T Nation

Relationship Between Anabolic Hormones & Gains

Thought a few people here may find this to be a good read…

http://www.melioguide.com/uploads/OHP_Presentation_Phillips.pdf

Recent seminar with some guys at McMaster U propose the idea that

  1. anabolic hormones, such as test, may not have as much an impact on hypertrophy, strength etc as once thought
  2. lifting heavier, might not lead to more gains

I found this interesting myself, having never read about anything supporting this side of the argument.

so according to this article it doesn’t matter if i squat with 135 lbs or 405 lbs i’ll probably get the same strength gains? i beg to differ

[quote]HelmetMJC wrote:
so according to this article it doesn’t matter if i squat with 135 lbs or 405 lbs i’ll probably get the same strength gains? i beg to differ[/quote]

didn’t read the link but I assume its countering the argument that lifting a higher % of your 1RM will lead to faster gains due to higher testosterone levels. Hopefully its not trying to argue against progressive overload.

This is not meant to be read which makes it tough, for me, to pull out the specifics before I run out of patience. The doc is meant to support a lecture or presentation (which would be of interest).

So training heavy isnt proven to increase strength? i hope this study wasnt too costly because he could have walked into any serious gym and picked a few of the bigger and stronger guys and quickly found out that his theory was built on a foundation of shit.

[quote]giterdone wrote:
This is not meant to be read which makes it tough, for me, to pull out the specifics before I run out of patience. The doc is meant to support a lecture or presentation (which would be of interest).

[/quote]

Ya, some of it was a little hard to understand, but most of it makes sense now.

The first studie(s) showed that Strength and size gains were not dependant on the hormonal responses to training. We always here recomnedations about keeping training <45 min to prevent GH and T from dropping, and all these supplements that can potentially boost Testosterone etc. This research basically is suggesting that none of that really matters.

His little conclusion was that as long as hormones are within “normal” levels, everything will be normal. If they fall extremely low, there will be problems, and if they get un-naturally high as with steroids, then there may be some benefits. But for drug free lifters, non of the hormone stuff seems to matter that much.

The second studie(s) were looking at the rate of muscle protein synthesis (MPS) dependant on the load used, and failure vs. non-failure. The study suggests that if training to failure, there is a negligable difference (and maybe even 30%RM is better than 90%RM) in regards to muscle protein synthesis 4-hours post exercise. The author of the PDF then goes on to state that there are over 80 studies suggesting no difference in strength gains between lighter and heavier weights.

My opinions:

1)The first study seems to make sense, and is in line with a lot of what ive read by “no-nonsense” people. Basically as long as hormone levels are withink “normal” ranges, growth will not be effected by hormones specifically. And hormones will have to be boosted to un-natural levels to see much benefit.

  1. As far as muscle growth goes i can kinda agree with what the author is suggesting. I think IF YOU ARE ONLY GOING TO DO ONE SET, then the most important thing will be to train to or near failure. This will ensure that all muscle fibers are adequately stimulated. And if I were going to only train with ONE set it probably wouldn’t be 90% of my 1RM. It would probably be more like 80%.

But either way this reasearch is in line with a lot of what you see people doing. Some people build muscle on sets of 3, while others build muscle on sets of 15. The main factor here I guess is that you are CONSISTENTLY supplying a stimulus for growth. This means continually training to or near failure, and progressing from workout to workout.

  1. I only partly agree with his last slide, about lighter weights building strength as well as heavier weights. It all really comes down to HOW YOU ARE DEFINING STRENGTH. Because if you icrease your 1rm by 30 lbs you are stronger. And if you increase your 30RM by 30lbs you are also stronger. Without seeing these studies that suggest lighter weights can build as much strength as heavier weights, and what there definition of strength is and their training protocols its hard for me to have too much of an opinion on what he is saying.

BUT, if he is suggesting that training with lighter weights (as in 30% or 1RM) is as effective at raising a 1RM as training with heavier weights (as in 90% of 1RM) then i’d probably disagree big time. But as I said there are alot of factors that I cant see. Maybe this is with one set to failure, in which case a heavier weight might not be enough volume/repetions, whereas a lighter set would be.

But IMO you can get “strong” with just about any number of repetition; within reason. But specificity is a big factor, and you dont really want to be training for a 1RM contest with exclusively doing sets of 15, whereas you also dont want to be training for marathon by just doing heavy powerlifting.

A nice read though, that puts some perspective on to a few of the controversial areas of the industry.

[quote]dan.desroches wrote:

  1. anabolic hormones, such as test, may not have as much an impact on hypertrophy, strength etc as once thought
  2. lifting heavier, might not lead to more gains
    [/quote]

Seems to work for me…