Exercise is a potent stimulus for release of growth hormone (GH), cortisol, testosterone and prolactin, and prolonged exercise inhibits insulin secretion. These responses seem to be specific to the type of exercise but this has been poorly characterised primarily because they have not been compared during exercise performed by the same individuals. We investigated hormone responses to resistance, sprint and endurance exercise in young men using a repeated measures design in which each subject served as their own control. Eight healthy non-obese young adults (18-25 years) were studied on four occasions in random order: 30-s cycle ergometer sprint (Sprint), 30-min resistance exercise bout (Resistance), 30-min cycle at 70 % VO 2max (Endurance), and seated rest in the laboratory (Rest). Cortisol, GH, testosterone, prolactin, insulin and glucose concentrations were measured for 60 min after the four different interventions. Endurance and sprint exercise significantly increased GH, cortisol, prolactin and testosterone. Sprint exercise also increased insulin concentrations, whereas this decreased in response to endurance exercise. Resistance exercise significantly increased only testosterone and glucose. Sprint exercise elicited the largest response per unit of work, but the smallest response relative to mean work rate in all hormones. In conclusion, the nature and magnitude of the hormone response were influenced by exercise type, perhaps reflecting the roles of these hormones in regulating metabolism during and after resistance, sprint and endurance exercise.
Stokes, K. A., Gilbert, K. L., Hall, G. M., Andrews, R. C., & Thompson, D. (2013). Different responses of selected hormones to three types of exercise in young men. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 113(3), 775-783. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-012-2487-5