Q: I’ve been reading that testosterone is the key muscle-building hormone. Does the hormone boost come from intensity, more reps or what?
A: Arthur Jones, creator of Nautilus machines and the overseer of the Colorado Experiment that saw Casey Viator gain 60 pounds of muscle in only 4 weeks, always said that training legs hard can have a big “indirect muscle-building effect.”
What that means is that you could train your legs hard and see size gains in other muscles, such as your arms—even if you didn’t train arms directly. Interesting concept—and that could explain why 20-rep squat routines work so well to pack on mass all over the body…
We outline a great one in Chapter 3 of the Stretch Overload ebook. In that “Anabolic Acceleration”) chapter we also discuss a colleague, former Iron Man author Randall Strossen, Ph.D., who gained 30 pounds of muscle in six weeks on such a program in his younger days.
Another early bodybuilder named Joe C. Hise could not get past weighing 200 pounds. He adopted an abbreviated routine with basic exercises and the 20-rep squat and tipped the scale at 229 in ONE MONTH.
The 20-rep squat routines have you do the key high-rep leg work, squats, up front in your workout, which can do amazing things for testosterone release and overall growth. Here’s what Gabriel Wilson, Ph.D., and Jacob Wilson, Ph.D., said about the results of a study that showed impressive results along those lines—they had subjects train arms after training legs or training arms alone:
As predicted, the arms trained with legs achieved an increase in the part of the biceps with the largest cross-sectional area—the biceps peak—while no changes occurred in the arms trained alone. The arms trained with legs also had greater relative improvement in biceps curl strength than the arms trained alone as well as other favorable muscle adaptations… Studies suggest that training large bodyparts before smaller ones increases the smaller bodyparts’ growth; however, the opposite is not true—if you train legs after arms, you will see no benefits. In addition, coupling lower- and upper-body exercises increases muscle growth and testosterone receptors within skeletal muscles.
There are other ways you can significantly boost testosterone—and residual muscle growth—even eating part of a specific fruit. It’s in one of the most interesting read-me pages on Testosterone and other muscle-building hormones we’ve seen:
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Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson