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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 80-86

Biochemical, physiological, and anthropometric changes associated with years of training in weightlifting

1 Department of Physiotherapy and Sports Science, Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, College of Health Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana
2 Department of Molecular Medicine, School of Medicine and Dentistry, College of Health Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana

Date of Submission22-Dec-2021
Date of Decision05-Feb-2022
Date of Acceptance05-Feb-2022
Date of Web Publication03-Nov-2022

Correspondence Address:
Monday Omoniyi Moses
Department of Physiotherapy and Sports Science, Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, College of Health Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jascp.jascp_31_21

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Background: Most Ghanaian youths engage in weight training mostly for bodybuilding with littles attention to biochemical, physiological, and anthropometric changes on the long run. This study investigated the effect of duration of training (DOT) on biochemical, physiological, and anthropometric parameters of weightlifters. Materials and Methods: University setting and a cross-sectional descriptive study design were adopted. Sixty-six adult male weightlifters with a mean age of 25.98 ± 5.66 served as study sample. Modified Behavioral Regulation in Exercise Questionnaire-2 was administered. Self-reported DOT (grouped into 0–12 months, 1–5 years, and >5 years) and demographic and lifestyle information were collected. Anthropometric, physiological, lipid profile, total protein, albumin, globulin, and glomerular filtration rate (GFR) data were obtained. Results: Most of the participants greatly valued weight training (scale of 5 = 4.63 ± 0.89). Longer DOT was significantly associated with increased chest circumference (P = 0.013), arm circumference (P = 0.010), and diastolic blood pressure (P = 0.038). Statistical significance was only observed for dietary supplement intake and plasma globulin levels (P = 0.030). Association between GFR and dietary supplement intake was insignificant (P = 0.256). Conclusions: Weight training positively influences biochemical, physiological, and anthropometric indices of weightlifters. Investment in and motivational intervention in weight training would be beneficial to health lifestyle. A study with larger sample size on elite weightlifters could elicit further findings.

Keywords: Anthropometric, biochemical, duration of training, physiological, weightlifters

How to cite this article:
Deku PD, Annani-Akollor ME, Moses MO, Afranie BO, Tiguridaane IA, Koffie S, Doku AO, Akwa LG. Biochemical, physiological, and anthropometric changes associated with years of training in weightlifting. J Appl Sci Clin Pract 2022;3:80-6

How to cite this URL:
Deku PD, Annani-Akollor ME, Moses MO, Afranie BO, Tiguridaane IA, Koffie S, Doku AO, Akwa LG. Biochemical, physiological, and anthropometric changes associated with years of training in weightlifting. J Appl Sci Clin Pract [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 Mar 27];3:80-6. Available from: http://www.jascp.org/text.asp?2022/3/3/80/360446

  Introduction Top

The drive for muscularity through exercise and dietary behaviors are of growing importance to the modern young men. The growing interest could be associated with the modernization of training, competition, and availability of fitness equipment.[1] Body dissatisfaction, media pressure, and negative body image are some of the factors potentially leading to body dysmorphia, an extreme form of distorted body image.[2],[3] Increasing gym subscriptions, men-oriented magazines, and advertisements with half-naked well-built males could also be linked to the growing importance of an ideal male body image; in addition, dietary supplements are popular among weightlifters as agents for increasing muscle mass and energy, enhancing performance and rehabilitation, improving health, and preventing nutritional deficiencies.[4] However, postural imbalances are evident in most cases of weightlifting coupled with rise in mean arterial blood pressure, intra-abdominal pressure, and intrathoracic pressure.[5] There is also an evident inverse correlation between acute high intensity weight training and cardiac functioning relating to elevated blood pressure in weightlifters.[6]

The reasons for the above physiological changes could be a high rate of anaerobic energy production with increased phosphagen system, glycolysis, glycogenolysis, and resting concentrations of muscle creatine and adenosine energy pools.[7],[8] Studies have shown that weight trainers typically consume carbohydrate and dietary protein to compensate for depletion in phosphagen energy-system stores, mild acidosis, and impaired energy production from glycogenolysis, independent of gender.[9],[10],[11] It has been reported that weight loss induced by caloric restriction results in loss of both total body fat and lean body weight due to caloric deficits.[12] Furthermore, weight training in basal limb blood flow was suggested to be a mechanism underlying metabolic syndrome that might contribute to decrease in limb blood flow and subsequent incidence of cardiovascular disease in middle-aged men.[13] Serum testosterone and cortisol levels and creatine kinase response are significantly affected following extensive hours of weight training sessions.[14] It has been reported that significant change in hemoglobin levels, triglyceride and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C), serum urea, levels and high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) was also associated with long periods of weight training.[15]

