The goal of this study was to examine anabolic hormone, muscle damage marker and inflammation marker responses to two types of resistance training protocols in older men. Thirty-six healthy older males (mean age = 56·6 ± 0·6 years) completed 6 weeks of high-intensity resistance training (HI-RT), low-intensity resistance training with vascular restriction (LI-BFR) or no exercise control group (CON) three times per week. Three upper body exercises were performed by both exercise groups at the same intensity (at 80% 1-RM), but lower body exercises were performed by the HI-RT group at 80% 1-RM and by the LI-BFR group at 20% 1-RM with vascular restriction. Resting serum creatine kinase (CK), interleukin 6 (IL-6), insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), IGF binding protein 3 (IGFBP-3) and testosterone (T) were measured before and after training. No significant group differences in resting CK, IL-6, IGF-I, IGFBP-3 and T were detected following training (P>0·05). In addition, there were no significant changes in muscle cross-sectional area (CSA), but a trend for significant decreases in the percent changes in thigh subcutaneous fat (P = 0·051). Although training-induced anabolic hormone response did not reach statistical significance, our findings on CK and IL-6 indicated that the LI-BFR training protocol was safe and well tolerated for older men to perform to improve muscular strength.