Physiological Elevation of Endogenous Hormones Results in Superior Strength Training Adaptations – Research Review

Rønnestad BR et. al. Physiological elevation of endogenous hormones results in superior strength training adaptation.  Eur J Appl Physiol. (2011) Feb 16.

The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of transiently elevated endogenous hormone concentrations during exercise on strength training adaptations. Nine subjects performed four unilateral strength training session per week on the elbow flexors for 11 weeks. During two of the weekly sessions, leg exercises were performed to acutely increase the systemic anabolic hormone concentration immediately before the exercises for one of the elbow flexors (L + A). On the two other weekly training sessions, the contralateral elbow flexors were trained without prior leg exercises (A). By randomizing one arm of the subjects to serve as a control and the other as experimental, both conditions have the same nutritional and genetic environment. Serum testosterone and growth hormone was significantly increased during the L – A training session, while no hormonal changes occurred in the A session. Both A and L + A increased 1RM in biceps curl, peak power in elbow flexors at 30 and 60% of 1RM, and muscle volume of the elbow flexors (p < 0.05). However, only L + A achieved increase in CSA at the part of the arm flexors with largest cross sectional area (p < 0.001), while no changes occurred in A. L + A had superior relative improvement in 1RM biceps curl and favorable muscle adaptations in elbow flexors compared to A (p < 0.05). In conclusion, performing leg exercises prior to arm exercises, and thereby increasing the levels of serum testosterone and growth hormone, induced superior strength training adaptations compared to arm training without acute elevation of hormones.

Background

A long-held belief that has floated around the world of strength and hypertrophy training is that training legs (for a variety of reasons including hormonal) has a positive effect on either strength or size.  Many, many systems of training are based around that (including Dan John’s Mass Made Simple which I recently reviewed and others).

(more…)

Static Stretching and Refined Grain Intake by Paleo Man – Research Review

Taylor KL et. al. Negative effect of static stretching restored when combined with a sport specific warm-up component. J Sci Med Sport. (2009) 12(6):657-61.

There is substantial evidence that static stretching may inhibit performance in strength and power activities. However, most of this research has involved stretching routines dissimilar to those practiced by athletes. The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether the decline in performance normally associated with static stretching pervades when the static stretching is conducted prior to a sport specific warm-up. Thirteen netball players completed two experimental warm-up conditions. Day 1 warm-up involved a submaximal run followed by 15 min of static stretching and a netball specific skill warm-up. Day 2 followed the same design; however, the static stretching was replaced with a 15 min dynamic warm-up routine to allow for a direct comparison between the static stretching and dynamic warm-up effects. Participants performed a countermovement vertical jump and 20m sprint after the first warm-up intervention (static or dynamic) and also after the netball specific skill warm-up. The static stretching condition resulted in significantly worse performance than the dynamic warm-up in vertical jump height (-4.2%, 0.40 ES) and 20m sprint time (1.4%, 0.34 ES) (p<0.05). However, no significant differences in either performance variable were evident when the skill-based warm-up was preceded by static stretching or a dynamic warm-up routine. This suggests that the practice of a subsequent high-intensity skill based warm-up restored the differences between the two warm-up interventions. Hence, if static stretching is to be included in the warm-up period, it is recommended that a period of high-intensity sport-specific skills based activity is included prior to the on-court/field performance.

My Comments: As I discussed recently in The Importance of Context, people these days seem to love them some absolutes and there tends to be no shortage of them to go around, especially when it comes to training.  Always do this, never do that, you get the idea.   The situational context is irrelevant, there are simply black and white absolutes that apply across the board.

(more…)

Casein Hydrolysate and Anabolic Hormones and Growth – Research Review

I want to try something a little bit different for today’s research review.  Rather than looking at a single study in the kind of obsessive detail that only I and three readers really care about, I want to look at multiple studies but in lesser detail.  Not only will this hopefully make the article a bit more relevant and readable, it will let me address more than a single topic at once.

With the sheer volume of research appearing on a weekly basis, this will at least help me to look at data in a more timely fashion.  I’d mention that, for anyone who wants an even better look at a lot of studies, you’d be well served to consider Alan Aragon’s monthly Research Review which I reviewed in the confusingly titled Alan Aragon Research Review – Product Review.

