Every lifter could benefit from increased testosterone and growth hormone. This is probably why so many trainees look for every natural way to increase both as much as possible. While diet and supplements can definitely play a role, so can your workouts. Below is a way to structure your training so as to increase both testosterone and growth hormone.
It’s long been thought exercises like squats and deadlifts could cause the body to produce more muscle building chemicals such as testosterone and growth hormone. Now science is backing up this claim.
In a 2011 study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, nine 20-34 year old males did bodybuilding style training for 11 weeks. Twice per week, they did curls, hammer curls, and reverse curls for only their left arm. However, on two other days per week, they did leg presses, leg extensions, and leg curls, followed up by training the right arm with the same 3 biceps exercises as before.
By the end of the study, researchers had not only found increased testosterone and growth hormone during the legs and right arm workouts, but that the trainees’ right biceps had experienced much more growth than the left. It was concluded that the leg training was responsible for not only the hormonal response, but the additional hypertrophy built on the right side.
Now that you know that training the legs can increase testosterone and growth hormone, the question is how should you structure your training? First of all, you’ll want to do big exercises like squats and deadlifts early in your workout. These tend to cause a bump in testosterone, which can then be utilized for the duration of your session. This is especially true when done with heavy weight for sets of 4-6 reps.
On the flip side, doing movements with around 75% of your 1RM (check our one rep max calculator here) for more reps with shorter rest breaks tends to cause a spike in GH. Because GH is best utilized after your workout is over, try to structure your training so that these exercises are done near the end of your session. Virtually any type of lower body movement can be used.
Splitting up your leg training is also a good idea. Most lifters only train legs once per week. However, if you split your legs up into two workouts, then you can take advantage of elevated T-levels and GH twice as often. Do quadriceps dominant movements such as squats, leg presses, and leg extensions one workout, while hip dominant movements such as deadlifts, hip thrust, power snatch, or glute ham raises can be done on another.
One other thing you could do would be to emulate what was done in the study above. Instead of training only legs in a workout, follow up your leg training by training a smaller body part. For example, you could do quadriceps dominant leg work, followed up by arms or hip dominant leg work followed up by shoulders. This could elicit more growth than normal in the smaller body parts due to the increased hormonal response.
With just a couple tweaks to your leg workouts, you could be seeing quite an increase in testosterone and growth hormone. This can lead to not only being able to take advantage of said chemicals more often, but then applying those increases to smaller muscle groups for even more growth. Experiment with it and you could find that just a simple shakeup of when you do what exercises could lead to more gains without doing any more additional work.