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Essentials of
Strength Training
and Conditioning

Fourth Edition

Human Kinetics

G. Gregory Haff, PhD, CSCS,*D, FNSCA
Edith Cowan University, Western Australia

N. Travis Triplett, PhD, CSCS,*D, FNSCA
Appalachian State University, Boone, NC


Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Essentials of strength training and conditioning / National Strength and Conditioning Association ; G. Gregory Haff, N.
Travis Triplett, editors. — Fourth edition.

p. ; cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
I. Haff, Greg, editor. II. Triplett, N. Travis, 1964- , editor. III. National Strength & Conditioning Association (U.S.),

issuing body.
[DNLM: 1. Physical Education and Training–methods. 2. Athletic Performance–physiology. 3. Physical Conditioning,

Human–physiology. 4. Physical Fitness–physiology. 5. Resistance Training–methods. QT 255]


ISBN: 978-1-4925-0162-6

Copyright © 2016, 2008, 2000, 1994 by the National Strength and Conditioning Association

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of Strength Training and Conditioning, Fourth Edition: pp. 636, 637-639, 645. The reproduction of other parts of this book
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Preface vii
Accessing the Lab Activities xi
Acknowledgments xiii
Credits xv

CHAPTER 1 Structure and Function of Body Systems 1
N. Travis Triplett, PhD

Musculoskeletal System 2 • Neuromuscular System 8 • Cardiovascular
System 12 • Respiratory System 15 • Conclusion 17 • Learning Aids 17

CHAPTER 2 Biomechanics of Resistance Exercise 19
Jeffrey M. McBride, PhD

Skeletal Musculature 20 • Anatomical Planes and Major Body
Movements 25 • Human Strength and Power 25 • Sources of Resistance
to Muscle Contraction 33 • Joint Biomechanics: Concerns in Resistance
Training 37 • Conclusion 40 • Learning Aids 41

CHAPTER 3 Bioenergetics of Exercise and Training 43
Trent J. Herda, PhD, and Joel T. Cramer, PhD

Essential Terminology 44 • Biological Energy Systems 44 • Substrate
Depletion and Repletion 55 • Bioenergetic Limiting Factors in Exercise
Performance 56 • Oxygen Uptake and the Aerobic and Anaerobic Contributions to
Exercise 57 • Metabolic Specificity of Training 59 • Conclusion 61 •
Learning Aids 62

CHAPTER 4 Endocrine Responses to Resistance Exercise 65
William J. Kraemer, PhD, Jakob L. Vingren, PhD, and Barry A. Spiering, PhD

Synthesis, Storage, and Secretion of Hormones 66 • Muscle as the Target
for Hormone Interactions 69 • Role of Receptors in Mediating Hormonal
Changes 69 • Categories of Hormones 70 • Heavy Resistance Exercise
and Hormonal Increases 72 • Mechanisms of Hormonal Interactions 72 •
Hormonal Changes in Peripheral Blood 73 • Adaptations in the Endocrine
System 73 • Primary Anabolic Hormones 74 • Adrenal Hormones 82 •
Other Hormonal Considerations 84 • Conclusion 85 • Learning Aids 86


ChaptEr 5 Adaptations to Anaerobic Training Programs 87
Duncan French, PhD

Neural Adaptations 88 • Muscular Adaptations 93 • Connective Tissue
Adaptations 97 • Endocrine Responses and Adaptations to Anaerobic
Training 102 • Cardiovascular and Respiratory Responses to Anaerobic
Exercise 103 • Compatibility of Aerobic and Anaerobic Modes of
Training 105 • Overtraining 107 • Detraining 110 • Conclusion 111 •
Learning Aids 112

ChaptEr 6 Adaptations to Aerobic Endurance Training Programs 115
Ann Swank, PhD, and Carwyn Sharp, PhD