In any case, today I want to look at two recent studies which are:

  1. Deglaire et al. Hydrolyzed dietary casein as compared with the intact protein reduces postprandial peripheral, but not whole-body, uptake of nitrogen in humans. Am J Clin Nutr. (2009) 90(4):1011-22.
  2. West et. al. Elevations in ostensibly anabolic hormones with resistance exercise enhance neither training-induced muscle hypertrophy nor strength of the elbow flexors. J Appl Physiol. 2009 Nov 12.

For each study I’ll give a brief background to the topic, look at what was done and then jump straight to the conclusions with some final summing up.  As noted above, some of the detail will be left out but I figure that anyone who is that interested in the details of methodology and such will simply get ahold of the full paper and read it themselves.

(more…)

Fat-Free Mass Index in Users and NonUsers of Anabolic-Androgenic Steroids – Research Review

Title and Abstract

Kouri EM, et. al.Fat-free mass index in users and nonusers of anabolic-androgenic steroids.  Clin J Sport Med. (1995) 5(4):223-8.

We calculated fat-free mass index (FFMI) in a sample of 157 male athletes, comprising 83 users of anabolic-androgenic steroids and 74 nonusers. FFMI is defined by the formula (fat-free body mass in kg) x (height in meters)-2. We then added a slight correction of 6.3 x (1.80 m – height) to normalize these values to the height of a 1.8-m man. The normalized FFMI values of athletes who had not used steroids extended up to a well-defined limit of 25.0. Similarly, a sample of 20 Mr. America winners from the presteroid era (1939-1959), for whom we estimated the normalized FFMI, had a mean FFMI of 25.4. By contrast, the FFMI of many of the steroid users in our sample easily exceeded 25.0, and that of some even exceeded 30. Thus, although these findings must be regarded as preliminary, it appears that FFMI may represent a useful initial measure to screen for possible steroid abuse, especially in athletic, medical, or forensic situations in which individuals may attempt to deny such behavior.

Background

Last Thursday, I published a guest article by Alan Aragon entitled Supplement Marketing on Steroids, which was a scientific and technical analysis of recent claims regarding rates of muscle mass gain and potential maximum size by the website Testosterone.nation.  In a different context, this topic was previously covered on this site in the article What Is my Genetic Muscular Potential?

As expected, this caused quite an uproar as can be seen in the comments section of that article.

(more…)

Effects of Moderate-Intensity Endurance and High-Intensity Intermittent Training on Anaerobic Capacity and VO2 Max

Title and Abstract

Tabata I. et. al.  Effects of moderate-intensity endurance and high-intensity intermittent training on anaerobic capacity and VO2max.  Med Sci Sports Exerc. (1996) 28(10):1327-30.

This study consists of two training experiments using a mechanically braked cycle ergometer. First, the effect of 6 wk of moderate-intensity endurance training (intensity: 70% of maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), 60 min.d-1, 5 d.wk-1) on the anaerobic capacity (the maximal accumulated oxygen deficit) and VO2max was evaluated. After the training, the anaerobic capacity did not increase significantly (P > 0.10), while VO2max increased from 53 +/- 5 ml.kg-1 min-1 to 58 +/- 3 ml.kg-1.min-1 (P < 0.01) (mean +/- SD). Second, to quantify the effect of high-intensity intermittent training on energy release, seven subjects performed an intermittent training exercise 5 d.wk-1 for 6 wk. The exhaustive intermittent training consisted of seven to eight sets of 20-s exercise at an intensity of about 170% of VO2max with a 10-s rest between each bout. After the training period, VO2max increased by 7 ml.kg-1.min-1, while the anaerobic capacity increased by 28%. In conclusion, this study showed that moderate-intensity aerobic training that improves the maximal aerobic power does not change anaerobic capacity and that adequate high-intensity intermittent training may improve both anaerobic and aerobic energy supplying systems significantly, probably through imposing intensive stimuli on both systems.

 

Background

In recent years, training and the Internets have become interval crazy.  Everybody wants to do nothing but interval training all the damn time (with some even proclaiming that any non-interval training is not only useless but downright detrimental).

(more…)