Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Health and Human Performance


Exercise Science (MS)

First Advisor/Chairperson

Scott Drum


The traditional Finnish steam sauna is theorized to aid skeletal muscle hypertrophy by stimulating Heat Shock Protein 70 (HSP70), which acts as a molecular chaperone to the folding of functional skeletal muscle. The aim of this study was to investigate if stimulating HSP70 by using a sauna (45 – 50 ͦC, 80% Humidity) three times per week, for 15 minutes, could aid skeletal muscle hypertrophy during six weeks of resistance training in a young (21.38 ± 1.9 yrs.), recreationally trained male population. Thirteen subjects were randomly distributed into 3 groups [resistance Training + sauna (RT+S, n=5), RT + Relaxation (RT+R, n=5), and complete control (CON, n=3) or no training]. Primary dependent variables, observed in a pre- and post-test format, included: lean body mass (LBM), HSP70 concentration, and a 5 repetition maximum (5RM) back squat.

When comparing groups (i.e., RT+S, RT+R, and CON), no significant main effects or interactions were observed (p > 0.05) over the 6-week intervention period for LBM, HSP70, and 5RM. The hypothesis that HSP70 would be upregulated to a greater extent with concurrently larger LBM and 5RM improvements in RT+S vs. the other groups was not supported. Interestingly, although HSP70 and LBM were highest in RT+S after 6-weeks of heavy resistance training, RT+R improved the most on 5RM. Sauna use in combination with resistance training does not appear to augment muscle hypertrophy or strength.

Access Type

Open Access