This study compared serum total testosterone (TT) and free testosterone (FT) responses of young (20-26 years, n = 8), middle-aged (38-53 years, n = 7), and older (59-72 years, n = 9) men to resistance exercise. We also examined the relationships between testosterone (T) levels and strength, bone mineral density (BMD), and body composition variables for each age group. Subjects were tested for isotonic muscular strength (1 repetition maximum [1RM]), BMD (dualenergy x-ray absorptiometry [DXA]) and body composition (DXA). Each group performed an acute exercise protocol (3 sets, 10 repetitions, 80% of 1RM, 6 exercises). Blood samples were obtained at baseline, immediately postexercise, and 15 minutes postexercise for the TT and FT assays. The older age group had significantly (p < 0.05) lower T levels than the young group, but each group exhibited an increase (p < 0.05) in TT and FT immediately postexercise. Total T and FT were significantly correlated (p < 0.05) with strength in middle-aged and older men and with bone-free lean tissue mass in older men. In conclusion, middle-aged and older men showed similar relative T responses to those of younger men to a single bout of high-intensity resistance exercise. However, T levels were related to strength and muscle mass only in middle-aged or older men. On a practical application level, older men can complete a high-intensity resistance exercise program resulting in spikes in T that may attenuate age-related muscle and BMD loss.
(C) 2006 National Strength and Conditioning Association