The passion for bodybuilding among Ghanaian youths is on the rise without reckoning for its adverse health consequences.[16],[17] Bodybuilders in Ghana now competitively engage in regular high-intensity weight training to develop muscle bulk, balance between muscle groups, self-image, and ultimately financial gain.[18],[19] The investments in many competitive weightlifting programs like “Ghana's Strongest” would eventually lead to socioeconomic development but aggravate unforeseen national health hazards if we fail to examine the long-term health implications of participation in weight training programs.[20] Although medical and paramedical professionals are well integrated into weightlifting activities in developed countries to monitor and attend to health needs of athletes, the same story cannot be said of Ghanaian weightlifters. Bodybuilding, an integral part of the physical development among Ghanaian youths, has evolved for decades, yet anthropometric, physiological, and biochemical effects of years of involvement have not been well elucidated.[21] This study, thus, determined the effects of duration of training (DOT) on the anthropometric, physiological, and biochemical parameters of weightlifters.

  Materials and Methods Top

Study design

This study used cross-sectional descriptive research design.

Ethical consideration

Approval for the study was obtained from the Committee on Human Research Publication and Ethics (CHRPE), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (Ref: CHRPE/AP/574/17). All the participants signed consent of participation form after attaining personal understanding of the rationale behind the study.


Participants were recruited through nonprobabilistic sampling technique from fitness centers in- and around Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology campus in Kumasi, Ghana. Initially, 85 weightlifters were projected for the scientific sample size calculation using Cochran's formula.[22] The reliability of Cochran's formula has been well reported.[23],[24],[25]

Cochran's sample size formula is n0 = (t)2 × (p)(q)/(d)2, where n0 is the sample size, t is the value for the selected alpha level, a 95% (1.96) confidence level, p is the estimated population, q is 1−p, (p)(q) are the estimate of variance, and d is the acceptable margin of error for proportion (5%). Although the initial 70 participants calculated as sample size were recruited, due to lack of commitment and participation in theirweight training, the sample size reduced to 66 at the end of data collection.

The reference population within this study were recreational weightlifters with a record of continuous weight training for at least three times/week/year of training, without known physiological and/biochemical disorder, capable of affecting blood sample, usage of drugs and steroids, smoking of cigarettes, weed and other substances detrimental to health, or any reported health conditions and history of chronic ailments. Weightlifters on any medication or living with any disability or pain at the time of data collection were exempted.


The last modified Behavioral Regulation in Exercise Questionnaire version 2 (BREQ-2) by Markland and Tobin[26] was remodified for use in this study. Weight training was replaced with “exercise” wherever it appeared in the actual questionnaire. BREQ-2 scale measured external, introjected, identified, and intrinsic regulation with 19 items with Likert-type scale of 5 points, where 0 = not true for me and 4 = very true for me. The study by Markland and Tobin[26] adds another factor to these four: the amotivation factor. The major modifications made to BREQ-2 included the replacement of “exercise” with “weight training” (Behavioral Regulation in Weight Training Questionnaire [BREWTQ]).

Data on age group (≤20, 21–30, 31≤), minutes of weight training/day (30, 60, 120, 240), weight training days/week (≤4, 5, 6, 7), DOT (0–12 months, 1–5 years, >5 years), and dietary intake were obtained with BREWTQ. Using the BREWTQ questionnaire, these data were extrapolated, age group (≤20, 21–30, 31≤), minutes of weight training/day (30, 60, 120, 240), weight training days/week (≤4, 5, 6, 7), DOT (0–12 months, 1–5 years, >5 years), and dietary intake.

