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Effects of training order

(12-16-2012) Strength training is a very effectiveEffects of training order on testosterone means to increase concentrations of hormones like testosterone and cortisol. These hormones are believed to be one of the important factors responsible for training related adaptations in our muscles. Many athletes are therefore interested in ways to optimise the production of these hormones. A common question is what order of training leads to optimal results? Performing strength training first followed by endurance training or vice versa? Scientists from the University published an article this month investigating the hormonal effects of training order in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. So what is better for muscle growth: Cardio followed by strength training or strength training followed by cardio? Find out below.

Effects of Strongman Training on Testosterone Levels

(03-22-2013) Training to increase muscle Strongman trainingmass is usually done in the gym performing well known exercises such as the bench press or squat or equivalent machines. Athletes interested in increasing strength and power such as football, wrestling, rugby and basketball players are said to greatly benefit from Strongman training. Strongman training incorporates compound movements such as pulling and pressing oddly shaped objects such as stones, sleds, keg barrels, tractor tires and trucks. An important factor in training for muscle mass is an increased testosterone production following a training session. To determine if Strongman training is an effective way to increase muscle mass, researchers from New York conducted the following study investigating the effect of Strongman training on testosterone levels.

Squat vs. Leg Press: Effects on Testosterone, Growth Hormone and Cortisol

(Originally posted on 22-04-2014) WhetherSquat vs leg press training with free weights is more effective than training on machines has been an ongoing debate and both methods have their advantages and disadvantages. To see which has the largest effects on our hormones scientists of the University of North Texas started a study on the effects of two of the most popular leg exercises: the squat vs leg press.

Effects of Amino Acid Supplementation and Resistance Exercise on Muscle Adaptation

Abstract

The purpose of this article is to investigate and evaluate the effects of amino acid supplementation in combination with resistance exercise on muscle hypertrophy and strength. The mechanisms of different processes in protein turnover on which amino acid supplementation has an effect are explored. Amino acid supplementation in combination with resistance exercise increases serum IGF-1 concentrations, decreases testosterone concentrations and leaves myostatin expression unchanged. These processes increase mRNA translation, which results in an increase in hypertrophy and, if resistance training intensity is high enough, in increases in strength. In the end it seems that although not all effects of amino acid supplementation are positive for protein synthesis, the net effect is an increase in protein synthesis.

How to increase muscle mass effectively

One of the most important reasons for many men to train is to increase their muscle mass and look more athletic. To achieve this goal many different training methods have been tried and much research has been done to determine what works and what is less effective or even counter productive. This article will give you best tips science can give you on how to increase muscle mass effectively.

Split training or full body workout?

What is Most Effective for Muscle Growth: Split Training or Full Body Workout?

Increasing muscle mass and strength are important training goals for many people. Muscle hypertrophyNot only for cosmetic reasons but for health reasons as well, people seek to increase their muscle mass. A much used method to increase muscle mass more effectively, a process also known as hypertrophy, is using a split training program. In a split training program only a few muscle groups are trained every workout. This allows more exercises per muscle group which increases the training stimulus to the muscle compared with performing just one exercise per muscle group.

Unfortunately there has been little research comparing split training with a comparable full body workout up until now. However the following advantages and disadvantages are theoretically supported.

Advantages Split Training in comparison with Full Body Workout

-A stronger and more complete training stimulus per muscle group. As a result of combining multiple exercises in one training session, a larger part of the muscle is targeted which results in a larger number of muscle fibers that need to adapt.

-It allows for a higher training frequency. When the increase in muscle mass from a Full Body workout performed 3 times a week is not sufficient, it is a bad idea to perform this workout 4 times a week or more. This will not allow the muscle to recuperate and increase its’ size. A split training regimen, if designed properly, even allows daily training. While muscle groups that have been trained in a previous workout are allowed to recover.