Acute Responses to Aerobic Exercise 116 • Chronic Adaptations to Aerobic
Exercise 120 • Adaptations to Aerobic Endurance Training 124 • External
and Individual Factors Influencing Adaptations to Aerobic Endurance
Training 124 • Overtraining: Definition, Prevalence, Diagnosis, and Potential
Markers 129 • Conclusion 132 • Learning Aids 133

ChaptEr 7 Age- and Sex-related Differences
and Their implications for resistance Exercise 135
Rhodri S. Lloyd, PhD, and Avery D. Faigenbaum, EdD

Children 136 • Female Athletes 144 • Older Adults 148 • Conclusion 153 •
Learning Aids 154

ChaptEr 8 Psychology of Athletic Preparation and Performance 155
traci A. Statler, PhD, and Andrea M. DuBois, MS

Role of Sport Psychology 156 • Ideal Performance State 156 • Energy
Management: Arousal, Anxiety, and Stress 157 • Influence of Arousal and
Anxiety on Performance 158 • Motivation 161 • Attention and Focus 163 •
Psychological Techniques for Improved Performance 164 • Enhancing Motor Skill
Acquisition and Learning 169 • Conclusion 172 • Learning Aids 173

ChaptEr 9 Basic Nutrition Factors in Health 175
Marie Spano, MS, RD

Role of Sports Nutrition Professionals 176 • Standard Nutrition
Guidelines 178 • Macronutrients 181 • Vitamins 190 • Minerals 193 •
Fluid and Electrolytes 196 • Conclusion 199 • Learning Aids 200

ChaptEr 10 Nutrition Strategies for Maximizing Performance 201
Marie Spano, MS, RD

Precompetition, During-Event, and Postcompetition Nutrition 202 •
Nutrition Strategies for Altering Body Composition 216 • Feeding and Eating
Disorders 221 • Conclusion 224 • Learning Aids 224

ChaptEr 11 Performance-Enhancing Substances and Methods 225
Bill Campbell, PhD

Types of Performance-Enhancing Substances 226 • Hormones 228 •
Dietary Supplements 237 • Conclusion 247 • Learning Aids 248

Contents v

ChaptEr 12 Principles of Test Selection and Administration 249
Michael McGuigan, PhD

Reasons for Testing 250 • Testing Terminology 250 • Evaluation of
Test Quality 250 • Test Selection 253 • Test Administration 254 •
Conclusion 257 • Learning Aids 258

ChaptEr 13 Administration, Scoring, and interpretation of Selected Tests 259
Michael McGuigan, PhD

Measuring Parameters of Athletic Performance 260 • Selected Test
Protocols and Scoring Data 264 • Statistical Evaluation of Test Data 291 •
Conclusion 293 • Learning Aids 294

ChaptEr 14 Warm-Up and Flexibility Training 317
Ian Jeffreys, PhD

Warm-Up 318 • Flexibility 320 • Types of Stretching 323 •
Conclusion 328 • Static Stretching Techniques 329 • Dynamic Stretching
Techniques 341 • Learning Aids 350

ChaptEr 15 Exercise Technique for Free Weight and Machine Training 351
Scott Caulfield, BS, and Douglas Berninger, MEd

Fundamentals of Exercise Technique 352 • Spotting Free Weight
Exercises 354 • Conclusion 357 • Resistance Training Exercises 358 •
Learning Aids 408

ChaptEr 16 Exercise Technique for Alternative Modes
and Nontraditional implement Training 409
G. Gregory Haff, PhD, Douglas Berninger, MEd, and Scott Caulfield, BS

General Guidelines 410 • Bodyweight Training Methods 410 •
Core Stability and Balance Training Methods 411 • Variable-Resistance Training
Methods 413 • Nontraditional Implement Training Methods 417 •
Unilateral Training 421 • Conclusion 421 • Modes and Nontraditional
Exercises 422 • Learning Aids 438

ChaptEr 17 Program Design for resistance Training 439
Jeremy M. Sheppard, PhD, and N. travis triplett, PhD

