Suspension training is a novel form of exercise training. These workouts involve a variety of movements that require an individual to maintain balance while performing an assortment of resistance exercises in an interval fashion. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to determine the acute anabolic hormonal responses of a suspension training workout. METHODS: Twelve active (structured exercise training 3+ days/week) male subjects (22.0 ± 0.7 years, 176.7 ± 2.3 cm, 79.4 ± 3.0 kg, 13.6 ± 1.3% body fat) underwent a minimum of two suspension training familiarization workouts prior to testing. On the day of testing subjects had an IV catheter placed in a forearm vein before performing a one hour suspension training workout (23 exercises performed for 30 seconds followed by 60 seconds of rest). Blood samples were collected before, mid-way, immediately post, 30, 60 and 120 min post workout. Serum samples were analyzed in duplicate using ELISA kits. RESULTS: Immediately post exercise total testosterone (TT) increased 18.6% (p<0.05) vs. mid-way and 15.9% (p<0.05) vs. post-30 min. Cortisol was decreased 21.3% (p<0.05) post-60 and 25.3% (p<0.05) post-120 min from immediately post exercise as well post-120 min was decreased 23.4% (p<0.05) from Pre exercise. Testosterone:Cortisol (T:C) ratio was increased 36.5% (p<0.05) post-60 and 67.1% (p<0.05) post-120 min from immediately post exercise. CONCLUSIONS: A suspension training workout using 30 sec work intervals followed by 60 sec rest periods elicited typical TT and novel T:C ratio responses to moderate intensity resistance training in physically active males. Suspension training appears to stimulate an expected testosterone response with a lower associated stress (i.e. cortisol) response resulting in a positive anabolic profile lasting at least two hours after the workout. Workouts using 30 sec work and rest intervals, 45 or 60 sec work and 30 or 45 sec rest intervals may likely result in more robust hormonal responses. Practical Applications: The data from this study support the use of suspension training exercise as a viable alternative mode of exercise to traditional resistance training. Suspension training exercise stimulated anabolic while decreasing catabolic hormonal responses producing a net result typically associated with increased protein synthesis. Acknowledgment: This study was supported by The Citadel Foundation and Fitness Anywhere, Inc.
1Human Performance Laboratory, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC; and 2Human Performance Laboratory, The Citadel, Charleston, SC