BREWTQ has the same 19 items as BREQ-2 with ratings on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 0 (not true for me) to 4 (very true for me). It measured amotivation (e.g., “I think weight training is a waste of time”), external (e.g., “I weight train because other people say I should”), introjected (e.g., “I feel guilty when I don't weight train”), identified (e.g., “it's important to me to weight train regularly”), and intrinsic (e.g., “I find weight training a pleasurable activity”) regulations of weight training behavior.



A standard physician's scale and a wall-mounted meter rule were used to measure the waist circumference weight and height, to the nearest 1.0 kg and 0.005 m, respectively. The subjects were required to take off their footwear and wear light clothing. Body mass index (BMI) is expressed as the individuals body weight divided by the square of his or her height in meters (kg/m2).[27] Waist circumference, girth of the arms, chest, hip, thigh, and calf were measured with measuring tape to the nearest 0.1 cm.


Blood pressure was measured using Omron i-C10 (HEM-7070-E) digital blood pressure and heart rate monitor for the blood and pressure and heart rate, respectively. The diastole and systole of each participant were recorded. Max VO2 was extrapolated using the step bench and then calculated using the Queens' college step-bench approach.[28]


Blood collection followed an overnight fast; thus, the samples were taken in the morning at the various gyms. A sterile needle was used to draw 3 ml of venous blood from the antecubital vein after an overnight fast from participants into a 5 ml gel separator tube that was used to store the blood samples from site to the laboratory for analyzing. After samples were collected, the blood in the gel separator tube was allowed to stand for 10–15 min aiding in blood clotting and then centrifuged after and spun for 5 min at 3000 rpm to separate serum from the blood cells. The serum was carefully poured out into Eppendorf tube, which was stored at −20°C. The Automated Chemistry Analyzer (Le Scientific, Horrizon 850) showed that the serum matrix contains total cholesterol,triglyceride, HDL-C, LDL-X, total protein, serum creatinine,and serum urea as the measure the levels of each analyte.

Data analysis

Data entry and analysis were conducted using the IBM Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) software version 20.0, of the IBM Software Group, 200 W. Madison St. Chicago, IL, and Microsoft Excel 2013, Berkeley, California, USA. Student's paired t-test was used in the statistical analysis of the duration of weight training. The results obtained were considered at a significant value of P < 0.05. Chi-square was used to determine the relationship between the questionnaire response and their respective prevalence (two categorical variables). Analysis of variance was used to compare the means of the duration of weight training and changes associated with anthropometric, physiological, and biochemical parameters. Correlation analysis between anthropometric, biochemical, and physiological characteristics was done using the Pearson Product Moment correlation analysis.

  Results Top

The age range of the participants was between 18 and 42 years with a mean age of 25.98 ± 5.66. Higher proportions (54.7%) of the study participants were within the age range 21–30 years. While majority (61.3%) trained for 120 min for each session, 46.7% trained for 5 days a week and 41.3% had trained for about 1–5 years [Table 1].
Table 1: Age and weight training

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[Table 2] reveals that the participants placed most value on the benefits of weight training (4.63 ± 0.89), less seen weight training as a waste of time (1.36% ± 0.94%), and get more pleasure and satisfaction from participating in weight training (4.44 ± 0.88).
Table 2: Personal sentiments and attitudes towards training

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The mean values of the anthropometric, physiological, and biochemical parameters were compared by a stratified DOT [Table 3]. There was no statistical significance between any of the measured physiological characteristics and DOT. There were significant differences in the means of chest circumference (P = 0.013) and arm circumference (P = 0.010). There was no significant difference in the biochemical indices with respect to DOT.
Table 3: Anthropometric, physiological, and biochemical parameters and duration of training

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[Table 4] shows that maximum oxygen consumption correlated positively with HDL, total cholesterol, total protein, and globulins with the relationship being strongest with cholesterol. Blood pressure correlated positively with BMI, thigh circumference, chest circumference, creatinine, and LDL having stronger association with creatinine levels. Positive correlation existed between MAP and TC, chest circumference, AC, creatinine, and HDL. HR also correlated positive with all the anthropometric and biochemical characteristics except ChC, LDL, cholesterol, urea, TP, and GLO, which showed a negative correlation.
Table 4: Correlation analysis between anthropometric, biochemical, and physiological characteristics

