Previous studies have investigated the effects of different resistance training load schemes on immune cell migration, but the prescription design neglected training volume and inter-set rest, which led to inconsistent findings. Therefore, the relationship between resistance exercise prescribing variables and the immune response needs further investigation. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of an acute resistance exercise of varying load with equal training volume and inter-rest time on the immune response.
Healthy young men (n = 11; age 23.0 ± 0.7 years, body mass index 21.5 ± 0.7 kg/m2) with no resistance exercise habits were recruited to perform three trials, including moderate-load RE (MOD; 4 sets of 8 repetitions at 85% 8RM), low-load RE (LOW; 4 sets of 15 repetitions at 45% 8RM) and control (CON; no exercise), in a randomized, crossover design. Blood was collected pre-exercise, 0, 30, and 60 min post-exercise for analysis of cortisol and immune cell counts. The data obtained were analyzed using a linear mixed model.
Total white blood cell counts and lymphocyte counts were significantly higher in MOD and LOW than in CON at immediately post-exercise (p <0.05), with no significant difference between the MOD and LOW (p >0.05). Cortisol were significantly higher in MOD than in CON at 30 and 60 min post-exercise (p <0.05), with no significant difference between the MOD and LOW (p >0.05).
Both moderate- and low-load RE induced a transient state of immune cell migration; such changes returned to basal level within 30 min after exercising. Acute stress response elicited by moderate-load RE has lasted longer, as evidenced by cortisol levels.