Thursday, January 22, 2009

Testosterone vs Human Growth Hormone

Quick, what are the most beneficial hormones in the human body? The answer is human growth hormone and testosterone. The problem is when one level goes up, the other falls down, so what is better, or perhaps what can give you higher benefits. Well, testosterone is a lot cheaper, but growth hormone burns more fat. It is well established in bodybuilding circles that testosterone is superior to growth hormone for gaining muscle. However, growth hormone still is enormously popular and generally has a better reputation than testosterone both in bodybuilding and in anti-aging circles. The general impression is that testosterone will make you big, but at the price of acne, puffiness, temper tantrums, prostate enlargement, and possibly "gyno". Well it is acknowledged that growth hormone is not as anabolic as testosterone, people still think of growth hormone as a hormone that will make you lean and toned with almost no side effects. Growth hormone also has a reputation as being the "fountain of youth" among anti-aging enthusiasts, whereas testosterone is still considered somewhat dangerous. The purpose of this article is to see how the research on testosterone and growth hormone from the last few years has supported or disputed the public’s view of these two hormones.New research has shed some light on the anabolic effects of growth hormone. Several studies in the past have shown an increase in lean body mass in subjects taking growth hormone. However, lean body mass does not necessarily mean muscle, but anything that is not fat and this includes water, organ tissue growth, bone mass, and connective tissue growth.One recent study put growth hormone head to head with testosterone and measured its effects on fat loss. In this study, men on growth hormone lost an average of 13% of their bodyfat compared to 5.8% in the group taking testosterone.(4) But before you jump to conclusions, there are a couple of reasons why this study doesn’t settle the question. For one thing, this study was on very old individuals (aged 65 to 88) who had low IGF-1 and testosterone levels. Another problem is that the doses of the hormones haven’t been reported yet (the study is only in abstract form right now) which also makes the comparison difficult to make. Most interesting about this study was that a synergistic effect was found in a group taking both testosterone and growth hormone, as they lost an average of 21% of their bodyfat. This is more than the averages of the testosterone alone and growth hormone alone groups combined.

Real Strength Training

In order to build strength you must pump out as many reps as possible, right? WRONG! To build strength you must lift from 85%-125% of your maximum repetition . Lifting anything that is 125% of your maximum should be used rarely and with a spotter. Lifting something that heavy is called a supra maximal lift, I say again use caution. Like I was saying, if you lift 85% of your max you should be pumping out no more than 5 reps and several sets, about 5, 6, 7, as many sets you can do. You will build myofibril hypertrophy as well as higher motor recruitment for the nervous system. Your key exercise for strength is the deadlift, and weighted pull ups or dips. The forms of strength training are Olympic weightlifting, Powerlifting, and Strongman competitions, each one of these is important, but in my opinion powerlifting dramatically increases motor recruitment of muscle fibers and muscle mass.

The 6 lifts you should be doing are:

Deadlifts. Often referred to as the king of strength training exercises, the deadlift is movement that works almost all of the major muscles of the body. These include the posterior chain muscles of the glutes, hamstrings, and spinal erectors (lower back) as well as the trapezius, quadriceps, abs, obliques, and lats. The deadlift is a very natural human movement because it mimics the basic action of picking something heavy up off the ground. Top tier powerlifters, track and field athletes, mixed martial artists, wrestlers, football players, strongmen, and Olympic weightlifters all use the deadlift because it is so well suited to a variety of athletic events. The deadlift can make you run faster, jump higher and farther, hit harder, or take an opponent down easier. Depending on your goals, deadlifts can also help you either gain muscle mass, lose fat, or both, depending on your kilo-calorie intake. For example, someone looking to gain 20 pounds of muscle could do so by incorporating the deadlift into their workout regimen because heavy deadlifting forces your body to produce more testosterone and growth hormone, both of which encourage muscle building and fat burn. Also for those looking to lose fat, developing the larger muscles of the posterior chain, legs, and upper back will increase your body's metabolism, which will keep off the fat while building muscle. Deadlifting also dramatically improves posture, something that I noticed after incorporating them into my workouts.

Squats. The squat is a lift second only to the deadlift in terms of the effects it can have on your physique and athletic performance.

Power cleans. Power cleans are quite difficult to master, especially compared to the squat or deadlift, but the benefits of doing so are great. This is because the power clean is a movement that requires a high degree of acceleration, which helps build power in virtually every muscle in the body. Also because of the long distance that the bar has to travel, the power clean serves as cardiovascular training as well. It is one of the most time efficient lifts, and is also one of the most applicable ones to sporting events. You will often see football players, track athletes, and fighters perform power cleans. Olympic weightlifters perform what is called a full, or squat, clean of which the power clean is a simplified version.

Dips. Dips are an exercise that in my opinion is far superior to the overrated bench press. This is not to say that the bench press is a bad lift - I do them myself and if you are a powerlifter you must compete in the bench - but for the average person looking to become stronger, more muscular, leaner, and fitter overall dips are a better exercise. Dips beat the bench press from a functionality standpoint because the movement is performed in an upright position as opposed to on one's back. Dips are excellent for strenghtening the triceps, the chest, the lateral deltoids, and even the upper back and are often called the upper body squat! Mixed martial artists and boxers can effetively use dips to develop punching power. Dips are a bodyweight movement to which extra weight can be added, which gives it another advantage over the bench press. Dips require you to first learn to handle your own body before adding weight. Also there is less of a temptation to try and lift a weight you can't handle just so you can tell the world how much you can bench...

Overhead presses and push presses are important movements that strengthen then shoulders and triceps. This is beneficial to a wide variety of athletes including football players, tennis player, and discus throwers to name a few. When performed standing (which I recommend) overhead presses also strengthen the core muscles. In other words, overhead presses teach your body to exert an upward force while maintaining posture - which is key to a lot of athletic activities. Pressing weights overhead also can widen the shoulders for men and tone the muscles for women. This also strengthens a fairly large area of muscle fiber, increasing the speed of one's metabolism.

Rows. Rows strengthen the entire back as well as the biceps and forearms. Their benefits are basically the same as the pull-up, but they work the same muscles on a different plane. Rows can be done with a variety of equipment including a barbell, a dumbbell, or a kettlebell. You should especially do these if you bench press in order to avoid muscular imbalances!

Your focus for all of these exercises is near your rep maximum and the form.
Remember to Deadlift, Deadlift, Deadlift.