Principles of Anaerobic Exercise Prescription 440 • Step 1: Needs
Analysis 441 • Step 2: Exercise Selection 443 • Step 3: Training
Frequency 447 • Step 4: Exercise Order 448 • Step 5: Training
Load and Repetitions 451 • Step 6: Volume 462 • Step 7: Rest
Periods 465 • Conclusion 467 • Learning Aids 469

ChaptEr 18 Program Design and Technique for Plyometric Training 471
David H. Potach, Pt, and Donald A. Chu, PhD, Pt

Plyometric Mechanics and Physiology 472 • Program Design 475 •
Age Considerations 478 • Plyometrics and Other Forms of Exercise 480 •
Safety Considerations 481 • Conclusion 482 • Plyometric Drills 483 •
Learning Aids 520


ChaptEr 19 Program Design and Technique for Speed and Agility Training 521
Brad H. DeWeese, EdD, and Sophia Nimphius, PhD

Speed and Agility Mechanics 522 • Neurophysiological Basis for
Speed 525 • Running Speed 527 • Agility Performance and Change-of-Direction
Ability 533 • Methods of Developing Speed 536 • Methods of Developing
Agility 538 • Program Design 539 • Speed Development Strategies 541 •
Agility Development Strategies 545 • Conclusion 547 • Speed and Agility
Drills 548 • Learning Aids 557

ChaptEr 20 Program Design and Technique for Aerobic Endurance Training 559
Benjamin H. Reuter, PhD, and J. Jay Dawes, PhD

Factors Related to Aerobic Endurance Performance 560 • Designing an Aerobic
Endurance Program 561 • Types of Aerobic Endurance Training Programs 567 •
Application of Program Design to Training Seasons 570 • Special Issues
Related to Aerobic Endurance Training 571 • Conclusion 573 • Aerobic
Endurance Training Exercises 574 • Learning Aids 581

ChaptEr 21 Periodization 583
G. Gregory Haff, PhD

Central Concepts Related to Periodization 584 • Periodization Hierarchy 587 •
Periodization Periods 588 • Applying Sport Seasons to the Periodization
Periods 592 • Undulating Versus Linear Periodization Models 593 • Example of
an Annual Training Plan 593 • Conclusion 595 • Learning Aids 604

ChaptEr 22 rehabilitation and reconditioning 605
David H. Potach, Pt, and terry L. Grindstaff, PhD, Pt, AtC

Sports Medicine Team 606 • Types of Injury 608 • Tissue Healing 610 • Goals
of Rehabilitation and Reconditioning 611 • Program Design 616 • Reducing Risk
of Injury and Reinjury 618 • Conclusion 620 • Learning Aids 621

ChaptEr 23 Facility Design, Layout, and organization 623
Andrea Hudy, MA

General Aspects of New Facility Design 624 • Existing Strength and Conditioning
Facilities 625 • Assessing Athletic Program Needs 625 • Designing the
Strength and Conditioning Facility 627 • Arranging Equipment in the Strength
and Conditioning Facility 628 • Maintaining and Cleaning Surfaces and
Equipment 630 • Conclusion 631 • Learning Aids 633

ChaptEr 24 Facility Policies, Procedures, and Legal issues 641
traci Statler, PhD, and Victor Brown, MS

Mission Statement and Program Goals 642 • Program Objectives 642 •
Strength and Conditioning Performance Team 643 • Legal and
Ethical Issues 647 • Staff Policies and Activities 651 • Facility
Administration 653 • Emergency Planning and Response 653 •
Conclusion 655 • Learning Aids 656

Answers to Study Questions 657
References 659
Index 721
About the Editors 731
Contributors 733
Contributors to Previous Editions 735



In 1994, the first edition of Essentials of Strength Train-
ing and Conditioning was published. After a second
edition (in 2000) and sales of over 100,000 books, an
expanded and updated third edition was published in
2008. This newest edition continues the tradition as the
most comprehensive reference available for strength
and conditioning professionals. In this text, 30 expert
contributors further explore the scientific principles,
concepts, and theories of strength training and condi-
tioning and their applications to athletic performance.

