T Nation

Split Squats Produce More Testosterone

Anyone checked out Bret Contreras’s Strength Of Evidence podcast, episode 2?

It’s an illuminating listen.

Personally, I’ve always felt that everyone thinks the squat is some holy grail of exercise, because people always bend their argument to fit the squat.

“Squats are obviously better than leg presses, because they involve the stabilizing muscles to a greater degree, take some emphasis off of the prime movers, and allow a safer weight to be used.”

“But squats are obviously better than split squats, because they do not involve as any stabilizing muscles, shift the emphasis towards the prime movers, and allow more absolute loading.”

Two opposite arguments - yet the squat somehow comes out on top both times.

In the podcast you will find Bret and some other dude objectively look at some studies. As a summary, these studies found that (rear foot elevated) split squats;

1). Work the rectus femoris and vastus lateralis slightly less than squats
2). Work the gluteus maximus and minimus slightly more than squats
3). One study showed hamstrings were worked less than in squats, another showed they were worked more
3). Involved a lower overall work-capacity than squats
4). Despite 3)., they caused increased testosterone output than squats
5). Caused almost identical athletic performance markers (both bilateral and unilateral) to squats, except unilateral vertical jump, where they performed better than squats

Obviously, post-exercise testosterone increase is completely negligible to muscle synthesis, yet many flag this up as a reason why squats can apparently make your biceps grow. By the same logic, we should now be aware that rear-foot elevated split squats will make your gunz grow even more.

If you are concerned about the methods of the studies analyzed, or sample size - listen to the podcast, but both the presenters are from scientific backgrounds and they choose studies they find fair and insightful.

Personally, I am neither pro or anti squatting, I think that it should be viewed as merely a tool (like all other exercises) and not a religion. This is also the conclusion that Bret and the other dude came to. Your sexuality shouldn’t be questioned simply because you chose not to squat - especially if you’ve built big wheels with other methods…

Let the flames begin.

I thought Ethan already decided that squats were rubbish?

Other dude is Dr. Jonathan Fass. Very good podcast if you’re looking for the science behind a lot of training and nutrition stuff.