Suspension training is a relatively new mode of exercise that uses the exercisers own body weight as resistance. Suspension training employs an assortment of upper and lower body exercises which all require the individual to maintain balance while performing the various exercises. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to determine the growth hormone axis responses to a single suspension training workout. METHODS: Twelve recreationally active (structured exercise at least 3 days/week) males (22.0 ± 0.7 years, 176.7 ± 2.3 cm, 79.4 ± 3.0 kg, 13.6 ± 1.3% body fat) completed two suspension training familiarization workouts prior to testing. For sample collection an IV catheter was placed in a forearm vein prior to a 60 minute suspension training interval workout that consisted of 23 exercises performed for 30 seconds each followed by 60 seconds of rest. Blood samples were collected pre, mid, post, 30 min, 60 min and 120 min post workout. Serum samples were analyzed in duplicate using commercially available ELISA kits. RESULTS: There was a 4.5-fold increase (p = 0.008) in growth hormone (GH) from pre to mid, a 6-fold increase in GH from pre to post (p = 0.006) and a trend for an increase in GH (p = 0.07) from pre to post 30. There was a trend for an increase in insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I (p = 0.06) from pre to post 30 and a trend for an increase in IGFBP-3 (p = 0.07) from pre to mid. CONCLUSIONS: These data indicate that a suspension training workout using the recommended 30 sec:60 sec work:rest ratio is sufficient to stimulate the GH axis in recreationally active young adult males. Practical Applications: This evidence supports the use of suspension training as a stimulus for anabolic hormone release, suggesting this is a viable alternative to traditional resistance training for stimulating the anabolic hormones that support recovery and muscle growth. Acknowledgments: This work was funded by The Citadel Foundation and Fitness Anywhere, Inc.
1Human Performance Laboratory, The Citadel, Charleston, SC; and 2Human Performance Laboratory, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC