.

    Amine Hormone Interactions

    These hormones are synthesized from tyrosine or tryptophan.

    Mechanisms of Hormonal Interactions

    Receptor interactions are greater when exercise acutely increases blood concentrations of the hormones.

    Receptors are less sensitive when: The Physiological affected function is closer to a genetic max. Resting hormone levels are elevated chronically because of diseases or exogenous drug use. Mistakes in the prescription of exercises are made.

    Hormonal Change in Peripheral Blood

    The mechanisms that contribute to changing the peripheral blood concentrations of hormones:

    • Shift in fluid volumes
    • Rate of tissue clearance changes
    • The degradation of hormones.
    • The pooling of venous blood
    • Hormone interaction with binding proteins

    Adaptations to the Endocrine System

    Potential adaptations occurring with resistance exercise:

    • The levels of hormones synthesized and stored
    • Transportation of the binding proteins and hormones
    • How much time is required for hormones to clear the liver and other tissues
    • The level of degradation to hormones over time
    • The amount of blood to tissue fluid that shifts with stress from exercise
    • The number of receptors found in tissues

    Primary Anabolic Hormones

    Three main hormones are involved in growing and remodeling tissue: Testosterone, Growth Hormone, And Insulin-like Growth factors.


    This is known as the primary androgen hormone interacting with skeletal muscles.

    It is responsible for Growth Hormone responses leading to the synthesis of new proteins and increased strength gains and size. This also leads to increased force production and also muscle mass.

    Exercising with large muscle groups will result in an acute increase in serum total of testosterone concentrations for men.

    Free testosterone and Sex Hormone Binding Globulin

    Higher bound testosterone gives potential for higher levels of free testosterone.

    Only free hormones are able to interact with the target tissues.

    Testosterone responses in women

    Women have between 15 and 20 times less testosterone than men. The acute increases following workouts are small.

    Growth Hormone

    This hormone is secreted in the pituitary gland. 

    Growth hormone interacts with target tissues directly. It interacts with things like bone, fat cells, skeletal muscle, immune cells, and liver tissue.

    GH is regulated with neuroendocrine feedback.

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    GH release changes all of the time.

    The use of Pharmacological GH is not known and has results that are unpredictable.

    GH responses to stress

    • GH responds to stress from exercise.
    • The response depends on the load, rest, and volume.
    • The release of GH is affected by resistance training protocol types. Short rest results typically in greater GH concentrations.

    GH Responses in Women

    • The concentrations and responses to GH vary with the phases of the menstrual cycle.
    • Women have higher levels of GH in their blood.

    Insulin-Like Growth Factors

    Exercise responses

    • These are most studied due to their role with protein anabolism.
    • Exercise acutely increases blood levels of these.

    The Adrenal Hormones


    The role of cortisol: It converts the amino acids into carbs and increases enzyme levels for the enzymes that are used to break down proteins. It also inhibits synthesis of proteins.

    Resistance exercise Responses

    • Cortisol increases during exercise
    • Training reduces negative effects associated with cortisol
    • Many differences in terms of acute and chronic responses to cortisol
    • High volume, large muscle group, short rest period = larger serum cortisol


    The main one is epinephrine, but we also have norepinephrine and dopamine.

    Their roles

    • Used to increase the production of force through central mechanisms and also increase activity of the metabolic enzymes.
    • Muscle contraction time is increased.
    • Blood pressure increases.
    • The availability of energy increases.
    • Blood flow is known to increase.
    • Hormonal secretion rates are augmented.

    Training adaptations

    • During max exercise, heavy resistance has increased athlete’s ability for secreting larger amounts of epinephrine.

    Manipulating the Endocrine System with Resistance Training

    Increasing Testosterone

    • 2+ years of resistance training
    • Heavier resistance in the range of 85-95% max
    • Shorter rest intervals
    • Higher volume of exercise 
    • Larger muscle groups utilized

    Increasing GH

    • High intensity like 10 reps or heavy resistance
    • 1 minute or less rest periods
    • Diet supplementation of carbs and proteins both after and before your workouts
    • 3 sets of every exercise

    Optimizing Adrenal Hormone Responses

    • Higher volumes
    • Shorter rest periods
    • Larger muscle groups
    • A variety of these factors changing often

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    CSCS Chapter 4: Endocrine Responses to Resistance Exercise 1
    CSCS Chapter 4: Endocrine Responses to Resistance Exercise 2
    CSCS Chapter 4: Endocrine Responses to Resistance Exercise 3

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