The first edition grew out of an awareness that there
was not a book about strength training and condition-
ing that captured the views of leading professionals in
anatomy, biochemistry, biomechanics, endocrinology,
nutrition, exercise physiology, psychology, and the
other sciences and that related the principles from these
disciplines to the design of safe and effective training
programs. Also, the lack of relevant and well-conducted
research studies had hindered earlier efforts to create an
all-inclusive resource. Once it was finally developed,
Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning quickly
became the definitive textbook on the subject.

The second edition, released six years later, was
more than a simple freshening of the content; it was an
overhaul of the scope and application of the first edi-
tion. Throughout the text and in the additional 100-plus
pages, the chapter contributors used updated, relevant,
and conclusive research and concepts to turn scientific
information into information on performance. Many
learning tools were added, such as chapter objectives,
key points, application boxes, and sample resistance
training programs for three different sports. These
enhancements, plus the addition of a full-color interior
and hundreds of color photographs, made the second
edition truly exceptional.

The third edition, released eight years after the second
edition, offered restructured chapters and expansions
of other chapters complete with new photographs and
updated terminology. In addition, the artwork was mod-
ernized and instructor and student resources were created
to help keep this text the primary resource for the study
and instruction of strength and conditioning.

Updates to the Fourth Edition
This fourth edition expands on the earlier editions and
applies the most current research and information in
a logical format that reaffirms Essentials of Strength
Training and Conditioning as the most prominent
resource for students preparing for careers in strength
and conditioning and for sport science professionals
involved in training athletes. The primary enhancements
are as follows:

• Online videos featuring 21 resistance training
exercises demonstrate proper exercise form for
classroom and practical use.

• Updated research—specifically in the areas of
high-intensity interval training, overtraining,
agility and change of direction, nutrition for
health and performance, and periodization—helps
readers better understand these popular trends in
the industry.

• A new chapter with instructions and photos pres-
ents techniques for exercises using alternative
modes and nontraditional implements.

• Ten additional tests, including tests for maximum
strength, power, and aerobic capacity, along with
new flexibility exercises, resistance training exer-
cises, plyometric exercises, and speed and agility
drills, help professionals design programs that
reflect current guidelines.

These enhancements, plus an expanded ancillary
package for instructors including a new, robust collec-
tion of more than 60 instructor videos demonstrating
resistance training, plyometric exercises, and alter-
native mode exercises, brings practical content to the
classroom. Working along with the instructor guide and
presentation package, a test package has been added to
assist instructors in evaluating students’ understanding
of key concepts.

Each chapter begins with objectives and includes key
points to guide the reader along the way. Key terms are
boldfaced and listed at the end of the chapter. Chapters


include sidebars that apply the content, and later chap-
ters include sample resistance training programs for
three different sports. Detailed instructions and photos
are provided for testing, stretching, resistance training,
alternative modes, plyometrics, agility training, and
aerobic endurance exercise. Finally, chapters end with
multiple-choice study questions, with an answer key at
the end of the book.

instructor resources
In addition to the updated content, this edition includes
newly created instructor resources:

• Instructor Video. The instructor video includes
video of correct technique for 61 resistance
training, alternative, and plyometric exercises.
These can be used for demonstration, lecture,
and discussion.

• Instructor Guide. The instructor guide contains a
course description, a sample semester schedule,
chapter objectives, chapter outlines, key terms
with definitions, and application questions with

• Presentation Package and Image Bank. This
comprehensive resource, delivered in Microsoft
PowerPoint, offers instructors a presentation
package containing over 1,300 slides to help aug-
ment lectures and class discussions. In addition
to outlines and key points, the resource contains
more than 600 figures, tables, and photos from the
textbook, which can be used as an image bank by
instructors who need to customize their presen-
tations. Easy-to-follow instructions help guide
instructors on how to reuse the images within
their own PowerPoint templates.

