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Higher reps = higher cortisol

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  1. #1
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    Higher reps = higher cortisol

    Higher reps = higher cortisol
    by Anthony Roberts

    Whether you’re doing 6 reps or 12 reps, your testosterone response is fairly similar – it goes up about the same. But cortisol – a catabolic (muscle wasting) hormone – is more elevated with the higher rep scheme. What this means in practical terms is…probably nothing. To really examine whether 6 reps or 12 reps is more anabolic, we’d need to examine much more than testosterone and cortisol – we’d probably need to look at growth factors like IGF-I, Mechano Growth Factor, and likely even at things like mTOR and other variables. So this study doesn’t really tell us whether 6 reps is better than 12 for hypertrophy, but it does tell us that the t:c ratio is less favorable with that rep range, so this might have implications to people attempting to avoid cortisol specifically (perhaps those who are dieting or in a high-stress workplace). If you suspect that stress (or cortisol in general) is the limiting factor in your progress, it might be time to drop the reps down.

    Check it out:

    Acute effect of resistance training volume on hormonal responses in trained men.

    Leite RD, Prestes J, Rosa C, De Salles BF, Maior A, Miranda H, Simão R.


    Laboratory for Clinical and , Experimental Research in Vascular Biology, Physiological Sciences DepartmentState University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil –


    The purpose of this study was to investigate the acute hormonal response to resistance training sessions with different volumes in men.

    Ten recreationally trained men (24.5±7.6 years; 76.2±9.2 kg; 175.6±1.5 cm; 24.5±5.5 kg/m-2) participated in the study. All subjects completed two experimental protocols with different volumes. The first protocol consisted of 3 sets at 80% of 6 RM and the second protocol was 3 sets at 80% of 12 RM with 2 minutes rest between sets and exercises, separated by seven days between them. The exercise order used was: barbell bench press, leg press, machine front lat-pull down, leg curl, shoulder abduction and leg extension. The blood variables analyzed were: testosterone, growth hormone (GH), cortisol and testosterone/cortisol ratio (T:C) before (Pre) and immediately after (Post) each exercise session.


    The intra-groups comparison for testosterone and hGH revealed a significant increase in 80%-6RM and 80%-12RM. Cortisol levels was significantly higher in 80%-12RM and T:C ratio in 80% 6 RM when compared Pre and Post values. Inter-groups comparison showed higher hGH and cortisol levels and lower T:C ratio for 80% 12 RM. There was no statistically significant different between 80%-6RM and 80%-12RM for testosterone.


    The present study confirms that the volume of resistance training can be an important factor in the modulation of acute hormonal responses.
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  2. #2
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    GreatWhiteTruth's Avatar

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    Oct 2010
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    I have been saying this all along. I knew I was right! HA! :P

  3. #3
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    redkingrory's Avatar

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    crazy info! Good to know though

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