Disadvantages compared in comparison with Full Body Workout

-It is less suitable for beginners. The training intensity is often too high for relatively untrained muscles. Moreover, most beginners will have a hard time reaching the necessary training intensity at all, since they still have to learn to activate their muscles to a larger extent. When they can’t reach the necessary training intensity, split training often offers few advantages.

-It requires a higher training frequency to train all muscle groups regularly. Ideally muscles are trained when they are fully recuperated and adapted to the previous training stimulus. For optimal results it is recommended to train every muscle group two times a week. When a split training is performed two times a week, the muscle will have recovered by the time it is trained again, but the training adaptations will probably have disappeared as well.

-Smaller increases in growth hormone and testosterone production. The increase in hormone production is strongly dependent on the amount of muscle mass that is active during training. Since split training targets a few muscle groups each training, the hormonal response on training is smaller. Recent studies have shown that this hormonal response is not a requirement of muscle growth. However, it is likely that growth hormone production has other beneficial effects, such as stimulating fat metabolism. A full body workout is probably more effective in this aspect.

Conclusion:

Using a split training regimen has both advantages and disadvantages. Moreover, no studies comparing both split training and full body workouts have been performed. However a split training allows for a higher training frequency and a more complete workout for each muscle group, while other muscle groups are allowed to recover.

References:

-Kraemer, W.J., Ratamess, N.A. Fundamentals of Resistance Training: Progression and Exercise Prescription. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 2004, 36, 4, 674-688.

-Wescott, W.L. How Often Should Clients Perform Strength Training? ACSM’s Certified News 2010, 20, 2, 10-11.

When are you training too much?

Exercise normally stimulates the body to recover and through this process improve endurance, strength or other variables through super compensation. Well performed fitness training will increase growth hormone secretion, which stimulates recovery and rejuvenates tissue. A higher training frequency and training intensity normally results in better results. This is true up to a point. While it does not happen too often, it is possible to break down the body instead of improving performance by training too much.

This can occur when someone for example performs resistance exercise two times a day targeting the same muscle groups. This is rare however, since resistance exercise stimulates anabolic hormone production, such as growth hormone and testosterone, which stimulate recovery.

In addition the intensity of resistance exercise, when performed right, is too high to sustain for longer periods or very often because of muscle soreness. When performing cardiovascular exercise, one runs a greater risk of overtraining, because the total exercise duration is often longer and relative intensity is lower than resistance training. The longer duration increases cortisol production, a stress hormone which breaks down muscle for energy and inhibits testosterone production. The lower intensity does not stimulate growth hormone and testosterone production as much as resistance exercise.

So on the one hand, cardiovascular exercise can break down the body and inhibits recovery and on the other hand, not much growth hormone and testosterone is produced to stimulate recovery. As a result, people get weaker by training too much. In addition, the immune system is suppressed, increasing the risk of infection. This does not mean that cardiovascular exercise should be avoided altogether, it merely means that one should be wary of performing too much exercise without adequate rest. The negative effects of too much training can already occur by training 8-10 hours per week, which is normal for quite a few endurance athletes.

How does strength training increase muscle mass?

The increase in muscle mass due to resistance exercise is a result of several hormone mechanisms. High intensity resistance training increases hormone concentrations of testosterone, growth hormone and IGF-1. These hormones stimulate protein synthesis and therefore increase muscle mass.

Men naturally produce more testosterone and growth hormone and these levels rise more strongly than in women as a result of resistance exercise. In men testosterone seems to be the most important regulator hypertrophy in muscle mass, in women, who produce much less testosterone, this role is reserved for growth hormone.

The amount of these hormones produced depends on several factors, the amount of muscle mass active during training, training intensity and rest periods between series. When more muscles are activated during training, anabolic hormone levels rise. The same applies to higher training intensity and shorter rest durations.

References:

-Heyward, V.H. (2010). Designing Resistance Training Programs. Advanced Fitness Assessment and Exercise Prescription Sixth Edition. USA. Human Kinetics