Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Health and Human Performance


Exercise Science

First Advisor/Chairperson

Scott Drum

Second Advisor

Mike Stoolmiller

Third Advisor

Maggy Moore

Fourth Advisor

Elizabeth Wuorinen


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.