Alter Your Training to Boost Hormone Production and Gains
Are you looking to get more out of your workout? What about increasing your strength, power, speed, and overall muscular development?
Exercise is the key to progress, however hormones play the critical role in allowing that progress to happen. Simply put, hormones are chemical messengers produced and released by our endocrine glands. They have a myriad of responsibilities in the body, but this article will mostly focus on their role in building muscle and strength.
Structuring your workouts accordingly has the ability to naturally optimize hormone production, getting the results you seek for so long! Just continue reading and find out how!
The Important Hormones
All hormones have an important role in the body, however some are more imperative for our fitness progress.
There are two main categories, catabolic and anabolic hormones. Catabolic hormones, such as cortisol, attempt to break down protein (muscle) to support certain aspects of our metabolism. On the other side, we have anabolic hormones like testosterone and growth hormone which help regulate optimal muscle protein synthesis, resulting in stronger and bigger muscles (1).
- Testosterone - is probably the most well-known hormone, and its primary role is related to muscle growth. It can also aid in fat burning and in the maintenance of sexual health.
- Growth hormone – aids in muscular adaptions and overall muscle preservation. Growth hormone allows proper amino acid uptake at all cellular levels, promoting muscle growth.
- Cortisol – depending on the situation, this hormone can break down amino acids in the muscle, converting them into carbohydrates which are then used for energy.
- Insulin – is released by our pancreas and can affect the body both in a positive and negative way. Insulin can promote muscle building, however it can also help fat accumulation.
- Glucagon – has a parallel role to insulin. Insulin lowers blood sugar levels, and glucagon is there to raise the blood sugar when needed.
Hormones and Muscular Development
The process of muscle building involves disturbance of fibers, inflammatory responses, and hormonal interactions which ultimately lead to new muscle tissue.
The goal with resistance training is to increase protein synthesis and decrease protein breakdown. You can accomplish this with an adequate diet, proper recovery, and optimal hormonal balance. The hormonal production that occurs during and after your training provides signals regarding the physiological stressors the body is undergoing. From there, your body takes this information and responds to it by growing bigger and stronger (2).
Training Tips for Faster Progress Hormonal responses greatly depend on your resistance training and muscle stimulation.
With the following tips you can ensure successful hormonal responses after every workout session.
1. Structuring Your Workout When deciding on which exercises to add to your regime, always aim for movements that target the greatest amount of muscle. Good examples include squats, deadlifts, clean and jerk, presses, etc. By recruiting various muscle groups at once you raise the potential of remodeling them bigger and stronger.
It is also crucial to switch up your exercise technique from time to time, in order to prevent slow progress. For example, alter your bench angle, go for decline instead of incline.
2. Exercise Order Start your workout with big compound movements, as the one listed above, and then move towards isolation exercises that target smaller muscle groups. Training larger muscles before the smaller ones induces a higher level of testosterone and growth hormone, creating a more muscle-building environment. So, spare your bicep curls for the end of your workout, and focus on the big lifts.
3. Weight If you’re really looking to see faster progress, you simply have to lift heavy. Avoid going under 85% of your one-rep max, and try to shoot for the 85-95% range. The force generated from working with heavy weights activates the motor-units which are not stimulated enough with lighter weights. Push yourself to the limit and increase the potential for an exceptional hormonal and muscle response.
4. Volume Workout volume is another factor that can boost your growth. A moderate or high volume of exercise has been shown to elicit optimal hormonal responses. Now since you are working with a heavy load, the number of
repetitions performed will be lower. Therefore, a high volume requires multiple sets of different exercises in order to be appropriate.
5. Rest Periods The last factor you need to optimize is the rest period between sets. Studies have concluded different results, however it is believed that a rest period between 60-90 seconds may be the way to go. During this time frame your body will most likely be able to properly recover from the previous set, still keeping you in the adequate state for muscle building and hormone production.
Steroids and various synthetic hormones are popular nowadays. They can bring short-term results, however they also carry big health risks.
Luckily, you can naturally boost hormone production through exercise using heavy weight, moderate or high volume, and fairly short rest periods. Besides proper training, don’t forget to eat healthy, avoid processed food and sugar, alcohol, and sleep at least 8 hours every night.
References: 1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2877703/A