• Test Package. The test package includes a bank
of 240 multiple-choice questions, from which
instructors can make their own tests and quizzes.
Instructors can download Respondus or RTF files
or files formatted for use in a learning manage-
ment system.

These instructor resources can be found at www.Human

Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning8

double helix. The myosin crossbridge now attaches much
more rapidly to the actin filament, allowing force to be
produced as the actin filaments are pulled toward the
center of the sarcomere (1). It is important to understand
that the amount of force produced by a muscle at any
instant in time is directly related to the number of myosin
crossbridges bound to actin filaments cross-sectionally
at that instant in time (1).

▶ The number of crossbridges that are formed
between actin and myosin at any instant
in time dictates the force production of a

Contraction Phase The energy for pulling action,
or power stroke, comes from hydrolysis (breakdown)
of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to adenosine diphos-
phate (ADP) and phosphate, a reaction catalyzed by the
enzyme myosin adenosine triphosphatase (ATPase).
Another molecule of ATP must replace the ADP on the
myosin crossbridge globular head in order for the head to
detach from the active actin site and return to its original
position. This allows the contraction process to continue
(if calcium is available to bind to troponin) or relaxation
to occur (if calcium is not available). It may be noted
that calcium plays a role in regulating a large number
of events in skeletal muscle besides contraction. These
include glycolytic and oxidative energy metabolism, as
well as protein synthesis and degradation (10).

▶ Calcium and ATP are necessary for cross-
bridge cycling with actin and myosin fila-

Recharge Phase Measurable muscle shortening
transpires only when this sequence of events—binding
of calcium to troponin, coupling of the myosin cross-
bridge with actin, power stroke, dissociation of actin and

myosin, and resetting of the myosin head position—is
repeated over and over again throughout the muscle
fiber. This occurs as long as calcium is available in the
myofibril, ATP is available to assist in uncoupling the
myosin from the actin, and sufficient active myosin
ATPase is available for catalyzing the breakdown of ATP.

Relaxation Phase Relaxation occurs when the stim-
ulation of the motor nerve stops. Calcium is pumped
back into the sarcoplasmic reticulum, which prevents the
link between the actin and myosin filaments. Relaxation
is brought about by the return of the actin and myosin
filaments to their unbound state.

Neuromuscular System
Muscle fibers are innervated by motor neurons that trans-
mit impulses in the form of electrochemical signals from
the spinal cord to muscle. A motor neuron generally has
numerous terminal branches at the end of its axon and
thus innervates many different muscle fibers. The whole
structure is what determines the muscle fiber type and its
characteristics, function, and involvement in exercise.

Activation of Muscles
When a motor neuron fires an impulse or action poten-
tial, all of the fibers that it serves are simultaneously
activated and develop force. The extent of control of a
muscle depends on the number of muscle fibers within
each motor unit. Muscles that must function with great
precision, such as eye muscles, may have motor units
with as few as one muscle fiber per motor neuron.
Changes in the number of active motor units in these
small muscles can produce the extremely fine gradations
in force that are necessary for precise movements of the
eyeball. In contrast, the quadriceps muscle group, which
moves the leg with much less precision, may have sev-
eral hundred fibers served by one motor neuron.

Steps of Muscle Contraction
The steps of muscle contraction can be summarized as follows:

1. Initiation of ATP splitting (by myosin ATPase) causes myosin head to be in an “energized” state that
allows it to move into a position to be able to form a bond with actin.

2. The release of phosphate from the ATP splitting process then causes the myosin head to change
shape and shift.

3. This pulls the actin filament in toward the center of the sarcomere and is referred to as the power
stroke; ADP is then released.

4. Once the power stroke has occurred, the myosin head detaches from the actin but only after another
ATP binds to the myosin head because the binding process facilitates detachment.

5. The myosin head is now ready to bind to another actin (as described in step 1), and the cycle contin-
ues as long as ATP and ATPase are present and calcium is bound to the troponin.


