Effects of strength training on muscle strength, cross-sectional area, maximal electromyographic activity, and serum hormones in premenopausal women with fibromyalgia.J Rheumatol. 2002 Jun; 29(6):1287-95.JR
To examine the effects of strength training on basal concentrations and acute responses of serum hormones, and their possible interrelationships with training induced muscle hypertrophy and strength gains of the knee extensor muscles in women with fibromyalgia (FM) and healthy controls.
Twenty-one premenopausal women with FM were randomized to 21 week strength training (FMT; n = 11) or control (FMC; n = 10) groups. Twelve premenopausal sedentary healthy women served as controls (HC). Surface electromyographic (EMG) activity, maximal unilateral isometric force of the right knee extensors, and muscle cross-sectional area (CSA) of the quadriceps femoris throughout the lengths of 3/12 to 12/15 of the femur (Lf) were measured. Serum concentrations of total and free testosterone and growth hormone (GH) were analyzed at rest and in pre- and post-exercise conditions, while levels of insulin-like growth factor and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate were measured at rest only.
Mean (SD) maximal force increased by 18% (10%) (p < 0.001) in the FMT group, and by 22% (12%) (p < 0.001) in the HC, while in the FMC it remained unchanged. Maximum integrated EMG of the agonists (VL + VM/2) increased in HC by 22% (p < 0.05) and in the FMT by 19% (p < 0.05). Significant increases in the CSA of the QF were observed at 5 to 12/15 Lf in FMT (p < 0.05-0.01) and at 3 to 12/15 Lf in HC (p < 0.05-0.001), while in FMC the CSA remained unchanged. No training induced changes occurred in the basal concentrations of serum hormones examined. A significant acute increase took place in the mean concentration of GH at pre-training in HC (p < 0.01) and in the FMT (p < 0.05), while at post-training the elevations after the loading (p < 0.001 and 0.05) remained elevated up to 15 min (p < 0.05) in HC and up to 30 min (p < 0.01) post-loading in the FMT.
Both the magnitude and time course of adaptations of the neuromuscular system to resistance training in women with FM were completely comparable to those taking place in healthy women. Basal levels of the anabolic hormones seem to be similar in women with FM compared to age matched healthy women. Observations recorded during the acute loading conditions might be considered an indication of the training induced adaptation of the endocrine system, showing that the acute GH response may become systematic after strength training in both women with FM and controls.