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[Table 5] shows that majority of participants (75.8%) have had a change in eating habits, eat 3–4 times a day (62.1%). Consumption of lot of protein diet was prominent (87.9%), while 89.4% had no special diet since workout started though 43.9% eat fruits 1–2 times weekly. 39.4% of the study participants relied on additional dietary supplements.
Table 5: Distribution of dietary intake

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The association between supplement intake, glomerular filtration rate (GFR), total protein, and globulin is shown in [Table 6]. The statistical significance was seen among supplement intake and plasma globulin levels (P = 0.030).
Table 6: Association between dietary supplement intake, glomerular filtration rate, total protein, and globulin

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  Discussion Top

This study determined the effects of DOT on anthropometric, physiological, and biochemical characteristics of weightlifters. Findings of the present study showed that participants were between 18 and 42 years with a mean age of 25.98 ± 5.66 similar to the study of Taylor and Mensah.[29] According to Taylor and Mensah,[29] study participants were in their youthful age with a mean age of 23 ± 0.90 years. It was also revealed in the duration that a large number of participants engaged in weight training mostly during the 5-week days and a majority of them also were found to have been engaging in weight training for about 1–5 years training for about 120 min in one training session in a day. This is in direct correlation with the results that were reported by the participants in the questionnaire seeking for the knowledge, attitude, and perception they had in the weightlifting sports, which was that most of the participants confirmed that they value the benefits of weight training (4.63 ± 0.89). Some of the participants disagree to the fact that weight training is a waste of time (1.36 ± 0.94). There was an indication from this study that the participants get pleasure and satisfaction from participating in weight training (4.44 ± 0.88) in [Table 2]. According to Nelson et al.,[30] exercise dependence may be directly proportional to drive for muscularity as the study revealed that on the exercise dependence scale, bodybuilding dependence scale, and the drive for muscularity scale, bodybuilders and power lifters were significantly higher than individuals lifting for fitness lifter. According to Allegre et al.,[31] exercise dependence was defined as positive addiction because it was thought to produce psychological and physiological benefits as affirmed in this study that a high level of positive sentiments with regard to questions on valuing the benefits of weight training and getting pleasure and satisfaction from weight training. This may also explain the high level of attendance during weekdays with a majority of the participants visiting the gym 5 times week and training for an average 120 min per day.

The results also revealed that there was a significant increase in arm (P = 0.010) and chest over a period of which time suggests that the body received more training adaptation compared. Studies have reported muscle-inducing benefits of resistance training over a period of time, which is increment in muscle size when engaging in resistance training programs.[32],[33],[34] There was no significant difference among the mean values of the physiological characteristics of the study participants with respect to the categorized DOT except the diastolic blood pressure in [Table 3] as previously reported.[5],[35],[36] showed that blood pressure of participants the as but i initially ncreased training blood systolic pressure the especially bloodto fall.[5],[37]

Correlation analysis between anthropometric, biochemical, and physiological characteristics determined among participants in [Table 4] showed a positive correlation between diastolic pressure and arm circumference (r = +0.331, P = 0.022) as seen in Amugsi et al.[38] [Table 6] reveals that there was no significant association between GFR and supplement in take among participants (P = 0.256). Similar result was observed in a study by Wu et al.,[39] which reported no significant evidence for a detrimental effect on high protein (supplements) intake on the GFR in healthy persons. However, both short-term (20–30 g within a few hours) and long-term (0.1 g/kg four times daily for 2 weeks) glutamine supplementation in healthy athletes were reported to have no significant associative adverse effects, but can potentiate glomerulosclerosis and serum creatinine level elevation in the setting of diabetic nephropathy.[40],[41],[42]

Globin levels of study participants had a significant association with supplement intake status of participants (P = 0.030) as established by Maynar et al.[43] when determining how weightlifting with supplement affects serum and urinary androgens. They further observed that sex hormone-binding globulin increased in the blood as androgens were reduced.[43]

  Conclusions Top

Most of the participants valued the health benefits of weight training. Although chest circumference, arm circumference, and diastolic blood pressure significantly increased with DOT, biochemical parameters do not respond to DOT as compared to anthropometric and physiological characteristics. A study with larger sample size, within few months in a year and elite weightlifters, could elicit further findings.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

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  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6]


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