15.15 FLAT DUMBBELL FLY (and Incline Variation)


This exercise can also be performed on an incline
bench. If using the incline variation, begin by position-
ing the dumbbells over the head and face instead of
over the chest.
Starting Position: Athlete

• Grasp two dumbbells using a closed, neutral grip.• Lie in a supine position on a bench in the five-
point body contact position.• Signal the spotter for assistance in moving the
dumbbells into the starting position.• Press the dumbbells in unison to an extended-el-
bow position above the chest.• Slightly flex the elbows and point them out to
the sides.

• All repetitions begin from this position.Starting Position: Spotter• Position one knee on the floor with the foot of
the other leg forward and flat on the floor (or
kneel on both knees).• Grasp the athlete’s forearms near the wrists.• At the athlete’s signal, assist with moving the

dumbbells to a position over the athlete’s chest.• Release the athlete’s forearms smoothly.Downward Movement Phase: Athlete• Lower the dumbbells in a wide arc until they are
level with the shoulders or chest.

• Keep the dumbbell handles parallel to each other
as the elbows move downward.• Keep the wrists stiff and the elbows held in a
slightly flexed position.• Keep the hands, wrists, forearms, elbows, upper
arms, and shoulders in the same vertical plane.• Maintain the five-point body contact position.Downward Movement Phase: Spotter• Keep the hands near—but not touching—the

athlete’s forearms near the wrists as the dumb-
bells descend.

Upward Movement Phase: Athlete• Raise the dumbbells up toward each other in a
wide arc back to the starting position.• Keep the wrists stiff and the elbows held in a
slightly flexed position.• Keep the hands, wrists, forearms, elbows, upper
arms, and shoulders in the same vertical plane.• Maintain the five-point body contact position.Upward Movement Phase: Spotter• Keep the hands near—but not touching—the

athlete’s forearms near the wrists as the dumb-
bells ascend.

Starting positions

Downward and upward movements

MAJOR MUSCLES INVOLVEDpectoralis major, anterior deltoids


Key points

Exercise photos

Video available online

Preface ix

Student and Professional

The web resource with online video includes video of 21
resistance training exercises for use in understanding and
performing correct exercise technique. Lab activities are
provided to give students hands-on practice with testing
and evaluation. The fillable forms make completing and
submitting lab assignments easy.

The web resource can be found at www.HumanKinetics

Certification Exams
Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning is
the primary resource for individuals preparing for
the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS)
certification exam.

As a worldwide authority on strength and condition-
ing, the National Strength and Conditioning Association

Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning86

body and helping with the adaptive response to heavy
resistance training. Whether trying to optimize a work-
out or avoid overtraining, the strength and conditioning
professional must remember that the endocrine system

plays an important role. The goal of this chapter has been
to provide an initial glimpse into this complex but also
highly organized system that helps to mediate changes
in the body with resistance exercise training.


allosteric binding site
anabolic hormone
catabolic hormone
diurnal variation
endocrine gland

General Adaptation Syndrome
hormone–receptor complex (H-RC)
lock-and-key theory
neuroendocrine immunology

polypeptide hormone
proteolytic enzyme
secondary messenger
steroid hormone
target tissue cell
thyroid hormone


1. After a bout of resistance training, acute hormonal secretions provide all of the following information to the

a. amount of physiological stress
b. metabolic demands of exercise
c. type of physiological stress
d. energy expended

2. Which of the following hormones enhance(s) muscle tissue growth?
I. growth hormone

II. cortisol
IV. progesterone
a. I and III only
b. II and IV only
c. I, II, and III only
d. II, III, and IV only

3. Which of the following is NOT a function of growth hormone?
a. increase lipolysis
b. decrease collagen synthesis
c. increase amino acid transport
d. decrease glucose utilization

4. Which of the following hormones has the greatest influence on neural changes?
a. growth hormone
b. testosterone
c. cortisol
d. IGF

5. What type of resistance training workout …

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