How to build muscle mass without sports pharmacology? Learn about the role and importance of testosterone, compound exercise, training duration, and strength training in general.
Have you ever wondered why there is so much talk about compound exercises? Or why should all training programs be built around them? Meanwhile, many beginners do not favor this type of exercise with their attention and prefer to wander in the wilds of all kinds of isolating movements. Their workouts last for hours, they go from exercise to exercise in the hope of finishing off their muscles.
There is also another extreme. A beginner finds a professional bodybuilder program in a specialized magazine and tells himself that it is necessary to do it only this way and nothing else. I strongly discourage doing this because beginners are far from professional athletes. I confess, I also stepped on this rake at the beginning of my training path. However, having pacified my pride, I understood why it is so important to build training around compound movements.
Compound exercise is more than just a foundation for building a solid building, it is also a powerful booster for the secretion of testosterone, an anabolic hormone that we all love so much. In these exercises, more than two muscle groups work, and the movements are performed in several joints (therefore they are also called multi-joint), which increases the production of testosterone.
Speaking of testosterone, I do not mean “pharma”, but the endogenous secretion of the hormone in our body. Testosterone is a male sex hormone widely known in the iron world for its tremendous effect on muscle growth. The higher the testosterone level in the blood, the higher our potential in terms of gaining muscle mass and reducing the percentage of body fat.
Increased testosterone secretion through exercise
How to increase testosterone synthesis during exercise? Scientists have figured out that for this you need to keep in mind a few key points. First of all, it has been proven that strength training increases testosterone secretion, but the severity of the hormonal response depends on the number of muscle groups involved in the work, the intensity of the training and the volume of the load. Simply lifting heavy objects is not enough. To achieve your goals, you need a truly effective workout program that will help you gain serious muscle mass.
The more muscles you stimulate during exercise, the more testosterone is produced in your body. This explains why training based on basic multi-joint movements is considered the key to naturally increasing testosterone levels. In a study by Dr. Kremer (et al.), Subjects performed bench press and squat jumping under load. Although both exercises were positive, jumping squats resulted in a more pronounced increase in testosterone secretion due to more muscles involved in one exercise.
What do you think is the level of testosterone in the blood of Olympic weightlifters? This shows why you shouldn’t spend most of your precious time doing biceps curls and leg extensions in the machine. Instead, focus on squats, deadlifts, push presses, etc.
How much load is considered excessive?
However, this does not mean that everyone has to go to the gym and do insane amounts of reps and approaches in these anabolic exercises. It is necessary to find the optimal amount of training load, allowing you to achieve maximum testosterone secretion. If your muscles aren’t getting the workout they need, testosterone secretion will not peak and you will lose a significant percentage of the anabolic potential of a given workout.
Although high volume exercise significantly increases testosterone secretion, studies have shown that after 45-60 minutes of strength training, there is a sharp decrease in hormone production. Therefore, those who practice hours of endless exercise sessions should reconsider their approach and ask themselves if their workouts are truly productive.
It has been experimentally proven that a larger volume of load gives a greater secretion of testosterone, but the second component of the equation must not be forgotten. This is the intensity of the load as a percentage of the one-rep maximum. Scientists compared two groups of exercisers. The first group worked on hypertrophy with 10 repetitions per set and a minute rest between sets. The second group focused on strength work and performed 5 reps per set with 3 minutes rest between sets. It turned out that in the first group the testosterone level increased more than in the second. However, in the second group, a significant increase in the secretion of the hormone was also recorded.
If you want to unleash the potential of our body’s natural anabolic hormone, I recommend taking a critical look at your training program. Remove unnecessary exercises from it that only inhibit muscle hypertrophy. Training should consist mainly of compound movements. Walking lunges will help you gain more muscle mass than bending and straightening your legs in the machine.
Most do not want to get involved with compound exercises because of their complexity. Meanwhile, if the exercise seems too difficult for you, you should definitely do it! In addition, monitor your progress in compound movements and devote maximum time and energy to this aspect of the training process. When you see that working weights are steadily moving up, chances are good that your muscles grow with them.